Ohtani Aims for Back-to-Back Triumph as Soto Takes the Lead in NL MVP Contest

The Battle for AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani’s Quest for Back-to-Back Wins

In a historic display of talent, the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani secured the 2021 AL MVP award with his exceptional performance as both a pitcher and a hitter. Now, as the new season kicks off, Ohtani is once again the favorite to claim the prestigious award, but he faces tough competition, even from within his own team.

The Reigning Champion: Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani astounded the baseball world last year with his extraordinary abilities. At the plate, he boasted a .257 batting average, along with 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, and an impressive .965 OPS. These numbers alone would have made him one of the top hitters in the American League, but Ohtani didn’t stop there. He also excelled on the mound, posting a remarkable 9-2 record with a 3.18 ERA in 130.1 innings pitched.

This stunning overall performance earned Ohtani the unanimous AL MVP title. As he enters the new season, oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have placed him as the favorite with +400 odds to win the MVP award once again.

The Arrival of the “Ohtani Rule”

Ohtani’s chances of securing back-to-back wins were given a significant boost with the introduction of the “Ohtani Rule.” This rule allows a pitcher who serves as the designated hitter (DH) to continue as the DH even after they leave the mound, offering Ohtani more opportunities to contribute with his bat.

The Fierce Contenders: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Mike Trout

Although Ohtani is the frontrunner, he faces formidable competition from his teammate, Mike Trout, and Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Mike Trout, often considered the best player in baseball, is a four-time AL MVP winner and carries +450 odds to claim the title once again. Trout missed a portion of the previous season due to injury, but his incredible skills and consistent performance may provide better value than Ohtani.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. emerged as a strong contender in 2021, finishing second in the AL MVP voting. The 23-year-old Blue Jays star impressed with a .311 batting average and 48 home runs. If the Blue Jays make a playoff run and Guerrero’s numbers remain outstanding, he could challenge Ohtani and Trout for the coveted award.

The AL MVP Odds Race

The AL MVP race promises intense competition, showcasing a talented field of players who could disrupt the favorites’ quest for glory. Here are the current odds for the leading contenders:

  • Shohei Ohtani: +400
  • Mike Trout: +450
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: +450
  • Aaron Judge: +1800
  • Wander Franco: +1800
  • Luis Robert: +2000
  • Rafael Devers: +2000
  • Yordan Alvarez: +2200
  • Jose Ramirez: +2200
  • Bo Bichette: +2200

As the season progresses, these odds may fluctuate based on the players’ performances.

Strategic Changes: Ohtani’s Expanded Role

Angels manager Joe Maddon plans to utilize Ohtani’s exceptional skills to their fullest extent. During Spring Training, Ohtani has primarily taken up the leadoff role, a position he only occasionally occupied in the previous season. Maddon’s decision to position Ohtani at the top of the batting order aims to optimize the team’s lineup and offer extra protection to their star player.

Working alongside other talented teammates like Mike Trout, who ranks among the best players in the league, Ohtani will have the support he needs to make a compelling case for a consecutive MVP win.

The National League MVP Race: Juan Soto’s Dominance

In the National League, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is the clear frontrunner for the MVP award. Despite finishing second in the previous year’s voting, Soto’s exceptional performance leaves no doubt about his prowess.

The 23-year-old slugger displayed remarkable skills in 2021, boasting a .313 batting average, 29 home runs, and an MLB-leading 145 walks. Soto’s impressive .465 on-base percentage solidified his reputation as one of the league’s best hitters.

Challenging the Favorite: Ronald Acuna Jr. and Others

While Soto is the favorite, several notable players are poised to challenge his dominance for the National League MVP award. Ronald Acuna Jr., despite recovering from a significant injury, is widely regarded as one of the most talented players in baseball. With +700 odds, he represents a compelling choice for bettors willing to take a chance on his exceptional abilities.

Bryce Harper (+900), Mookie Betts (+900), and Freddie Freeman (+1200) also showcase their potential as strong contenders. Harper, the defending NL MVP, aims to win the award for the third time, while Betts and Freeman lead an impressive Los Angeles Dodgers lineup that boasts additional MVP candidates in Trea Turner (+1400), Max Muncy (+4000), and Justin Turner (+4500).

The National League MVP Odds Race

The competition for the National League MVP title is fierce, with an array of talented players vying for recognition. Here are the current odds for the leading contenders:

  • Juan Soto: +280
  • Ronald Acuna Jr.: +700
  • Bryce Harper: +900
  • Mookie Betts: +900
  • Freddie Freeman: +1200
  • Trea Turner: +1400
  • Fernando Tatis Jr.: +1800
  • Matt Olson: +2200
  • Austin Riley: +2500
  • Nolan Arenado: +2500

As the season progresses, these odds may shift as players make their mark on the field.


The race for the AL and NL MVP awards is set to captivate baseball enthusiasts as exceptional players showcase their extraordinary talents. Shohei Ohtani begins his campaign to claim back-to-back AL MVP titles, facing stiff competition from the likes of Mike Trout and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In the National League, Juan Soto aims to solidify his dominance, but players such as Ronald Acuna Jr., Bryce Harper, and Mookie Betts pose a challenge.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a player win the MVP award multiple times?

Yes, a player can win the MVP award multiple times. Several players have achieved this feat throughout MLB history, cementing their status as elite performers.

2. Does a player’s team’s success impact their MVP chances?

While team success is not the sole determinant for the MVP award, it can have an influence on the voting. Outstanding individual performances on teams that make the playoffs or contend for the postseason often receive greater consideration.

3. How do sportswriters select the MVP winners?

The MVP winners are selected through a voting process conducted by sportswriters. These writers evaluate players based on their individual stats, overall impact on the team, and other subjective criteria deemed important for the award.

4. Are there any other factors considered for MVP voting?

While statistical performance is essential, intangible factors such as leadership, sportsmanship, and influence within the game can also play a role in MVP voting.

5. Can a player win both the AL and NL MVP awards in the same season?

No, a player can only win either the AL or NL MVP award in a given season. The awards are separate and specific to each league.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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