Los Angeles Angels Two-Way Star Shohei Ohtani Leads AL MVP Race

Posted on: June 28, 2023, 09:53h. 

Last updated on: June 28, 2023, 11:19h.

The Los Angeles Angels have reached the midpoint of the 2023 MLB season, and two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani is running away with the American League MVP. Ohtani is currently -1200 odds to win the AL MVP, according to DraftKings.

Shohei Ohtani Angels
Los Angeles Angels pitcher and DH Shohei Ohtani rounds second base after he hit a second home run against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. (Image: Getty)

Ohtani is looking to win his second MVP award in the last three seasons. He’s the league’s top batter and current home run leader, and he’s one of the toughest pitchers to face when he’s on the mound. He’s on pace to bash 56 home runs, and finish the season with 14 wins and 254 strikeouts.

Ohtani is such an overwhelming favorite to win his second MVP that DraftKings created a special prop bet: Ohtani versus the field. The field pays +650 odds, which is any other player aside from Ohtani winning the AL MVP.

Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager is the closest competition to win the AL MVP at +300 odds, followed by Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco (+3500). New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is out indefinitely with a toe injury. Judge, last year’s AL MVP, is currently +5000 odds.

When the MLB awards markets opened in the winter, Ohtani was a slight betting favorite to win the AL MVP at +200 odds. Judge was +500 odds to repeat as AL MVP, and Mike Trout from the Angels wasn’t far behind at +650 odds.

Ohtani Now the Home Run and RBI Leader

Ohtani is in the final year of his contract and there was speculation that the Angels would trade the two-way star from Japan to the highest bidder at the trade deadline. So long as the Angels are in contention for a playoff spot, Ohtani will remain on the roster.

With a 44-37 record, the Angels are seven games above .500 at the midseason mark. They moved into second place in the AL West, but trail the Texas Rangers by five games.

Ohtani smashed two home runs on Tuesday night, marking the first time in his career that he hit multiple home runs in the same game in which he pitched.

As a batter, Ohtani has 306 at-bats this season, with a slashline of .304/.386/.654. He leads the Angels in all statistical batting categories.

With 28 home runs, Ohtani leads the majors, and he’s on pace to hit 56 long balls. He currently leads the majors in RBI (64), slugging (.654), OPS (1.039), total bases (200), and extra base hits (47).

Ohtani is 7-3 as a starting pitcher with a 3.05 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He has 10 quality starts in 16 total starts, and the Angels are 11-5 when he takes the mound. He struck out 127 batters and walked only 39 in 95.1 innings this season.

On the mound, Ohtani leads all starting pitchers with an opponent batting average of .180. He’s ranked third overall in strikeouts and seventh in WHIP.

Ohtani is second overall in the K/9 category, and he averages 12 strikeouts per every nine innings pitched. Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider is the only pitcher with a better K/9 number (14.3).

Futures Betting: Angels in the Second Half

If the season ended today, the Angels would secure one of the AL wild-card spots. But they hold just a slim half-game margin over the Toronto Blue Jays and a one-game edge over the Houston Astros.

The Angels are +145 odds to make the playoffs and -170 odds to miss the playoffs, according to a prop bet by DraftKings. FanGraphs projects the Angels have a 46% chance to qualify for the postseason, with a 28.7% chance to clinch a wild-card berth. The Angels have a 17.3% chance to catch the Rangers and win the AL West, but only a 3.3% chance to win the World Series.

Since Ohtani joined the Angels and won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2018, the Angels have never posted a winning record. They won 80 games once and never finished higher than third place in the tough AL West that’s been dominated by the Houston Astros.

The Angels are +3000 odds to win the 2023 World Series, according to DraftKings’ MLB futures board. The Angels are also +1500 odds to win the AL pennant as the eighth-highest team on the board.

The AL West is a top-heavy division this season. The first-place Rangers are the betting favorite to win the AL West at -125 odds, followed by the Astros (+205), and Angels (+550). The Astros are the two-time defending division champs, and they won the AL West five times in the last six seasons. The Angels last won the AL West back in 2014.