Vladimir Guerrero Jr. favored to win AL MVP in 2022
The odds have opened up for the 2022 AL MVP, and interestingly, 2021 winner Shohei Ohtani is not the betting favorite. Instead, it’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – the runner-up in last year’s voting – who is atop the early leaderboard at +300. Ohtani isn’t even the favorite among his Los Angeles Angels teammates, as Mike Trout is the overall second-choice at +375, with Ohtani at +400.
Is Guerrero Jr. a deserving favorite, or is there someone else that bettors should be targeting? Let’s dig in.
American League MVP 2022
Fri, September 30 2022, 10:00 PM
Guerrero Jr, Vladimir
The case for Guerrero
It’s not often that a batter will lead baseball in homers (48), runs (123), and total bases (363) and fail to tally a first-place MVP vote, but that was case with Guerrero last season. Ohtani recorded a clean sweep of the first-place votes for AL MVP in 2021, due in part to his prowess at the plate (46 homers, 100 RBI, .965 OPS) as well as his pitching ability (9-2, 3.18 ERA, 130 1/3 innings).
Guerrero will be just 23 years old when the 2022 season begins, and will play in only his second full season (not counting the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, and assuming there is a full season played in 2022), so there is some potential room for him to grow.
Furthermore, the Toronto Blue Jays All-Star could be helped by the return of Trout from injury, as the three-time former MVP could siphon votes from his own teammate in Ohtani.
The case against Guerrero
There are two big knocks against Guerrero. The first one is his defense at first base, as Baseball-Reference had him at a -0.7 dWAR in 2021.
The second is simply that his odds are very unappealing at this point in time. To tie up ones funds for the entire regular season plus the playoffs at +300 isn’t something that’s very desirable. A freak injury to Guerrero could derail this bet at any time, so the risk factor is high.
Luis Robert is a real threat at big odds
If you want to wait out a wager for this many months, you want to be sure you’re getting good value. Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert is currently sitting at +2800 to win AL MVP, which seems extremely generous.
Robert has yet to enjoy a true full season of baseball, playing 56 games in 2020 due to COVID, and only 68 games in 2021 due to injury. He was runner-up to the Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Lewis in the 2020 Rookie of the Year vote, but took home a Gold Glove.
Robert had a robust .338 batting average last season with 13 homers and 43 RBI over 275 at-bats. His current 162-game average is 31 homers and 97 RBI, with a .294 batting average. This – combined with his stellar center field defense – would make him very live in the AL MVP race in 2022.