Why You Should Bet on Aaron Judge to Win the 2019 AL MVP Award
Published on March 15, 2019
The 2019 Major League Baseball season is not quite upon us, but it’s never too soon to make a prediction for the regular-season awards.
First up, the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Last season, Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts took home the honor. For this season, I will be taking a crack at who I believe is going to be the 2019 American League Most Valuable Player.
You cannot dismiss Mookie Betts as being unable to defend his title, but for the 2019 award, I see a Boston Red Sox rival taking home the hardware.
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge will win the 2019 American League Most Valuable Player.
Let’s not only get into why I feel Judge will take the award home but also peek at the odds that are currently available for Mr. Judge to win the AL MVP.
Let’s look at the current odds for the top players in the American League, along with Aaron Judge, to win the AL MVP.
Odds are current as of 3/12/19 and have been provided by one of our trusted sites, SportsBetting.ag.
In 2018, Mookie Betts put up a season to remember. Betts batted .346, hit 32 home runs, had 80 runs batted in, scored 129 runs, and successfully stole 30 bases. Betts’ batting average and runs scored led the majors in both categories.
Add leading his team to 108 regular-season wins and a division title, and it wasn’t hard to see why Betts was deserving of the award.
After such a tremendous season, Betts is again deserving of being a contender to defend his title and win the 2019 American League MVP. At a price of +600, it’s hard to pass taking Mookie to win it again.
Mookie quite literally covered all the bases when it comes to what it takes to be a contender for the American League Most Valuable Player.
He led the majors in offensive categories, helping lead his team to the most wins in the majors.
There are times when the Most Valuable Player will come from a team that is not a playoff contender, but it takes a special statistical season by a player to win the award — seasons that only Mike Trout has accomplished as of late.
This year, Trout is sitting at +250 to win the AL MVP. If you ask me, that price is too low for a futures bet. When I’m tying up some of my bankroll for a whole season, I want a number where I can win some decent money if it hits.
When I am determining who I think should win the Most Valuable Player award, I like to choose a player from the team that leads the majors in wins. Stats alone will not get you the award in my book. This is where Trout loses me.
I want to at least see Trout lead his team to a divisional title before I am comfortable handing him the award for the player that is most valuable to their team. If he can’t get his team into the postseason, then I don’t see how said player is deserving of a Most Valuable Player award.
That being said, when determining who I like to win the 2019 AL MVP, I am going to take into account a player that can lead his team to a divisional title and top seed going into the postseason.
For the American League, I don’t see many more than four contending teams to win the AL pennant: the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, and the Cleveland Indians.
After a 100-win season in 2018 and a productive offseason, I see the New York Yankees winning the AL pennant and their right fielder Aaron Judge leading the way.
I see the New York Yankees having a strong year this season and believe they are bound to have one, if not two, MVP candidates. With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton the only Yankees to have current odds to win the AL MVP, I have decided to side with Aaron Judge to be the 2019 American League MVP.
And Aaron Judge represents the most realistic value at +800. Getting 8 to 1 on a futures bet is the Goldilocks zone for my bets.
At +800, you are getting good enough odds on a favorite that the payout will be nice. Investing $100 on a +800 bet will profit you $800.
It’s hard enough to win a futures bet, so if you can’t find a good value selection that will pay out well, I think it’s best to just leave things alone. You are investing money on a bet that will not become official until the end of the season.
Just like any MVP season, there will be key factors along the way that will lead Aaron Judge to an MVP-caliber season in 2019. Here are some of the things that will need to happen for Aaron to take home the hardware.
Many factors play into a successful MVP campaign. One of the most important, if not THE most important, is the ability to stay healthy for the length of the 162-game season.
Last season, Aaron Judge was unable to accomplish this first key factor to winning an MVP award. Judge went down with a fractured wrist late in the season, leading to Judge only playing 112 of the 162 games the New York Yankees played.
An injury of this magnitude will almost immediately take a player out of any regular-season awards’ running. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will find any reason to not vote for a player that has missed too many games. In the MLB, the player must have 502 plate appearances to be considered eligible to receive votes to win the Most Valuable Player award.
It is easy to see how an injury of any significance ends the hopes of a player being eligible when award season comes around.
So if a player is able to stay healthy throughout the season, which is a tough task on its own, they will have to improve statistically. For Aaron Judge, this means getting under the 200-strikeout plateau.
This is the area where Aaron Judge will win or lose the MVP. If he wants to be taken seriously as a contender to win the American League Most Valuable Player, he will need to improve on the 208 strikeouts he had in his only full season.
In 2017, which was Aaron Judge’s rookie season, he led the majors in strikeouts with 208 and walks with 127. For Judge to lead the majors in walks during his rookie season is very impressive and shows the type of patience at the plate most young players are incapable of showing.
For just a quick comparison, the 2018 MVP winner, Mookie Betts, only struck out 91 times throughout the entire 2018 regular season. For Aaron Judge not to be hurt by his strikeout numbers when the Baseball Writers get ready to cast their vote, he will need to stay under 200 strikeouts in the regular season.
