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MLB Betting Picks Futures - MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Player Props

trea turner fantasy baseball rankings shortstops draft sleepers MLB injury news

In my first MLB Futures Betting Picks, I broke down our World Series, League Winners, and Season Specials. This edition will discuss our MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Player Props for the 2023 MLB season.

Betting player performance is more volatile than betting team futures. Not only does the player have to live up to expectations, but he must stay healthy for the entire season. The more innings played, the more opportunities to compile stats worthwhile for voters come the end of the season. We also put the human element into play as these picks, outside of player props, are opinionated votes from 30 Baseball Writers' Association of America members. Our units will reflect this volatility.

Our goal today will be to provide you with value bets and players with the upside for winning each specific award if everything goes well. We will not bet Shohei Ohtani to win American League MVP at +200, although I believe he wins that award. We aim to hit on players with smaller unit bets with longer odds to maximize profit because of the volatility. We will also do our best to avoid some markets like AL MVP and focus on markets with a range of outcomes more open to the field. With that said, here are my 2023 player MLB future bets.

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Trea Turner To Win The National League MVP

+850 DraftKings (5 Units)

Full disclosure, I was prepared to write up Ronald Acuna Jr. here, but after the World Baseball Classic, it is hard to stray away from Trea Turner as it looks like he's on a different level. Turner was the best player on a USA roster full of the best hitters in the game, and it should spark some confidence for him heading into 2023. Turner finished the WBC hitting .391 AVG with five home runs. We hope this production will trickle into the season and give Turner the confidence to win his first MVP award.

Over the last three seasons, Turner has averaged a .318 AVG, 26 HRs, 85 RBIs, 105 Rs, and 30 SBs. Turner will be moving to the hitter-friendly confines of Citizen's Bank Park, and we can see a surge in HRs, especially building on the power we saw at the WBC. I also believe that the change in bases and the new rules will help one of the fastest players in the MLB steal more bags. If Turner hits over .320 with 30+ HRs and 40+ SBs and sustains his RBI and R totals, we can see a clear-cut MVP favorite blossoming.

Turner has finished top 10 in MVP voting three times in his career, including a top-five finish in 2021. There are a lot of question marks surrounding the other leading candidates in the National League. Can Ronald Acuna Jr. stay healthy? Will Juan Soto translate his production to a Padres uniform and overcome his last season struggles? Will Fernando Tatis return to 2021 form after not playing for an entire season? Can Paul Goldschmidt repeat his 2022 season? The AL MVP has a clear frontrunner in Shohei Ohtani, but the door is wide open in the NL.

Turner has as much upside as all of those listed above. Rules change, and moving to a new team can help his production in 2023. If he can continue his hot start at the World Baseball Classic, Turner will win the NL MVP this season.


Triston McKenzie To Win The American League, Cy Young

+2200 DraftKings (3 Units)

This number is already getting shorter at +2200. I got it at +4000 on February 13, so the time is now if you want to place a Triston McKenzie Cy Young bet. McKenzie burst onto the scene in 2022, posting an 11-11 record with a 2.96 ERA, 3.77 xFIP, 25.6% K, and a 5.9% BB. After the All-Star break, he had a 2.70 ERA, 3.35 xFIP, 27.2% K, and a 4.9% BB. He only got stronger as the season progressed, and we were hoping this trend would continue into 2023. 

The BB% was the most significant difference in his success in 2022 statistically. He dropped his walk rate by almost seven percent from 2021, bringing his rate closer to what it was throughout his minor league career, where his command was always a strong point. The 27.2% K in the second half of the season was also very encouraging as that is closer to what we have seen his entire career. This could even take a step forward as he gains weight and gets stronger, improving velocity and spin rate.

From a pitch data standpoint, McKenzie also made a significant adjustment in 2022, leading to more success. He ultimately got rid of his changeup, deploying a three-pitch, a four-seam fastball, curveball, and slider. He throws his heater 56% of the time and his curveball and slider around 23% of the time. What made him so effective was changing the shape of his breaking balls to aid his four-seam fastball, which he likes to attack up in the zone with.

In 2021, his curveball and slider were very similar in vertical movement and the opposite in horizontal direction. In 2022, it was just the opposite, where the two became more alike in horizontal movement and dissimilar in vertical movement. This change was significant for him as he used his fastball up in the zone at a high rate. Creating more deception on vertical depth on these two pitches plays up to his fastball more, as he can now change hitters' eye levels more effectively, ultimately creating more swings and misses.

The adjustment ultimately made McKenzie ditch his slider to left-hand hitters and primarily focus on attacking them with his curveball. This led to his best season against lefties as a pro, dominating them to a .194 BAA, 0.98 WHIP, and a 28.0% K. We can only hope the slider continues to improve, as he had a .271 BAA and a .500 SLG on that pitch to all hitters last season.

The door for AL Cy Young is wide open as last year's winner Justin Verlander is now pitching in the National League for the New York Mets. The biggest favorite is Jacob deGrom at +550 odds, and as of Spring training, he is already battling injuries. Gerrit Cole +650, Alek Manoah +800, Dylan Cease +900, and Shane Bieber +950 have odds lower than +1000. I think a longshot wins the award this year, and my money will be on McKenzie or George Kirby.


Anthony Volpe To Win American League Rookie of the Year

+500 DraftKings (3 Units)

Anthony Volpe has secured a spot on the New York Yankees' Opening Day roster after a red hot spring. We can expect him to start the season as the Yankees' everyday shortstop, as Oswald Peraza was optioned to AAA this afternoon. The Yankees' top prospect hit .314 with three HRs and five SBs this spring, forcing the front office to promote him to the Opening Day roster. There's a chance he hits at the top of the Yankees' lineup, which will immediately boost production, hitting in front of the likes of Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton.

Volpe is electric and has been at every level throughout his minor league career. He is baseball's fifth-best prospect and has the tools to be a significant league-level star. In 2021, Volpe had 20 HRs and 50 SBs and became the first player to achieve this feat since Andrew Jones, a great company in its own right. He has all the intangibles to translate success to the big league level. He can hit for power, doesn't strike out often, plays excellent defense, and has plus speed.

The only concern about Volpe was when he would get the big leagues this season, and earning the Opening Day gig skyrockets his chances of winning AL Rookie of the Year. Being on the Opening Day roster and maximizing the number of at-bats and starts have been significant factors in winning this award in years past. With this news, we have seen his odds jump to +500 from the +900 number we saw earlier this week, but it will continue to get shorter and shorter. By the end of the month, I expect him to be the favorite.

Gunnar Henderson, Masataka Yoshida, Triston Casas, and Grayson Rodriguez will be the four other rookies who will make the Opening Day roster for their respective teams who I believe can compete for ROY. I bet Triston Casas at the start of Spring training when there were reports he may lead off for the Red Sox, but now that Volpe has earned the starting shortstop role and Henderson continues to struggle with the strikeouts, Volpe becomes a no-brainer bet for AL ROY.


Regular Season Leaders

  • Aaron Judge to be the MLB Home Run Leader, +550 DraftKings (2 Units)
  • Spencer Strider to be the MLB Strikeout Leader, +900 DraftKings (2 Units)
  • Corbin Carroll to be the MLB Stolen Bases Leader, +1500 DraftKings (2 Units)
  • Emmanuel Clase to be the MLB Saves Leader, +600 DraftKings (2 Units)

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