MLB Picks: Bryce Harper May Repeat As MVP In The Upcoming Season

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 7:50 PM GMT

Our National League Handicapper takes a look at the MLB odds regarding MVP options in order to find the best value on the board. Read on as he analyzes the offerings found.

The odds are out for American League and National League MVP over at BetOnline, and I thought I would take a look at them to see if we can’t find some hidden value behind the obvious favorites. Below are the prop odds for the National League, along with the projected WAR for each player from the Steamer statistics system:

Player

Odds (+)

Projected WAR

Bryce Harper (WSH)

200

6.5

Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

600

5.6

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

500

5.3

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

650

5.1

Kris Bryant (CHC)

900

5.6

Buster Posey (SF)

1200

5.4

Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

1200

5.1

Joey Votto (CIN)

2000

4.6

Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

2000

2.5

Jason Heyward (CHC)

4000

5

Nolan Arenado (COL)

2000

4.4

Yasiel Puig (LAD)

4000

4.2

A.J. Pollock (ARI)

4000

3.9

Starling Marte (PIT)

4000

4

Matt Carpenter (STL)

4000

3.7

Anthony Rendon (WSH)

5000

3.7

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)

5000

2.7

(Odds current as of 03/28/16)

 

The Heavy Favorites
Bryce Harper (WSH) – Harper followed up on his Rookie of the Year campaign with an MVP campaign, and interestingly enough, was still younger than the 2015 Rookie of the Year, Kris Bryant. He was the youngest unanimous pick for the award at just over 22 years old. Harper’s 2015 season accrued 9.5 WAR in the process – leading all of baseball in OBP and slugging percentage. He’s slated for a bit of regression in 2016 by the Steamer projection system, maybe just down to awesome. One of the reasons for this is a likely unsustainable 27% home runs to fly balls ratio. Either way, Harper is deserving of being the odds on favorite for the NL MVP going into 2016. He’s my pick on the NL board.

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – Goldschmidt was a consensus 2nd place in 2015 MVP voting as the Diamondbacks surprised the MLB picks last year, all while putting up 7.4 WAR. He’s been as consistent as they come over the last three years at the plate, and even added 21 steals last year to his power numbers. My concern with an MVP wager here is that the Diamondbacks get buried in 3rd place in the NL West behind the Dodgers and Giants, leaving a good season by Goldschmidt to be discounted by MVP voters.

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – Stanton was on pace to exceed 50 home runs and put up nearly 8 WAR in 2015 before losing half of the season to injury. A play on Stanton at +650 is a wager that the young power hitter can return to that form. Even if Bryce Harper fills the stat sheet and plays excellent defense, the press loves the long ball, which could get Stanton over the top in MVP voting if he puts up a monster power season again and wins the HR race. He’s also 26, which is near the magic number for the peak of a player’s offensive potential.

 

The Value Plays
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) – Another player hitting that magical 27-year old threshold, Anthony Rizzo should hit his peak offensive performance in 2016. Add to this fact the supporting cast he will have in Chicago, and Rizzo has a realistic chance to put up his best numbers to date on the MLB odds boards. This is on the back of consecutive 5.7 and 5.5 WAR seasons, respectively. Kris Bryant has a bit of a sophomore slump risk to him, so at +1200 Rizzo should be the guy to collect MVP votes should the Cubs really win as many games as they are projected to.

Jason Heyward (CHC) – This is where WAR is useful in comparing players, as Heyward slots in under Yoenis Cespedes’ +2000 odds at +4000, all while projecting to put up twice as much value. Same thing with Rizzo applies here, if the Cubs win as many games as they should one of their stars will likely rise to the top of the MVP rankings. Heyward is new to the party though, so there is a bit of mystery on his ceiling within this offense.