Strikeouts are the area of concern for any MVP campaign by Aaron Judge. Looking back at past MVP winners, there was only one recent winner that led the American League in strikeouts. That was Mike Trout during his 2014 MVP season. He led the league with 184 strikeouts.
So it is possible for Aaron Judge to lead the league in strikeouts and still win the AL MVP award as long as his other statistics jump off the page.
If Judge is able to get into the 180-strikeout range, he will immediately turn his biggest weakness into an acceptable range for an MVP-caliber season. No MVP award winner has struck out over 200 times, so Aaron Judge will need to focus on his strikeouts and getting below the 200-strikeout mark.
There are a couple different ways for Judge to decrease his strikeouts on the season. One way is to increase the number of walks. Turning strikeouts into walks is the fastest way for Judge to cut down on his strikeouts.
Putting the ball in play will also help Judge decrease his strikeouts. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Aaron needs to get more hits. He just needs to put the ball in the field of play, especially when he is ahead in the count.
Counts like 3 balls and 1 strike or 2 balls and no strikes need to lead to contact. Whether the contact leads to a base hit or an out, it helps Judge decrease the number of strikeouts he racks up throughout the season, leading to stronger statistics for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to look at when filling out their ballots.
This was a huge area of concern for the 2017 and 2018 New York Yankees teams as a whole. In 2018 alone, Aaron Judge was one of two players on the New York Yankees roster that had a batting average higher than .245.
For comparison, the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox lead all of Major League Baseball batting .298 as a team with runners in scoring position.
Even though the Yankees score most of their runs by the home run ball, it is still quite the difference for one team to bat .298 as a team with runners in scoring position and the other to bat .253 as a team.
Just looking back at last season, the Boston Red Sox won 108 games to the New York Yankees’ 100 wins. With a difference of .045 in the hitting statistics between the two teams, we can see that a difference this small can lead to eight more wins for the better-hitting team with runners in scoring position.
When a hitter is up to bat with a runner in scoring position, it’s clearly a moment in the game when the hitter needs to come through and put the ball into play. A hitter’s inability to put the ball in play with runners in scoring position can be the difference between winning a game and losing another.
For hitters like Aaron Judge, any plate appearance with a runner in scoring position is why he bats third in the lineup. For the New York Yankees, he is the player they want up at the plate when a big hit is needed.
In 2018, the New York Yankees left a whopping 3.32 runners in scoring position per game. The Kansas City Royals led the majors by only leaving 2.56 runners in scoring position per game. For the Yankees, who won 100 games in 2018, it’s clear that improving the team’s batting average with runners in scoring position could be the difference between winning the division and winning the wild card.
To dive even deeper into the individual statistics, Aaron Judge batted .275 with runners in scoring position, and his batting average lowered to .250 when runners are in scoring position with two outs. Those are not exactly the numbers you want to see with your team’s best hitter in the lineup.
Compare that to the 2018 AL MVP, Mookie Betts, who batted .325 with runners in scoring position and an astonishing .433 with runners in scoring position with two outs. Those are the type of splits I want to see for any MVP candidate. When it was crunch time for Mookie Betts, he hit over.300, but when the situation got even tougher with 2 outs, he upped his average to an impressive .433.
That’s the clutch gene fans and teams want to see out of their Most Valuable Player candidate.
Clearly, this is another area of improvement for the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. Judge being able to see what past MVP numbers were during their MVP campaign seasons will help Aaron set the mark for what he feels he will need to put up to win the award.
The Most Valuable Player Award in baseball doesn’t necessarily go to the best player in the game year in and year out. When it comes to the winner, though, always take a look at players on the teams with the best records.
Baseball is the ultimate team sport, but individuals do separate themselves from the rest of their teammates.
For Aaron Judge to become the 23rd New York Yankee to win the American League Most Valuable Player, he will need to focus on two areas past MVPs have excelled at.
The ones that I have highlighted are lowering his strikeouts within the regular season, increasing the number of walks he earns, and finally increasing his batting average with runners in scoring position.
It only takes going back to the 2018 winner to see that leading the league in batting average with runners in scoring position and striking out the least in the majors is a recipe for success for winning the MVP award.
Come Thursday, March 28th, every MLB player will be looking to get off to a hot start to what they hope will eventually be the best season of their careers.
For certain players, like Aaron Judge, the goal of winning the MVP is never a goal Aaron would admit is important to him. He would much rather win the 28th World Championship for the New York Yankees.
Fact is, if Aaron puts up an MVP-caliber season, he will be helping his team accomplish exactly that.
I am pumped for the start of the MLB season and am looking forward to a great season out of both leagues.
It’s never too soon to lock in an MLB futures bet, and I have helped you get started with a prediction for the 2019 American League MVP award.
Just make sure not to lose the current value of +800 for Aaron Judge to win the AL MVP. As the season continues to approach, the public will bet on the betting favorites, resulting in line movements, so don’t forget to get the best value available sooner rather than later. Head to one of the trusted online sportsbooks when you’re ready and get your money down.
Enjoy the season!