Back in late March, we wrote that while Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was the clear-cut +250 favorite to win his fourth AL MVP Award, teammate Shohei Ohtani was taking massive action on that prop at William Hill Sportsbook and had rocketed up from +6000 at one point in the spring to +1500. With Trout now out 6-8 weeks due to a calf strain, Ohtani has become the new heavy MVP favorite at +150 with Trout at +1100.
As recently as Monday, Trout was still the +175 favorite and Ohtani at +400. However, Trout injured his right calf running the bases in the first inning Monday night vs. Cleveland and his reaction upon leaving the game immediately essentially told us that it was pretty serious. An MRI revealed a Grade 2 strain of his right calf, with Trout expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
Trout began the 2021 season with the best 30-game start of his career, and while he had slowed down a bit his .466 on-base percentage leads the majors as does his 1.090 OPS. Trout is hitting .333 with eight homers and 18 RBIs. While the guy is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he tends to get injured every year. Trout hasn't played more than 140 games in his past three full seasons (53 in last year's 60-game shortened campaign).
The SportsLine Projection Model had the Angels winning 75.1 games this season before the Trout injury and lowers that total to 73.4 if Trout misses six weeks. The Angels were making the playoffs in 2.3 percent of simulation prior to his injury and that number is down to 1.4 percent. At 18-23, L.A. is fourth in the AL West and has the fifth-worst record in the Junior Circuit. Since his first full season nine years ago, the Angels are 34 games over .500 with Trout in the lineup and 25 games under .500 with him not.
Ohtani, meanwhile, is having one of the great seasons in MLB history. He leads the majors with 14 home runs and is tied for second with 33 RBIs. Ohtani's 14 dingers are tied for the third-most by an Angels hitter in his first 40 games as a batter in a season. Only Trout (16 in 2020) and Wally Joyner (15 in 1986) had more through their first 40 games.
Ohtani bats left-handed but throws right and is 1-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in five starts on the mound. He has struck out 40 batters in 25.2 innings and allowed only 11 hits. Ohtani is scheduled to take the mound – still should bat – Wednesday night at home vs. the Cleveland Indians.
Other than Trout, the Angels have had two AL MVPs: Don Baylor in 1979 and Vladimir Guerrero in 2004. In a bit of irony, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays is now the +800 second-favorite on the AL MVP prop.
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