With the field appearing to narrow as we reach the midpoint of the major league baseball season, the main individual player awards are seeing betting odds fall into haves and have not's.
MVP – National League
Bryce Harper is still the favorite but has emerging competition.
Bryce Harper 8/5 was 5/4 odds
Giancarlo Stanton 7/2 was 10/3
Paul Goldschmidt 16/5 was 6-1
Anthony Rizzo 9/1 was 8/1
Max Scherzer 7/1 was 15/1
Washington's Harper is still the betting favorite but two other players have made a move and one is a teammate. His closest challenger is now Paul Goldschmidt, who leads the NL in batting average and on-base percentage and for those who place a great deal in WAR (Wins Above Replacement ), Goldy's at the time this article went live was a smidge higher at 5.3 to Harper's 5.2.
Max Scherzer after a flurry of tremendous pitching performances out of the Bob Gibson Hall of Fame era (Google his 1969 numbers), has risen to the Top 5. However, Scherzer would have to upstage Harper to deserve further consideration. Not really sure as a baseball handicapper why Stanton is so high playing on a bad team with a .270ish batting average and leading the league in strikeouts. Rizzo is still steady.
I will stick with the same order I had about a month ago.
1) Harper 2) Goldschmidt 3) Rizzo
MVP – American League
It is the same two at the top, but new faces are definitely coming on.
Mike Trout 2/1 was 10/11 odds
Miguel Cabrera 3/1 was 10/3
Prince Fielder 9/1 was 6/1
Jason Kipnis 7/1 was 30/1
Josh Donaldson 12/1 was 25/1
We still have a half season to go and while the favorites remain the same, stronger cases are being made by different contenders. After a sterling 2013 breakout season, Cleveland's Kipnis hit .240 last season and on Twitter was thoroughly discussed as a "one-year" wonder. Fast forward to 2015, were the second baseman leads the AL in batting, is second in OBP and are you ready for this, has the highest league WAR at 4.8 and has shot up with the support of MLB picks. I mentioned Donaldson as a legit candidate last time and others have followed my lead in making him a Top 5 player. Toronto has one of the finest all-around players in the AL.
One can only assume Fielder slipped because of how Kipnis and Donaldson have risen, but he's making a monster season. For my money, Cabrera should be the favorite over Trout, though I fully recognize the Halos centerfielder's more complete skill set. Sticking with my top two picks from last time.
1) Cabrera 2) Donaldson 3) Trout
Must Read: MLB Picks: World Series Futures Odds Update
National League Cy Young Race
Starting to look like one monster and the rest chasing in the National League.
Max Scherzer 17/10 was 6/1 odds
Michael Wacha 15/2 was 4/1 odds
Zack Greinke 7/1 was 15/2
Gerrit Cole 13/2 was 17/2
A.J. Burnett 17/2 was 18/1
As stated, Scherzer (8-5, 1.76 ERA) has put together instructional pitching outings that can used for training for years ago about how to pitch. (Think Arizona has any regrets in trading him?) The Pittsburgh Pirates have moved up to No. 2 in the NL in ERA and two HUGE reasons why are legitimate Cy Young candidates Cole and Burnett. Cole (11-3, 2.16 ERA) is having a remarkable season and gives the Pirates its first true ace in years. Burnett (6-3, 2.05 ERA) is closer to a "Cy Old" pitcher and is on pace to easily have the lowest ERA of his long career at 38 and possibly do the same with his WHIP. Greinke (5-2, 1.70 ERA) continues to be in the hunt and has a lower ERA at present then Scherzer. Wacha has been bounced around in past few outings which has lowered his stock. One last thought, hard to imagine Kershaw not even in conversation at 18/1 odds.
1) Scherzer 2) Greinke 3) Cole
American League Cy Young Race
I guess I spoke too soon on Felix Hernandez a lock to win this awards again.
Felix Hernandez 5/1 was 15/8 odds
Chris Archer 7/2 was 4/1
Sonny Gray 10/3 was 4/1
Dallas Keuchel 7/2 was 4/1
David Price 11/2 was 7/1
OK, got a little ahead of myself with King Felix (10-4) who usually has poor May's not June's. His May 27th ERA of 1.91 has soared to 3.24. Hernandez now has to be dominant playing on a bad team. The new leader in the clubhouse is Gray (9-3, 2.09 ERA) of the fast improving A's, who like the rest of Top 3 contenders has a WHIP under 1.00. The debate is in full throat, who is the better young hurler, Gray or Archer (9-4, 2.10 ERA) and with Tampa Bay a stunning first place club, the Rays ace can keep his name in the headlines being on a better squad. Keuchel (8-3, 2.35 ERA), like his Houston teammates, has just blossomed and the confidence he portrays is like any top tier pitcher who has figured out how to work around the lineup card when he lacks is A-stuff. Price moving up should not catch anyone off guard as he is still a premier pitcher who has made the adjustment of no longer having the explosive fastball and become more complete.
As opposed to my other predictions which were largely unchanged, this card is thoroughly different.
1) Archer 2) Price 3) Hernandez