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MLB MVP race 2024: Mookie Betts, Juan Soto among top AL, NL MVP candidates

MLB MVP race 2024
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Who will win MLB MVP in 2024? Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. took home the honors last year. Now, we look ahead to the 2024 season with an outlook analyzing the National League and American League candidates for the MLB MVP race.

Major League Baseball is the only American professional sport that wards two MVP awards, one to each conference. It allows two players to take home a prestigious honor, joining some of the best players in MLB history with the coveted award on their trophy case.

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Bookmark this page for updates on the MLB MVP race throughout the season. Here is our NL and AL MVP candidates as of May 4.

NL MVP race 2024: Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts joined by young stars

MLB MVP race, NL MVP candidates
Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHRsRBIwRC+fWARbWAR
1Mookie Betts.363/466/.6001.0666252062.93.1
2Alec Bohm.358/.426/.5751.0014311832.01.6
3Shohei Ohtani.336/.405/.6121.0177201881881.9
4Elly De La Cruz.288/.392/.586.9788191721.91.9
5William Contreras.341/.415/.528.9445261691.61.7
MLB stats via FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference

NL MVP candidates rankings

  1. Mookie Betts, Dodgers – Mookie Betts is the clear NL MVP leader right now. Unlike teammate Shohei Ohtani, Betts is playing everyday in the field and that has added value when comparing MVP candidates. Not only is Betts also holding his own at a new position (shortstop), but he’s the only player in the National League with a wRC+ of 190-plus.
  2. Alec Bohm, Phillies – Alec Bohm is not a name we expected to be listed among our NL MVP candidates for the 2024 season. Yet, there’s no denying the impact the Philadelphia Phillies third baseman is having with the bat. Bohm ranked second in the NL in batting average (.358) and OBP (.426) entering Saturday and he is joined by Marcell Ozuna as the first two NL players to crack the 30 RBI mark. With Trea Turner sidelined a long time, another strong stretch from Brohm and carrying the Phillies lineup should go a long way in the MLB MVP race.
  3. Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers – We can’t deny the production Shohei Ohtani is providing at the plate. In a new home, Ohtani boasts the highest slugging percentage (.612) in the NL and he’s one of only two players with a .300-plus batting average and 7-plus home runs. However, what will hold Ohtani back all year when we’re evaluating NL MVP candidates, is the fact he’s not playing the field in 2024.
  4. Elly De La Cruz, Reds – The Cincinnati Reds phenom got off to a slow start in 2024, posting a .250/.276/.429 slash line with a .705 OPS in his first 7 games. In his last 25 contests, De La Cruz owns a spectacular 1.064 OPS with a .301/.426/.639 slash line, 8 home runs and 17 steals. We’re not expecting a season with 40 homers and 85 steals, but De La Cruz is earning some NL MVP votes right now.
  5. William Contreras, Brewers – Our expectations weren’t high for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2024, but William Contreras has changed that quickly. In his age-26 season, the Brewers catcher ranks seventh in the NL in wRC+ (169) and boasts the fifth-highest batting average (.341) among all NL players. Plus, a stat we like to highlight with catchers, the Brewers are 20-11 when Contreras plays.

AL MVP race 2024: Juan Soto and Gunnar Henderson in a battle

MLB MVP race 2024, AL MVP candidates
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHRsRBIwRC+fWARbWAR
1Juan Soto.320/.429/.5701.0008251872.21.8
2Gunnar Henderson.279/.345/.581.92610241632.12.1
3Bobby Witt Jr.318/.364/.538.9024191521.92.2
4Riley Greene.274/.399/.531.9207151651.62.3
5Steven Kwan.356/.406/.500.9063111651.91.7
MLB stats via FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference

