With less than two months until the end of the 2021 MLB season, the race to be named the National League’s Most Valuable Player is heating up. While several players are trying to make their claim as to why they deserve the honors, one man stands above the rest: San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. The 22-year-old has been money this season and has been living up to his 14-year, $330 million extension. As of August 20, Tatis is BetOnline’s favorite to win the 2021 NL MVP award at -350 odds.
While injuries have kept him out of the lineup at times this year, Tatis has been the Padres’ best player by far. He leads the National League with 34 home runs despite playing just 91 games. He also has a career-high 75 RBI and leads the entire MLB in slugging percentage (.669) and on-base + slugging percentage (1.042). There aren’t any NL hitters that can really compete with those statistics.
There’s also the fact that Tatis has led the Padres to a 67-56 record so far. While the club isn’t as hot as they were at the start of the season, they still own the second National League Wild Card spot (albeit by one game) and should continue being a playoff-quality team as the season continues. With that being said, Tatis has to keep playing the best baseball of his career to keep San Diego’s postseason aspirations afloat. If he can do that, he could be well on his way to being named 2021 NL MVP.
2021 National League MVP Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Friday, August 20
- Fernando Tatis Jr. (-350)
- Bryce Harper (+550)
- Freddie Freeman (+1000)
- Max Muncy (+1000)
- Trea Turner (+2500)
- Austin Riley (+2800)
- Nick Castellanos (+5000)
Bryce Harper 2021 NL MVP Odds
At +550 odds, Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper has the second-best shot at taking home the 2021 NL MVP award. He’s already been there and done that, having won the hardware as a member of the Washington Nationals back in 2015.
Harper has been solid throughout his third season with the Phillies. He has 22 home runs and 50 RBI through 100 games thus far. His .290/.407/.560 slash line is his best in four years and is considerably above his career average of .277/.389/.517. That isn’t even to mention how Harper’s .967 OPS ranks fifth-best in the MLB, which has helped keep him in the 2021 NL MVP conversation.
The truth is that had it not been for a slow start to the season, Harper would be higher up in the National League MVP conversation. It wasn’t until the 2021 MLB All-Star break that he started playing at an MVP-caliber level. Since July 13, Harper has 12 doubles, 7 home runs and 16 RBI with a .310/.470/.660 slash line in 32 games. That sort of production would have him neck-and-neck with Tatis, however, the aforementioned slow start to the year has him playing catch up. Nevertheless, look for Harper to keep the NL MVP race interesting until the end of the campaign.
Freddie Freeman NL Most Valuable Player Odds
The Atlanta Braves also had a slow start to the 2021 season, however, they’ve been heating up as of late and have gone 18-7 (.720) in their last 25 games. First baseman Freddie Freeman is someone who has contributed a lot during that span and his +1000 odds to be named 2021 NL MVP prove that.
During that 25-game span, Freeman has 5 HRs and 14 RBI while slashing .340/.415/.532. It just seems that any time he’s taken the batter’s box lately, there’s a good chance that he’s going to make something happen. In terms of the entire season, Freeman leads the MLB in both plate appearances (524) and runs scored (90). He’s also been walked an NL-leading 14 times, which shows just how respected he is by opposing pitchers.
Freeman also isn’t a stranger to the award as he was named NL MVP just last season. If he somehow surpasses Tatis and Harper to win it again in 2021, he’d become the first player to take home the honors in back-to-back seasons since Albert Pujols did it in 2008 and 2009.