MLB Picks: How the MVP and Cy Young Races are Shaping Up

Doug Upstone

Thursday, June 11, 2015 12:57 AM GMT

We are past the third-point of the season and everything is beginning to settle in for baseball handicappers. This is the time of year where clearer speculation on individual awards takes shape.

We found sportsbooks like Bovada still offering MLB odds you can wager on who might win the MVP awards in each league and the same for the Cy Young award. Here is what the picture looks like and we share our thoughts on if we agree or disagree.

 

National League Cy Young Race
Let’s start with who the main contenders are and break it down from that point.

Michael Wacha 4-1 odds

Clayton Kershaw 6-1

Max Scherzer 6-1

Zack Greinke 15-2

Gerrit Cole 17-2

The Cardinals' Wacha has shown a little erosion losing twice in the last few games, but he is still 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA and WHIP at 1.07. Wacha is on a great team which helps and though his strikeouts are down, so is the metric of line drive contact. Kershaw (5-3, 3.36) has put together three terrific outings and starting to pitcher like he usually does, but unless he laps the field, hard to imagine he wins three in a row, though Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux both won four in a row. It is hard to fathom Max Scherzer would have an ERA of 2.13 and WHIP under one (0.94) and still be only 6-5. Yet with a ton of injuries to Washington, other than Bryce Harper the offense has been curtailed. Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole are two fascinating choices playing on good teams. As long as Kershaw doesn’t steal all the headlines, Greinke at 5-1 with a 1.92 ERA is a contender and for those looking for another fresh face like Wacha, Cole (9-2, 1.85 ERA). It is silly to discount Madison Bumgarner at 9-1, but he has enough off outings against lesser team that hurt him. With these betting odds for NL Cy Young, here are my picks.

1)Scherzer 2) Greinke 3) Kershaw

 

American League Cy Young Race
Let’s start with who the main contenders are and break it down from that point.

Felix Hernandez 15-8 odds

Chris Archer 4-1

Sonny Gray 4-1

Dallas Keuchel 4-1

Realistically, this is Hernandez (9-2, 2.51 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) to lose as he is having a monster season on what has been a very disappointing Seattle squad. Of the next three on this list, Gray (7-3, 1.74, 0.95) would appear to be a long shot despite the odds, with how bad Oakland is this season. Keuchel (7-2, 1.90, 0.95) is in a surprise team and he has the best chance to move up aslong as they remain at least relevant in the headlines and he keeps pitching like he has. Archer (7-4, 1.84, 0.95) has at least a chance on overwhelming performances alone and if he keeps Twitter abuzz with low hit totals allowed and strikeouts, he will gather momentum. One true long shot is Chicago’s Chris Sale (6-2, 3.04, 1.00) at 20-1 and if keeps tossing the heat and shutout innings like he has the last month, his odds will fall precipitously. For MLB picks, here is how I see it playing out.

1)Hernandez 2) Keuchel 3) Sale

 

MVP – National League
Like King Felix, the NL race for MVP looks like American Pharoah coming down the back stretch at Belmont.

Bryce Harper 5/4 odds

Giancarlo Stanton 10/3

Paul Goldschmidt 6-1

Anthony Rizzo 8-1

Andrew McCutchen 12-1

Unless Harper is injured, the engraver can probably finish putting his name on the award sometime in August. If Dee Gordon would ever cool off, Harper would become a legitimate candidate for the Triple Crown (baseball's version, not horse racing). Already the home run leader and tied for first in RBIs to go along with a batting average close to .330. His WAR value is far and away the best in baseball at 4.4. If the MVP award was measured in feet, like home run distances, Stanton would have this already wrapped up, but he’s on crummy team and his .250ish batting average is uninspiring. If Arizona and the Cubs' remakes prove true in the next couple years, Goldschmidt and Rizzo will be fixtures on this short list. They already belong with great numbers and both are superior fielders to go along with becoming much improved hitters. McCutchen had a rugged start and got hot but unless Pittsburgh starts playing like St. Louis and he’s at the forefront, the competition is hard to give him another award this season like in 2013.

1)Harper 2) Goldschmidt 3) Rizzo

 

MVP – American League
Very early to call this race for AL MVP, this is mostly about speculation than actual results.

Mike Trout 10/11 odds

Miguel Cabrera 10/3

Prince Fielder 6-1

Nelson Cruz 8-1

With Trout’s recent slump, he’s batting under .300 and while is value and talent is tremendous, he’s on a .500 team which makes these odds seem very inflated. Cabrera is having a typical season for him with a .330 BA, though his homers and RBIs are down some (you have to have runners on to drive them in), but with Detroit’s other supposed offensive stars not performing, it has been all on the former Triple Crown king. The best players from a hitting standpoint have been Fielder and Cruz all season. Fielder has been terrific and more recently leading the league in batting average at over .350, which includes no leg hits and his RBIs are near the top for an improving Texas team. Cannot even imagine how bad Seattle would be without Cruz hitting around .330 all year and leading the AL in homers. His RBIs are low for his production, but like Cabrera, nobody’s on base when he hits. One true long shot is Josh Donaldson at 25-1, who is hitting close to .320, leads the league in rbi’s and is second in homers. He should have lower odds and if he keeps hitting, he will.

1)Cabrera 2) Donaldson 3) Fielder