AL MVP candidates rankings

  1. Juan Soto, Yankees – This is the version of Juan Soto we’ve been waiting to see. At his best, Soto is the best hitter in baseball and it’s not particularly close. He’ll never have the highest batting average in the American League, but Soto’s unmatched vision and plate discipline lead to an MLB-best walk rate and spectacular run production with power. We also have to give Soto a slight bump for delivering with the pressure of playing for the Yankees and carrying the lineup with Aaron Judge struggling.
  2. Gunnar Henderson, Orioles – Everyone expected the Baltimore Orioles to take that next step in 2024, but few saw this level of a breakout coming from Gunnar Henderson. He doesn’t necessarily hit for an extremely high average, but Henderson leads MLB in home runs and boasts the second-highest SLG (.581) in the American League. If you wanted to give a tiebreaker to AL MVP candidates based on team record, we’d understand putting Henderson over Soto.
  3. Bobby Witt Jr, Royals – We listed Bobby Witt Jr. among our AL MVP candidates last year, but the Kansas City Royals never had the record for that to ever be a real possibility. That’s not the case in 2024. Witt and Salvador Perez are mashing, leading to Kansas City sitting near the top of the AL. Even if the Royals cool down a bit, Witt’s production in the past year demonstrates that he is one of the best players in MLB.
  4. Riley Greene, Tigers – What elevates Riley Greene in our AL MVP race is the fact that he doesn’t have much help. The Detroit Tigers lineup features multiple everyday players with a sub-.590 OPS, yet Greene is still helping this team post a winning record. With the added value he brings defensively (7 Defensive Runs Saved), Greene deserves to be considered for MVP honors in the AL.
  5. Steven Kwan, Guardians – Steven Kwan isn’t our usual type in the MLB MVP race. He doesn’t hit for much power and because he hits at the top of a lineup, there aren’t many RBI opportunities. With that said, leadoff hitters with a walk rate (7 percent) nearly identical to their strikeout rate (7.7 percent) and 11 extra-base hits with 28 runs scored earn consideration. That’s especially true because of the Guardians’ record this season.

In May, we’ll update our rankings of NL and AL MVP candidates every other week then move to weekly updates in June.

MLB MVP odds 2024: Identifying top AL, NL MVP candidates

Before breaking down our favorite NL and AL MVP candidates in 2024, here are the current MLB MVP odds 2024 courtesy of BetMGM. The right side of our table is NL MVP odds and the left side is AL MVP odds.

PlayerOddsPlayerOdds
Ronald Acuña Jr+525Aaron Judge+550
Mookie Betts+650Juan Soto+600
Shohei Ohtani+900Yordan Alvarez+900
Fernando Tatís Jr+1000Corey Seager+1000
Freddie Freeman+1100Julio Rodriguez+1200
Bryce Harper+1200Adley Rutschman+1600
Matt Olson+1400Gunnar Henderson+1800
Corbin Carroll+2000Kyle Tucker+1800
Trea Turner+2200Bobby Witt Jr+2000
Austin Riley+2500Vladimir Guerrero Jr+2200

National League MVP candidates

Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – +650

Shohei Ohtani will be picked by many to win MVP in the National League, but he isn’t pitching this year. With the assumed restrictions to playing designated hitter, someone else on one of the best teams in baseball will get those votes. Not only will Mookie Betts post MVP-caliber numbers at the plate, but his defensive excellence at second base and in the outfield could ultimately earn him MVP.

Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – +900

Bryce Harper had a delayed start to the 2023 season, not playing until May due to elbow surgery. It then took time for the two-time MVP award winner to rediscover his power. However, we saw the best of Harper late in the year – .299/.425/.641, 179 wRC+, 16 home runs in the final 53 games – and replicating those numbers for one of the best teams in the National League will make Harper a front-runner for MVP honors.

Ronald Acuna Jr, Atlanta Braves – +525

The reigning National League MVP award winner has the highest odds in 2024, but we’d suggest betting against Ronald Acuña Jr doing it. While he should have some of the best MLB stats in 2024, a player hasn’t won consecutive MVP awards since Miguel Cabrera (2012-’13). While the decades-long stretch may end this year, it seems unlikely based on the loaded pool of candidates.

NL MVP race 2024

  1. Mookie Betts, Dodgers
  2. Bryce Harper, Phillies
  3. Ronald Acuna Jr, Braves
  4. Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers
  5. Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

AL MVP race 2024

  1. Juan Soto, Yankees
  2. Yordan Alvarez, Astros
  3. Aaron Judge, Yankees
  4. Adley Rutschman, Orioles
  5. Julio Rodriguez, Mariners

American League MVP candidates

Juan Soto, New York Yankees – +660

Newcomers get more attention than players who have been with a team for years and that is especially true for the New York Yankees. Juan Soto is the fresh face at Yankee Stadium and if New York wins the AL East in 2024, Soto will be one of the biggest reasons for it. He should put up numbers that will rival Aaron Judge’s statistics and there will also likely be MVP voters wanting a first-timer to take it home.

