No Fernando Tatis Jr? No problem. The San Diego Padres are cruising this season thanks to an MVP-caliber performance from third baseman Manny Machado.
Baseball bettors are betting big on Manny Machado. The San Diego Padres third baseman saw his National League MVP ratings drop from +3,500 on Opening Day to just +225 on May 26 at BetMGM.
It currently attracts 26.5% of all sportsbook players, by far the most of all players.
Odds of Winning NL MVP
|Manny Machado (Chaplains)||+225|
|Mookie Betts (Dodges)||+600|
|Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)||+600|
|Juan Soto (nationals)||+1,000|
|Freddie Freeman (Dodges)||+1,000|
|Pete Alonso (Mets)||+1,100|
|Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)||+1,300|
|Francisco Lindor (Mets)||+2,500|
|Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals)||+2,500|
Odds provided by BetMGM as of May 26, 2022.
Machado’s rocket-like rise to the top of the odds chart has been nothing short of dizzying. Now in his fourth season with the Friars, the five-time All-Star is hitting .361 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs and leads all NL players in batting average, total bases, on-base percentage, OPS, OPS+, and intentional walks. In fact, the only thing he doesn’t do is sweep the clubhouse after home games.
Manny Machado played at MVP level this year pic.twitter.com/mhoi6FtV8A
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 21, 2022
Machado’s value was particularly evident on May 22 against the San Francisco Giants, when he became the first player in MLB history to record three doubles, a triple, three runs and a base on walks in one. match. It was his 16th multi-hit game of the season, and he raised his slant line to a ridiculous .374/.446/.619.
Here are three reasons punters should consider jumping on the Machado bandwagon before his odds dwindle:
WAR, what is it for?
Like it or not, Wins Above Replacement (WAR) has become the go-to stat for assessing player value over the past decade, and no one in the senior circuit has a higher WAR – per baseball reference – this season than Machado. The former first-rounder leads all National Leaguers at 3.3, 0.6 points ahead of second-place St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman and a full point more than perennial MVP contenders Nolan Arenado and Mookie Betts, who are tied for third.
Machado’s ranking is remarkable as the NL MVP has finished in WAR’s top five in nine of the past 10 seasons. The only outlier is Bryce Harper, who won the award in 2021 despite finishing a distant 12th in the category (ninth among positional players).
And if you prefer FanGraphs WAR to that of Baseball-Reference, few changes. Machado leads the NL with 3.4 WAR with Mookie Betts following at 2.7.
Machado’s defense is still going strong
You don’t have to be a two-way force to earn MVP honors, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Six of the last 10 NL MVPs have also won the Golden Glove at some point in their careers. This trend bodes well for Machado, who won a pair of Golden Gloves with the Baltimore Orioles and still plays phenomenal defense in the hot corner.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) April 20, 2022
He currently ranks first among all NL third basemen with a .989 field percentage and is sixth in defensive wins over substitution at .3.
Machado has strengthened in the absence of Tatis
An MVP – in the most literal sense of the word – is a player without whom a team cannot survive. That was certainly the case with Machado, as he helped the Padres overcome the huge loss of All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. setting foot on the diamond after fracturing his left wrist in a out of season motorcycle accident.
Most teams would crumble without their most productive player, but San Diego has reached the second-best record in the National League and finds itself just 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the tightly packed NL West. The Padres will ultimately need Tatis to make some noise in the playoffs, but in the meantime his absence has helped to significantly bolster Machado’s MVP case.
Manny being Manny
Machado has never finished higher than fourth in MVP voting, but again, he has never looked as locked in as he has this season. Place a bet on its rapidly declining odds now while there is still value.