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Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after a home run by Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles, and we examine whether it's time to stop betting on Mike Trout to win AL MVP with a look at the best MLB odds.,
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after a home run by Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images via AFP.

Mike Trout is again sidelined with another relatively serious injury, and we're examining whether it's time to stop betting on one of baseball's greatest players for MVP.

I will admit that I bet on Los Angeles Angels center-fielder Mike Trout to win the AL MVP this year. After fading him for the last two seasons - both in fantasy and betting - I finally took the bait. And, as we now know, Trout is set for surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Though it's possible he returns this season, he won't win AL MVP in 2024. Before his injury, Trout was the fourth-biggest favorite in the AL by the MLB MVP odds, and he was as short as +625 at one of our best sports betting sites.

I know I'm not alone, and plenty of other bettors took a chance on Trout, so let's dive into why it's likely time we all give up on one of baseball's greatest players, with odds from our best MLB betting sites.

Mike Trout opening AL MVP odds


Trout last won the AL MVP Award in 2019, which marked his eighth straight finish in the top five of voting and his third win in six years. As you can see, that was peak Trout, as he opened the season at +125 to win AL MVP.

That was also the last season Trout played at least 120 games. Following the shortened 2020 campaign, Trout managed to play just 237 contests across three seasons. The 2021 season was especially tough, as he played just 36 games.

Trout also appeared to slow down last season, which led to plenty of question marks, as I outlined on Feb. 28 when I mentioned him as a potential long-shot AL MVP bet. As I noted in that piece, though, Trout had plenty working in his favor this season, and his batted-ball data was still near-elite in 2023. 

Here's what I wrote about him just after spring training began:

"It’s possible we’re witnessing the beginning of a relatively sharp decline for one of baseball’s greatest players ever. However, after fading Trout in this market for years, I’m finally back to supporting him, for one very specific reason: He’s no longer splitting votes with Shohei Ohtani.

Many of the players in the top 10 on our oddsboard play alongside a fellow MVP candidate: Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, and Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. However, Trout is really all the Angels have now.

With Ohtani gone, Los Angeles is down to one star (at least only one who’s expected to play more than 50 games; shoutout Anthony Rendon). Therefore, if the Angels can win around 80 games - it’s a short bar to clear - and Trout somehow finds the fountain of youth, then he’ll likely be among the favorites as the regular season winds down."

Unfortunately, while making fun of Anthony Rendon, it seems I forgot it's entirely possible Trout only plays 50 games himself.

The value was there, though, and I still believe it was a good bet. Trout was off to a red-hot start to the season, too, leading baseball in home runs and stealing six bases after managing only six steals across the last four years.

Mike Trout MVP odds at time of injury


New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto remained the consensus favorite for AL MVP at the time of Trout's injury, as he had already built a rather significant lead atop the oddsboard just more than a month into the season.

Trout was one of three other players with odds shorter than +1000, though. In the wake of his injury, the odds for Soto, Gunnar Henderson, and Bobby Witt Jr., all shortened with a major contender removed from the competition.

Mike Trout injury history

2017: Thumb injury

Trout's injury woes began in 2017 after four straight seasons in which he played at least 157 games. His first stint on the injured list was mostly due to bad luck, as he tore the UCL in his left thumb sliding into second base - he, along with many players across the league, now wears the oven mitt when he gets on base. Trout still managed to finish fourth in AL MVP voting that season despite playing just 114 games, serving as the undisputed best player in baseball.

2018-2019: Return to form

The Angels superstar more or less avoided anything too serious the next couple of years, playing in 274 combined games and taking home MVP honors in 2019 after finishing second in 2018. He was very good - though not quite as prolific as usual - during the shortened 2020 season, but then it all went downhill.

2021: The dreaded calf strain

Trout hit an all-time low in 2021, playing only 36 games and none after May 17 due to a calf strain. An injury that looked relatively minor dragged and dragged until there was nothing left for Trout or the Angels to play for, and he called it a season in September.

Former teammate Shohei Ohtani took home AL MVP honors that season after opening at +3000 (something we'll never see again for him), while Trout was the preseason favorite at +200.

2022: The potentially "career-threatening" back injury

The center-fielder more or less bounced back in 2022, playing 119 games and finishing eighth in AL MVP voting. The scariest part of that season was that Trout missed some time with a back injury that was believed to impact the rest of his career. However, he went on to say before the 2023 season that it was no longer an issue.

2023: Broken hamate

Trout's left hand got a bit of a break since that thumb injury in 2017, but unfortunately, breaks aren't always a good thing. Trout broke the hamate in his left hand early in July during what was already a relatively underwhelming 2023 season.

The Angels were "in contention" (which led to them infamously not trading Ohtani and instead losing him for nothing this offseason), and Trout tried to return too quickly from the ailment.

He played just one game before returning to the IL for the rest of the season. Once again, his then-teammate took home AL MVP honors after opening as the favorite at our best sports betting apps over Trout.

2024: Torn meniscus

And that brings us to today, May 1, 2024: Trout is again on the injured list, this time with a torn meniscus.

The initial rough timeline suggests he won't miss the entire season, but that doesn't make a difference in his chances to win AL MVP. Any significant amount of time missed is a death sentence in this market, both to the player's chances and our bet.

Before the injury, Trout led the league in home runs, and his batted-ball data suggested he was due for some positive regression. If he had remained healthy, Trout would have really challenged Soto, Henderson, and Witt, but that was always a big "if."

Why it's time to give up on Trout

We simply can't keep falling for the same trap. It's a tired cliche, but you know what they say about the definition of insanity. Perhaps this is just who Trout will be for the remainder of his career.

And maybe we'll catch lightning in a bottle down the road. I'm a big proponent of the idea that you can't predict most injuries, as I shouted from the rooftops this past NFL offseason that Christian McCaffrey was the rightful No. 1 overall fantasy football pick. But sometimes, with some players, maybe we can predict them.

If the Angels shift Trout to strictly designated-hitter duties, maybe he can play nearly 150 games again, but would he be an MVP contender without his trademark - though declining - solid center-field defense? And would a player as competitive as he is even allow that to happen?

Maybe he'll stop stealing bases entirely, just as he had from 2020 to 2023. But will he fade into a tier with the rest of the power-hitting "contenders," who will never really have a shot to take down this new generation of power-speed baseball-smashing machines?

Regardless of what hypothetical situation we come up with to help Trout remain healthy throughout a long MLB season, the result is the same: he's probably not going to win another AL MVP Award.

So, sure, I think we made a good bet this season getting Trout at 20/1. But will I make that same bet next year? Probably not.

Mike Trout MVP history

Trout is a three-time American League MVP, winning the award in:

  • 2012 (2nd)
  • 2013 (2nd)
  • 2014 (1st)
  • 2015 (2nd)
  • 2016 (1st)
  • 2017 (4th)
  • 2018 (2nd)
  • 2019 (1st)
  • 2020 (5th)
  • 2021 (NA)
  • 2022 (8th)
  • 2023 (NA)

Additionally, he won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2012 while finishing as the runner-up for MVP. He has three other second-place finishes for the award, and he never finished lower than fifth in voting from 2012 to 2020.

Here are our best MLB betting sites:

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