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – +550

A big part of winning a second MVP comes down to health for Aaron Judge. A prolonged absence in 2023 cost him, but everyone saw what he was capable of – .291/.404/.674, 187 wRC+, 19 home runs – prior to that season-altering injury. If there’s one advantage Judge will hold over Soto, it’s the added value of playing center field for the Yankees this season.

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros – +900

Never sleep on Yordan Alvarez as an MVP candidate. Entering July of 2022, the Houston Astros slugger slashed .316/.412/.653 with a 200 wRC+, 23 home runs and 56 RBI in 67 games. Then, a right-hand injury put him on the IL and then bothered him through August. In 2023, Alvarez hit 17 home runs with 55 RBI and a .277/.388/.589 slash line in his first 57 games. Unfortunately, an oblique strain in June sidelined him until 26. When he returned, Alvarez slashed .308/.425/.577 with 14 home runs and 42 RBI in his final 57 games. If the Astros can even get 145 games out of Alvarez, he’ll have the numbers to win MVP.

Who is leading the MLB MVP race?

Mookie Betts and Juan Soto are our current front-runners in the MLB MVP race for the 2024 season before Opening Day.

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Who is favored to win NL MVP?

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr (+525) is favored to win NL MVP, followed by Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts (+650) and Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (+900) in the latest NL MVP odds.

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Who is favored to win AL MVP?

Aaron Judge is favored to win AL MVP in 2024 (+550) followed by New York Yankees teammate Juan Soto (+600) and Houston Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez (+900).

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Who will win MLB MVP?

Our current 2024 MLB MVP picks are Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts for National League MVP and New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto for American League MVP.

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MLB MVP history and FAQ

Here’s everything you need to know about the MLB MVP awards, including its history and when it is announced by Major League Baseball.

Has anyone ever won Rookie of the Year and MVP?

Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) are the only players in MLB history to win Rookie of the Year and MLB MVP in the same season. Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll has the opportunity to join the exclusive club in 2023.

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Why does baseball have 2 MVPs?

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Philadelphia Phillies
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

There are two MLB MVP awards because Major League Baseball provides awards for both the American League and the National League. Just like with MVP, there are AL & NL honors for the Cy Young Award, Comeback Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and Reliever of the Year.

MLB MVP winners by year

  • 2023 – National League MVP – Ronald Acuńa Jr, Atlanta Braves
  • 2023 – American League MVP – Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
  • 2022 – American League MVP – Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
  • 2022 – National League MVP – Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
  • 2021 – American League MVP – Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
  • 2021 – National League MVP – Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
  • 2020 – American League MVP – José Abreu, Chicago White Sox
  • 2020 – National League MVP – Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
  • 2019 – American League MVP – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
  • 2019 – National League MVP – Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 2018 – American League MVP – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
  • 2018 – National League Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
  • 2017 – American League MVP – Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
  • 2017 – National League Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

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Who has the most MVPs in MLB?

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Barry Bonds won seven MLB MVP awards during his career. The San Francisco Giants icon holds the MLB record for most MVPs, winning them in 1990, ’92, ’92 and 2001-’04.

Who is the youngest MLB MVP winner?

Johnny Bench is the youngest player to win MLB MVP. The former Cincinnati Reds catcher won MVP in 1970 at the age of 22 years and 26 days old, just surpassing Vida Blue (22 years, 3 months and 30 days in 1971). During that 1970 season, Bench hit 45 home runs with 148 RBIs a .293 batting average and a .932 OPS.

Who votes for MLB MVP?

The Baseball Writers Association of America votes for MLB MVP. There are 60 total voters for MVP honors, with 30 voting for the National League MVP and another 30 voting for the American League MVP.

Who has 3 MLB MVPs?

MLB: All Star Game
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

There have been 11 players in baseball history to win three MVPs. Most recently, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout became the latest player to win his third AL MVP. Before that, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez became the first players to do it since Barry Bonds.

