AL MVP odds: With Shohei Ohtani out of the picture, get ready for what could be a wide open race

Aaron Judge AL MVP odds
New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge follows through on a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 9, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Twice in the last three years, Shohei Ohtani won AL MVP honors unanimously.

It’s looking like a more wide-open race in 2024.

With Ohtani in the National League now, the door is open for a handful of other candidates who are off to terrific starts. One of them is New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who won the award in 2022 by hitting 62 homers. He’s the only player besides Ohtani who has even received a first-place vote for AL MVP since 2021.

Judge has helped the Yankees to the AL’s best record, hitting .361 with 14 home runs in May. There’s still plenty of competition early in the MVP race, though, including from one of Judge’s teammates. Juan Soto, the NL MVP runner-up in 2021 when he was with Washington, has been outstanding in his first year with the Yankees.

Outside of New York, a couple of shortstops have distinguished themselves. Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson and Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. are next behind Judge among the AL leaders in Baseball-Reference’s version of wins above replacement. Henderson has a chance to repeat the feat of Orioles great Cal Ripken, who in 1982 and 1983 became the first player to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in back-to-back seasons. (Fred Lynn had previously won both in the same year.)

Witt is the brightest star on a Kansas City team that, after losing 106 games in 2023, is currently 12 games over .500.

Also, don’t rule out Houston’s Kyle Tucker, who hit 19 home runs before going on the injured list this past week. The Astros got off to a terrible start but could certainly end up clearing what looks to be a low bar to reach the AL postseason.

As for Ohtani, he isn’t pitching this season after elbow surgery, and that fact that he doesn’t play in the field either gives him some headwinds as he pursues a third MVP. But he is hitting .310 with 15 homers and 14 steals after joining the Los Angeles Dodgers.

2024 AL MVP odds

  • Aaron Judge, New York Yankees: +100 
  • Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals: +460 
  • Juan Soto, New York Yankees: +480
  • Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles: +480 
  • Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians: +1800 
  • Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros: +2500

Odds courtesy of FanDuel. For more, click here.

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