Marlins Slugger Giancarlo Stanton Is NL MVP Betting Favorite
While Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the defending American League MVP and the even-money favorite at Bovada to repeat, the favorite in the National League is someone who has never won the award: Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton at 9/2.
No Mental Scars From HBP?
Stanton might have won the NL MVP last year but he was scarily hit in the face by a pitch from Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers in on Sept. 11 at Miller Park and would miss the rest of the season. Stanton had to undergo several surgeries to fix fractures, dental issues, etc. Now you can’t even tell he was hit, although he will wear a specialized helmet while at the plate this season. Stanton, who got the biggest contract in American sports history in November, hit .288 with 37 homers (first in NL) with 105 RBIs in 145 games last year. He’s still only 25.
Stanton has been using the guard, with the signature “G” formed in plastic, throughout spring training, and MLB powers have recently ruled it will be allowed in games that count, as well. While there isn’t necessarily a precedent for such initialed face guards, there was no reason to think Stanton’s signature guard would be disallowed, as it provides only protection for one of baseball’s great assets, and no sort of advantage. Ellis Valentine and Dave Parker were stars of previous eras who wore face guards, but theirs were of the more typical football style. Stanton’s has a stylish “G” within the mask. His new mask was tested, and it withstood fastballs of up to 100 mph. Stanton has said he finds this mask more conducive to hitting.
Stanton is the 9/1 second favorite to the White Sox’s Jose Abreu (15/2) to lead the majors in homers. Bovada gives Stanton totals of a .285 average, 37.5 homers and 105.5 RBIs. Those surely would be good enough to win the NL MVP.
McCutchen Best All-Around Player In NL
The second favorite for NL MVP is Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen (11/2), the 2013 winner. Only two men in the whole sport have ripped off three straight top-three MVP finishes since 2012. One is Mike Trout. The other is McCutchen. He hit .314 with 25 homers, 83 RBIs and 18 steals last year.
Pirates outfield coach Rick Sofield explains what he thinks places McCutchen in a category where only the great players belong:
“At home plate, I’m not sure you’ll find a more fierce competitor, pitch to pitch,” Sofield says. “I have not seen him, in my three years with this club, give an at-bat away, you know, where he’s not feeling well, he’s not seeing it well, or somebody has thrown a pitch where it’s easy to surrender. I’ve never seen Andrew do that.”
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, perhaps the most underpaid player in the game, is the third favorite at 6/1 followed by Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw at 7/1. Of course Kershaw became the first NL pitcher since Bob Gibson to sweep the Cy Young and MVP Awards last year. No pitcher has ever won a second MVP.
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