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MLB players with three MVPs

  • Barry Bonds – 7 – 1990, ’92, ’92, 2001-’04
  • Mike Trout – 3 – 2014, ’16, ’19
  • Alex Rodriguez – 3 – 2003, ’05, ’07
  • Albert Pujols – 3 – 2005, ’08, ’09
  • Mike Schmidt – 3 – 1980, ’81, ’86
  • Yogi Berra – 3 – 1951, ’54, ’55
  • Stan Musial – 3 – 1943, ’46, ’48
  • Mickey Mantle – 3 – 1956, ’57, ’62
  • Roy Campanella – 3 – 1951, ’53, ’55
  • Joe Dimaggio – 3 – 1939, ’41, ’47
  • Jimmie Foxx – 1932, ’33, ’38

2023 MLB MVP race: Sportsnaut’s AL and NL MVP ballots

NL MVP race

MLB MVP race 2024
Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHRsRBIwRC+fWARbWAR
1Ronald Acuña Jr.337/.416/.5961.012411061708.38.1
2Mookie Betts.307/.408/.579.987391071678.38.4
3Matt Olson.283/.389/.604.993541391606.67.4
4Freddie Freeman.331/.410/.567.976291021637.96.6
5Corbin Carroll.285/.362/.506.86825761336.05.4
MLB stats via FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference
  1. Ronald Acuña Jr, Atlanta Braves – Ronald Acuña Jr. is our choice for NL MVP. The Atlanta Braves star has slashed .325/.382/.713 in September with a 1.095 OPS, nine home runs and 17 RBI. Atlanta is 98-53 with Acuña in the lineup this season. Ultimately, the deciding factor in our MLB MVP race is Acuña going 6-for-17 with three home runs and a 1.362 OPS in a head-to-head matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers to open the month. Those wins secured home-field advantage for Atlanta.
  2. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – Since the All-Star Break, Mookie Betts leads the National League in batting average (.357), wRC+ (188) and FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (3.8). He’s been the best player in baseball in the second half of the season. You could truly go either way with your National League MVP pick, our choice is Acuna by a hair.
  3. Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves – Matt Olson has been on a tear in September, recording 27 hits (10 home runs) with 20 RBI and a 13-13 K-BB rate in 10 games. While the Atlanta Braves only have a 10-10 record to show for it, Freeman’s 1.217 OPS this month is one of the best in baseball. In ordinary years, he might have a shot at winning NL MVP. Obviously, that’s not happening in 2023.
  4. Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers – Freddie Freeman saved his worth month of baseball for September and that’s by his own standard. In 18 contests this month, Freeman is responsible for a .290/.380/.406 slash line with a .786 OPS. There are 90-plus percent of MLB players who would love to have those numbers, but it’s a disappointment for Freeman. Outstanding production from April through August are what at least earned Freeman a few NL MVP votes.
  5. Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks – Few, if anyone, expected the Arizona Diamondbacks to make the playoffs this season. Without Corbin Carroll, Arizona isn’t playing in October. He’s going to win NL Rookie of the Year in a landslide, but the 135 wRC+, 6 Wins Above Replacement and his overall contributions to Arizona all year (50 steals) earn Carroll fifth on our NL MVP ballot.

