Opening Day is upon us, and baseball’s pageantry will be on full display Thursday and for much of the opening weekend. While some of the excitement for baseball will fade over the grind of the season, a fun way to remain engaged in the season is by getting some action on futures bets at Tipico.
There are a wide range of awards futures available, highlighted by Cy Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year for both the American and National Leagues.
The two favorites for the American League MVP award remain consistent from last season with Shohei Ohtani (+235) and Aaron Judge (+520) as the frontrunners.
Health is a significant concern for Ohtani, as he takes on extra wear and tear due to his play as both a hitter and pitcher. Meanwhile, Judge is the defending MVP after a 2022 season during which he chased the home run record and recorded a 207 wRC+. Regression is inevitable, though his odds still suggest he has a good opportunity to take home the award in back-to-back seasons.
Looking a bit further down the odds, two major power hitters in Vladimir Guerrero (+1400) and Yordan Alvarez (+1300) are intriguing. Both are on good teams that are likely to make the playoffs, which could be a factor in swaying the voter’s opinions. The slightly better odds and more consistent health push me slightly towards Guerrero, who is my favorite selection of the group.
The picture is less clear in the National League, where no player has shorter odds than +570. Juan Soto is the favorite coming off a down season but still a key figure in the loaded Padres’ lineup that also features Manny Machado (+1300) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (+1400).
While arguably the most talented player in the league, Tatis is coming off both an injury and a suspension which combined to cost him the entire 2022 campaign. He’ll also be forced to miss the first 20 games of the season while completing his aforementioned suspension.
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Meanwhile, Machado is less heralded, but he has popped a minimum of a 150 wRC+ in two of the last three seasons. He’ll finally get the recognition he deserves in 2023 and take home the NL MVP award.
AL Cy Young
Shifting gears to the mound, there’s nowhere to start but with Jacob deGrom (+550) in the American League Cy Young race. The most skilled pitcher on a per-inning basis, deGrom has combined to pitch only 156.1 frames across the last two seasons. Taking him as the favorite given his recent track record of health is a scary proposition.
Instead, we’ll head further to the west to Seattle where Luis Castillo (+2500) will be spending his first full season with the Mariners. He posted a 3.15 ERA with 77 strikeouts across 65 innings after being traded to the team at the deadline last season, and he should enjoy the benefits of a positive pitcher’s park to call home the first time in his career.
NL Cy Young
Similar to the MVP award, things are wide open for the Cy Young award in the National League. Sandy Alcantara (+550), Corbin Burnes (+600), and Justin Verlander (+700) all have similar odds, but both Aaron Nola (+1200) and Brandon Woodruff (+2000) are the standout values.
Due to injuries in the Phillies’ lineup to Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins, the team will be missing some significant firepower in their lineup while simultaneously placing additional pressure on the starting pitching staff to deliver. If the Phillies are able to keep pace with the Mets and Braves in the NL East, Nola will be a key reason.
In Milwaukee, the team’s success is tied to its pitching and defense by design. The aforementioned Burnes is the ace of the squad, but Woodruff is an excellent 1A and has the skills to steal the show for the Brew Crew. In the end, Nola will edge out his competition and take home the Cy Young.
Rookies of the Year
We’ll wrap things up with the brightest young starts of the game as we try to project the rookie of the year races. Anthony Volpe (+850) is likely to see his odds improve greatly after earning a spot on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, but my attention is on a player who is a bit more advanced with professional experience in Oscar Colas (+2000).
Colas put together a solid season in Japan in 2019, when he was just 19 years old. Now 24, Colas doesn’t possess the same name value as many of the frontrunners for the award, but he impressed the White Sox this spring, earned a roster spot, and is ready to take over the starting right field job.
After going a bit contrarian in the American League, we’ll lean into the hype as we head to the National League, where Jordan Walker (+380) and Corbin Carroll (+340) are rightfully the standout favorites.
Walker forced the issue to be included on St. Louis’ Opening Day roster, and the team isn’t keeping him on the big-league roster to sit him on the bench. He should have the chance to flash his prodigious power immediately while hitting in the middle of a potent Cardinals lineup. Towering homers and a successful team should lead to plenty of votes for Walker and he’ll take home the hardware.
Photo Credit: IMAGO / ZUMA wire
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