The 2021 World Series between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves begins on Tuesday night from Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros are favored on the MLB series odds so it would make sense that Houston star Yordan Alvarez is the +800 favorite on the MLB odds to win World Series MVP. Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman is next at +900.
Analysis MLB 2021 | World Series MVP
Entering this year’s Fall Classic, the American League holds the overall lead in the World Series, 66-50. The National League has won seven out of the last 11 and nine of the last 14. The winner of the first game of the World Series has gone on to win the Fall Classic 73 times (63%). That has been the case in 15 of the last 18 and 20 of the last 23 World Series. The 2021 Fall Classic is the first in history to feature two Clubs that both lost the LCS in the previous year.
The Astros won their lone World Series in 2017 and George Springer was the MVP, but he’s now with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Braves haven’t won a World Series since 1995.
Alvarez was named the MVP of Houston’s six-game ALCS victory over the Boston Red Sox, joining Jose Altuve (2019) and Justin Verlander (2017) as Astro players to receive the award. Alvarez became the second designated hitter in ALCS history (since 1980) to be named MVP, joining David Ortiz (2004). In Game 6, he became the third player in MLB history to collect at least four hits and three extra-base hits in a potential clinching LCS game, joining Adam Kennedy (2002 ALCS) and Paul Blair (1969 ALCS). Alvarez became the fourth Cuban-born Postseason MVP in Major League history, joining Randy Arozarena (2020 ALCS), Orlando Hernández (1999 ALCS) and Liván Hernández (1997 NLCS).
Alvarez is not giving pitchers the chance to put him away deep in an at-bat. In the ALCS, he got five hits on the first pitch of an at-bat, the most of any player in either LCS. That included home run and two-run double off Chris Sale in the pivotal Game 5. He also had two more hits on the second pitch of an at-bat. Alvarez thrived against the Red Sox’s hard throwers. He went 5-for-8 with two doubles against 95+ mph fastballs in the ALCS. In the regular season, Alvarez batted only .156 with a .285 xwOBA against 95+ mph fastballs.
The Braves’ Freeman is playing in his first World Series – he was the 2020 NL MVP for the regular season. After enduring an 0-for-8 stretch with seven strikeouts in Games 1 and 2 of the NLCS, Freeman found his swing. Freeman proceeded to go 6-for-9 with two homers, two walks, four runs scored and three RBIs over his next 11 plate appearances from Games 3-5. He walked four times in the clinching Game 6.
Freeman’s eight-year, $135 million contract set to expire at the end of the World Series, so this could be his final series as a member of the Braves, although most expect the sides to come to an agreement.
Braves outfielder Eddie Rosario is +950 to win World Series MVP and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is +1000. Rosario became the sixth Braves player to receive NLCS MVP honors, joining Eddie Pérez (1999), Javy López (1996), Mike Deveraux (1995), John Smoltz (1992) and Steve Avery (1991). Rosario became one of just five players in MLB Postseason history with at least 14 hits in one series.
The two pitchers with the shortest World Series MVP odds are Atlanta’s Max Fried (+1600) and Houston’s Framber Valdez (+1800). Valdez will start Tuesday’s Game 1 but it’s not yet clear when Fried will start. The last starting pitcher to win World Series MVP was Washington’s Stephen Strasburg in 2019. The Astros are 0-3 all-time in Game 1 of the World Series. The Braves are 6-3. Atlanta is 3-2 all-time in postseason meetings with Houston but those were all when Houston was in the National League.