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AL MVP ballot 2023

Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHRsRBIwRC+fWARbWAR
1Shohei Ohtani.304/.412/.6541.06644951801010.1
2Corey Seager.327/.390/.6231.01333961696.16.9
3Julio Rodriguez.275/.333/.485.818321031265.95.3
4Marcus Semien.276/.348/.478.826291001246.37.4
5Kyle Tucker.284/.369/.517.886291121404.96.3
MLB stats via FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference
  1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – Shohei Ohtani is the AL MVP winner for everything he did before August. From March 30 – July 31, Ohtani posted a 1.087 OPS with 39 home runs, 81 RBI, 12 steals and 17 doubles. On top of that, he pitched at an All-Star level (3.14 ERA, 167 Ks in 132 IP). Ohtani is the most valuable player in all of baseball.
  2. Corey Seager, Texas Rangers – Corey Seager came the closest to challenging Ohtani for AL MVP, yet it was never that close. wo stints on the injured list really slowed down Seager’s momentum, costing him a shot at statistics that would’ve rivaled Ohtani’s with the bat. Then again, a bad September (.263/.298/.575, .873 OPS) might’ve ruled out a late run anyway. Still, a fantastic year for Seager.
  3. Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners – We saw multiple versions of Julio Rodriguez this season. The Seattle Mariners star struggled early, posting a .238/.302/.407 slash line with a .710 OPS, 13 home runs and 18 stolen bases in his first 78 games (Seattle went 36-42). Then, Rodriguez lifted the to a 35-13 record in June and July behind his 1.010 OPS with 11 home runs, 17 steals and a .360/.413/.597 slash line in 48 games. September, though, has brought back an in-between version of J-Rod. One thing is for certain, Rodriguez will be a perennial AL MVP candidate moving forward.
  4. Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers – Marcus Semien obliterated baseballs in May (21 RBI, .322/.385/.513) and recorded the longest hitting streak in baseball this season. Outside of that, he largely hit right at an All-Star level this year. Of course, what separates Semien from other infielders in 2023 were his 15 Defensive Runs Saved, one of the highest marks among middle infielders.
  5. Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros – Kyle Tucker was moderately productive through the first two months of the season, slashing .267/.346/.429 with a .775 OPS and 33 RBI. After that, he played at an MVP-caliber level. The Houston Astros star slashed .292/.380/.561 after June 1 – October 1, posting a .942 OPS with 22 home runs, 23 steals and 79 RBI. In a year that saw Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez miss time, Tucker was the stabilizing force that kept Houston going.

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MLB MVP 2022 results

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge won AL MVP in 2022, becoming the first Yankees’ player since Alex Rodriguez (2007) to win MVP honors.

Here’s a breakdown on how I would’ve voted in the MLB MVP races 2022, starting with AL MVP followed by NL MVP.

AL MVP race

Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHome RunsRBIwRC+fWARbWAR
1.Aaron Judge.311/.425/.6861.1116213120711.410.6
2.Shohei Ohtani.273/.356/.519.87534951429.49.6
3.Yordan Alvarez.306/.406/.6131.01937971856.66.8
4.Andres Gimenez.297/.371/.466.83717691406.17.2
5.Jose Altuve.300/.387/.533.92128571646.65.6

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is the AL MVP. While Shohei Ohtani put up a phenomenal fight this season, Judge delivered a caliber of historical greatness that will rightfully go down as one of the best seasons in MLB history.

Related: Aaron Judge home run tracker

Use whatever stats you want. Judge is the first player in MLB history with 60-plus home runs, 90-plus walks and 15-plus steals in a season. He entered Saturday with the ninth-highest FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (10.7) since 1950.

There is also so much more to consider from the star who is on the verge of becoming just the fifth Triple Crown winner in the last 75 years. Judge hit 60 home runs in a season when no other player sniffed 50. All of this in a contract year, betting on himself and delivering in historic fashion. If all of that isn’t enough, a 266 wRC+ in the second half (no other player above 185), 20.3% walk rate and 27 home runs in the second half solidify Judge as MLB MVP.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins
Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani wins AL MVP in any other season. The two-way phenom delivered a season like we’ve never seen before. He is the first player since 1900 to face 600 batters and have 600-plus plate appearances (Sarah Langs). He struck out 200-plus batters this season and was part of the 30-homer club, something no other player in MLB history has ever come close to approaching.

Incredibly, Ohtani saved his best stuff for the second half. Entering September 24, Ohtani boasted a .291/.374/.612 slash line with 15 home runs and a 170 wRC+ since the All-Star Break. On the mound, Ohtani sports a 2.59 ERA with a 10.91 K/9, 29.6% strikeout rate and .229 batting average allowed in the second half.

AL MVP ballots should be relatively close, Judge shouldn’t be a unanimous selection. Ohtani’s exceptional play both on the mound and in the batter’s box makes him the best player in MLB. Ultimately, it just isn’t enough to win a second consecutive AL MVP award in a year like this.

Related: MLB scores

NL MVP race: Nolan Arenado vs Paul Goldschmidt

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHome RunsRBIwRC+fWARbWAR
1.Nolan Arenado.293/.358/.533.891301031517.37.9
2.Paul Goldschmidt.317/.404/.578.981351151777.17.8
3.Manny Machado.298/.366/.531.898321021527.46.8
4.Freddie Freeman.325/.407/.511.918211001577.15.9
5.Austin Riley.273/.349/.528.87838931425.56.5
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