With the midway point of the MLB regular season approaching, it's time to explore the futures markets to find value. At this point of the season, we have enough of a sample size to make logical assumptions and assess the impact that each player can have on his respective team. Rather than merely backing favorites, however, we can get some serious discounts on guys who are having a great first half and who could also have a stellar second half to further make their case. Let's get into the picks (using BetMGM odds)...
AL MVP: YORDAN ALVAREZ (+1200): Aaron Judge is off to an historic start, Shohei Ohtani will be tough to beat if he picks up his hitting and Mike Trout will continue to put up elite numbers, but Alvarez has been the best overall hitter in baseball to this point in my opinion. His 1.056 OPS leads the American League and he's hit 23 home runs with 56 RBI in 68 games played. With a .311 average and .408 on-base percentage, the lefty slugger has struck out 48 times compared to 38 walks to this point, an impressive feat in today's MLB. He will have to continue to put up huge numbers in the second half, but in the middle of a high-scoring Astros lineup, I don't expect him to slow down anytime soon. At +1200, he's worth getting exposure to.
NL MVP: PETE ALONSO (+500): Goldy at -110 is absurd; yes, he's off to an amazing start, but there's still a ton of time left in the year. In 77 games for the Mets, Alonso has hit 22 homers with an NL-leading 69 RBI with an impressive .280 average for someone who's supposed to be a "pure power hitter". With Bryce Harper now out for the foreseeable future and Mookie Betts also dealing with an injury, I like Alonso to make some noise moving forward, especially if the Mets can stay atop the NL East.
AL CY YOUNG: GERRIT COLE (+800): All three pitchers with shorter odds than him are off to better starts, but it's tough not to like Cole's value here. He has a 6-2 record with a 2.99 ERA now, but in 87.1 innings, he's allowed 65 hits, struck out 111 and walked just 23, good for a 1.01 WHIP. He's going to presumably continue to benefit from solid run support all year long and has a proven track record for many years now. At this price, I love getting some action on him now.
NL CY YOUNG: TONY GONSOLIN (+1000): Gonsolin has a 10-0 record, 1.54 ERA and 0.82 WHIP, all of which lead the National League. His 1.54 ERA also leads the entire Majors among qualified starters and he's been virtually un-hittable, allowing just 44 hits in 81.2 innings pitched. He won't have the elite strikeout numbers that the guys with shorter odds than him right now have, but if he continues to pitch like this, it's going to be tough to deny him from this hardware.
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: JOE RYAN (+3000): The four position players with shorter odds than Ryan, but he started the year as the ace of Minnesota's pitching staff and has delivered, sporting a 6-3 record with a 3.00 ERA and 1.05 WHIP through 66.0 innings over 12 starts. If he can maintain his consistent production, I have a very hard time believing that his odds won't get much shorter. I'm very high on him.
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: BRENDAN DONOVAN (+1000): St. Louis has been pleasantly surprised by Donovan, who immediately produced at the MLB level. Through 59 games and 182 at-bats, he is hitting .297 with an elite .408 on-base percentage. With 38 strikeouts and 29 walks, his plate discipline has been fantastic and while he won't hit for power, if he continues to get on base and deliver in this Cardinals lineup, it'll be difficult for voters to ignore.