No one knows when the 2022 Major League Baseball season might actually start but when it does, oddsmakers list Washington’s Juan Soto and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. as the co-favorites at +350 on the MLB odds to win National League MVP.
2022 National League MVP Award Favorites
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper was the 2021 NL MVP, winning it for the second time in his career. He previously won in 2015 with the Nationals, which makes him the fifth player in baseball history to win MVPs with two franchises, joining Frank Robinson (Reds, Orioles), Barry Bonds (Pirates, Giants), Alex Rodriguez (Rangers, Yankees) and Jimmie Foxx (A’s, Red Sox).
Harper batted .309 with 42 doubles, one triple, 35 home runs, 84 RBIs, a 1.044 OPS and a 179 OPS+. He led baseball in doubles, slugging percentage (.615), OPS and OPS+. He ranked second in the NL in fWAR (6.6), on-base percentage (.429) and walks (100); third in batting average and outfield assists (10); sixth in home runs and runs (101) and ninth in bWAR (5.9). He even tied for 17th in stolen bases (13).
Harper got 17 first-place votes and finished with 348 points in voting by the BBWAA. Soto got six first-place votes and 274 points, and Tatis Jr. got two first-place votes and 244 points to finish third. Harper is +1000 to repeat.
Soto might be the most talented overall play in the majors right now. Last year, the 23-yearold hit .313 with 29 homers, 95 RBIs and a .999 OPS. Soto’s 98 home runs were fourth most in MLB history for anyone prior to their 23rd birthday behind Mel Ott (115), Eddie Mathews (112) and Tony Conigliaro (104). Soto turned 23 after the season. Soto’s 145 walks in 2021 were the most in any season since Barry Bonds walked 232 times in 2004.
Soto reportedly rejected a 13-year, $350 million extension from the Nationals before the MLB lockout. That $350 million offer would have obliterated the current contract record for a player with 3-4 years of service time (Freddie Freeman’s expired eight-year, $135 million extension with the Atlanta Braves).
The 13-year, $350 million offer resembled the 14-year, $340 million contract the Padres gave Tatis Jr. last year, though there are a few key differences. Most notably, Soto is one year closer to free agency now than Tatis was when he signed his contract
“Me and my agents think the best option is to go year after year and wait for free agency. My agent, Scott Boras, is in control of that situation,” Soto said back when it was declined.
Tatis was the betting favorite for a large chunk of last season but dealt with some injuries and the Padres flopped near the end of the season. Tatis made his 1st stint on the IL from April 6-16 with left shoulder inflammation. He tested positive for COVID-19 on May 11 with a stint on the COVID-19 Injured List, and he re-aggravated his shoulder injury on June 19, diving for a ball (missed 1 game before returning to the lineup the day after). Tatis was placed again on the IL with left shoulder inflammation on July 31st and was reinstated on August 15.
He finished the season leading the National League in home runs (42), AB/HR rate (11.38), offensive bWAR (7.3) per Baseball Reference, average exit velocity (93.9 mph), hard hit % (55.6), and barreled balls (70). Tatis ranked ranks 2nd in slugging percentage (.611), 3rd in OPS (.975), and SB (25), 4th in overall bWAR (6.6), and 7th in runs scored (99). He became the 11th player in MLB history to have a 30 double/40 homer/25 SB season and the youngest player to ever do so. The only Padres player to ever win MVP was Ken Caminiti in 1996.
Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. is the +900 third-favorite. He was off to a fantastic start last season before suffering a torn ACL. The superstar outfielder held a .283/.394/.596 batting line with 24 home runs, 52 RBI, 17 stolen bases and 72 runs scored though 82 games last year before the injury. Acuna might not be ready for the start of the 2022 season if it actually starts on time. A more realistic target is probably late April or early May.