Shohei Ohtani won the AL MVP in 2021, so MLB fans know what level we’re dealing with. However, we may still not fully appreciate what we see and how incredible it really is.
On Wednesday, Ohtani threw seven innings with doubles and struckout ten. He gave up a point, but it was undeserved. He also had a huge two-RBI hit that gave the Angels the lead in the 5th inning. He also added a stolen base. Since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920, Ohtani is the first player in MLB history to strike out ten batters as a pitcher, while contributing two RBI’s and a stolen base. It feels like Ohtani is doing something every week that has never been done before in baseball history.
As the reigning MVP, Ohtani is back in the picture this year as well. Ohtani is +260 and wins AL MVP† only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees has better odds. However, there is another prize that Ohtani has a realistic shot at this year and the betting market is starting to take notice.
Ohtani climbs Cy Young’s odds
In early June, Shohei Ohtani gave up eight hits and four runs over three innings against the New York Yankees. His ERA rose to 3.99 and his odds for AL Cy Young dropped all the way to 40-to-1. While he did fine at the plate as a batter, his pitching didn’t get much attention.
However, in his last five starts, Ohtani has won 33.2 innings while giving up only one earned run. He has not relinquished an earned point in his last four starts. He has struckout 46 in his last five starts and has 34 in his last three starts.
As Ohtani’s dominant piece unfolded, his chances at BetMGM of winning AL Cy Young have been shrinking. Here’s how his odds have changed in recent weeks:
14th of June: 40-to-1
June 28: 15-to-1
July 4: 12-to-1
From a 40 to 1 shot to +900 chances in less than a month, underlines how dominant Ohtani has been. He currently has the fourth best chances of winning the AL Cy Young behind only Shane McClanahan (+250), Justin Verlander (+260) and Gerrit Cole (+850). Ohtani is currently the largest liability for BetMGM in the Cy Young market.
MVP vs Cy Young?
Shohei Ohtani is a realistic contender to win both the MVP and the Cy Young. The odds suggest he’s more likely to win MVP than the Cy Young, but does that make it a better bet?
Ohtani is currently +260 to win the AL MVP for the second consecutive year. Aaron Judge is the gambling favorite at -110† Yordan Alvarez of the Astros has the third best odds at +650.
You could argue that Ohtani has to win the MVP every year because of how dominant he is both on the plate and the mound. It’s hard to say that anyone in the sport is more valuable than someone with the potential to hit 40 home runs while hitting an ERA in the mid-twenties.
Let’s be honest though. MVP voters are people and they are bored. If they didn’t, LeBron James would have many more NBA MVPs during his career. It’s also hard to ignore the season that Aaron Judge is having on a Yankees team that has made a historic start. There’s plenty of attention and storylines there, between the imminent free agency, the New York factor, and the Yankees’ performance as a team. If the season ended now, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Judge winning the award.
Ohtani is +900 to win the Cy Young which are already much better odds than his MVP odds. While the odds indicate he’s less likely to win, he’s also not dealing with competition at the level Judge offers in the MVP race.
Shane McClanahan is AL Cy Young’s current favorite, but he is a young pitcher and this is his first full season. Justin Verlander is right behind McClanahan, but he is an older pitcher returning from a two-year absence due to injury. These are the types of pitchers who are more likely to tire and falter a bit, or even have their innings watched and limited by their teams.
Ohtani is also a darling of the media, so if his numbers compare to other Cy Young candidates, he might get the benefit of the doubt from many voters. If I had to choose between betting Ohtani to win the Cy Young or the MVP now against their current odds, I would probably go to the +900 on Ohtani to win the Cy Young.