The last week of September is here which means that each of the 30 MLB teams only has a handful of games left in their 2021 campaign. That also means that players don’t have a lot of time to convince others why they deserve each of the individual awards. The battle for National League MVP has been up and down all year, however, it’s looking like the award could go to Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper. Bovada is currently favoring the veteran at -275 odds to be named 2021 NL MVP.
The truth is that Harper had a slow start to his third season in Philadelphia and many wondered if it’d last all year. Fortunately, things changed for him at the MLB All-Star Break. Ever since then, he’s recorded 76 hits for 19 home runs and 48 RBIs in the following 67 games. He also owns an incredible .347/.490/.735 slash line during that span. To make things even more impressive, Harper’s 46 extra-base hits in those 67 contests (0.687 per game) would translate to 111 in a full season. Considering how Lou Gehrig was the last player to hit that mark back in 1927, that goes to show how special the 28-year-old has been this year.
Harper’s 2021 NL MVP run has helped the Phillies go 37-31 since the MLB All-Star Break, which certainly aided his own odds. Philadelphia now sits 2.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves for the NL East lead with just six games left to play. The two divisional rivals begin a three-game series on Tuesday, so a strong performance by Harper over the final week of the 2021 MLB season will not only help his team’s playoff odds but also his shot at being named NL MVP for the second time in his career.
2021 NL MVP Odds Update
Odds via Bovada as of Monday, September 27
- Bryce Harper (-275)
- Fernando Tatis Jr. (+275)
- Juan Soto (+450)
- Freddie Freeman (+4000)
- Max Muncy (+6000)
- Trea Turner (+6000)
Complete odds list is available at Bovada.lv.
Can Tatis Take Over MVP Race?
Few players saw as much pressure as Fernando Tatis Jr. did when he signed a 14-year, $330 million contract with the San Diego Padres ahead of the 2021 MLB season. Fortunately, the 22-year-old shortstop has been living up to every penny for the majority of the year. Now, he has the second-best 2021 NL MVP odds at +275.
Tatis has played 124 games for the Padres this season, smashing an NL-leading 41 home runs while also recording career highs in doubles (29), RBIs (95) and stolen bases (25). He also boasts a .284/.370/.617 slash line while also earning his first MLB All-Star appearance this year.
While Tatis’ statistics are great, the problem is that his play has cooled off recently compared to the beginning of the year. He owns a .268 batting average since August 1 despite having 10 home runs during that span. In fact, the entire Padres team has been underperforming over the last two months, going 18-31 over their last 49 games. When a team is playing that poorly, it makes winning the 2021 NL MVP award that much more difficult, The odds indicate that Tatis is still in the running, however, he’d need miraculous performances all week to overtake Harper in the race.
Soto 2021 NL MVP Odds
Aside from Harper and Tatis, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is the only other player with a “realistic” shot at being named 2021 NL MVP at +450 odds. The fourth-year player continues getting better with each passing season. Last year, he led the MLB in every slash line category, resulting in him finishing fifth in MVP voting. While he may not be leading in each of those statistics again, he is the MLB’s leader in walks (138), on-base percentage (.471) and intentional base on balls (22).
Overall, Soto has recorded 29 HRs and 92 RBIs in 145 games for the Nationals this year, slashing .322/.471/.552 as well. The issue has been that Washington hasn’t done well at all this year. A 64-92 record has them sitting at the bottom of the NL East, which certainly takes votes away from Soto even if that isn’t his fault. Had the Nationals been higher in the standings, his MVP odds would likely be higher. However, that isn’t the case and, unless Harper and Tatis have a monumental collapse, things will probably remain the same.