Sports Betting

Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani is favored to be the first designated hitter to win League MVP

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Shohei Ohtani Dodgers pic

In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 46-30. That’s the third-best record in the NL over halfway through June. The team is coming off a 7-6 loss to the Rockies in Colorado on Wednesday. Despite the loss, the Dodgers are still first in the NL West. This offseason, the team signed free-agent superstar Shohei Ohtani to a massive 10-year, $700 million deal. During the 2023 season, Ohtani injured a ligament in his elbow and couldn’t pitch for the rest of the season. However, the 29-year-old was still able to bat for the Angels in 2023. 

Even with an injured elbow, Ohtani was still able to bat. He’s one of the rare players in the league who can bat just as well as he can pitch. With the Angels in 2023, Ohtani hit an NL-high 44 home runs and had a 1.066 OPS>. That earned Ohtani his second MVP trophy in three seasons. In 2024, Ohtani is off to another great start. He’s only hitting this season due to his elbow injury. Currently, Ohtani is leading the NL with 57 runs scored and 20 home runs. He’s on pace to win MVP again this season. Sportsbooks have Ohtani at (+125) to win NL MVP in 2024. The next closest is Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper at (+300). Barring a massive dropoff, Ohtani is setting himself up for another MVP trophy.

There had been a stigma in the past on designated hitters being able to win MVP

Caesars Sportsbook has a lead baseball trader named Eric Biggio. He mentioned the era of baseball before the designated hitter came to the National League. Biggio references Seattle’s Edgar Martinez and Chicago’s Frank Thomas as players who were worthy of winning MVP as a designated hitter. Now that both leagues do not allow pitchers to hit, it’s less stigmatic for a DH to win the MVP. With Shohei Ohtani winning the award in the past, the chances of him winning as a DH are higher than any other player. 

Biggio noted that DHs would not get recognition in the past because they were sometimes “liabilities”.Certain players could only hit and not play a position on the field. That doesn’t help out their team and leaves them out of MVP contention no matter how dominant they are batting. Shohei Ohtani is a rare expectation to that rule. Voters are aware of his injury and know he’d be pitching and hitting if not for his injury. They take that into account when voting for MVP. Despite not being able to pitch this season for the Dodgers, Ohtani is still having an impressive year as a hitter. The talented superstar is unlike any player we’ve seen in quite some time. Shohei Ohtani is a dual-threat player and the Dodgers are missing out on his pitching this season. However, he’s making up for it by leading the NL in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases.