Baseball blogs and podcasts have been gushing with excitement for Shohei Ohtani since he decided to bring his talents to America this year. He’s a legit two-way player that comes to America with a lot of hype from Japan. The early part of his first season with the Los Angeles Angels is showing that the blog boys might have reason to be excited.
- Ohtani is currently the favorite to win AL MVP at offshore sportsbook BetDSI.
- Ohtani is one of three pitchers at the Westgate in Las Vegas with odds to win both MVP and Cy Young.
- Ohtani is hitting .389/.421/.889 with three homers and seven RBI in 19 plate appearances.
- Ohtani is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 13 innings as a pitcher.
Let’s gush about Shohei for a minute. He just had an amazing week pitching and hitting. Ohtani has a beautiful long swing at the plate and throws a gorgeous splitter that makes your head spin. His skills are already worth 1 WAR (Win Above Replacement) combined according to Fangraphs.
It appears as though Ohtani might be a special player like most of us have never seen before. Imagine a full year of this! YOWZA! You might want to get tickets now for free Shohei Ohtani double bobblehead night on July 12.
Ohtani’s betting odds
Well, people already imagining the future of Ohtani’s season. Odds for Ohtani to win the MVP of the American League are dropping so low that it’s almost unbettable. He’s currently the +150 favorite to win the MVP at BetDSI.
He’s 8-1 to win the AL MVP at the Westgate in Las Vegas. The only players ahead of him are teammate Mike Trout, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve. That’s beyond insane — but so are most sports bettors. The only pitchers with odds to win the MVP at the Westgate are Clayton Kershaw (30-1 to win NL MVP) and Chris Sale (50-1 to win AL MVP).
Don’t forget, Ohtani is also a pitcher off to a hot start. The odds at the Westgate for Ohtani to win the American League Cy Young award are equally as impressive. His 4-1 odds to win the award for best pitcher in the American League are third behind Sale and Corey Kluber. Coincidentally, one of Ohtani’s home runs was a sweet shot off of Kluber.
Now, wait one minute
- Ohtani can’t excel in either position at this pace.
- His teammate might be the best player in baseball.
- Teams will adjust to his hot start.
- Winning both MVP and Cy Young isn’t all that special.
Sportsbooks are limiting their exposure to Ohtani winning the American League awards pretty early in the season. That probably leaves value for other players to win AL MVP but that’s a story for another time.
Ohtani is only pitching once a week and doesn’t hit the day before or the day after pitching. Will he be able to accumulate enough stats on either side to win an award at this pace? Maybe, but to win MVP he’ll have to be at least slightly above average on both sides of the ball to even draw interest by voters. Cy Young will actually be more difficult as voters might not even look at the hitting stats.
If Ohtani keeps this pace up there’s a good chance he’ll draw interest for MVP and Cy Young. However, his campaign for MVP might be difficult as his teammate, Mike Trout, is perennially one of the best players in the league and could take votes away from Ohtani. Over time, the opposition will learn his habits and should adjust to him on both sides of the ball so we could see his numbers dip – at least for a little while he adjusts. That should slow the excitement and perhaps his chances at an award.
Seriously, though. Winning both the Cy Young and MVP isn’t a big deal. It’s already happened twice in the past seven years. Kershaw won both awards in 2014 and Justin Verlander won both with the Tigers in 2011.