2024 MLB Award Best Bets; AL & NL MVP, CY Young, and ROY

All of Peter Appel's MLB Awards Best Bets for the 2024 season, including picks for the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year in both leagues.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 14: Yoshinobu Yamamoto #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during workouts at Camelback Ranch on February 14, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

I’m trying something new this year. I’m sick of my leans turning into winners when it comes to the awards market. If I see value, I’m sprinkling.

In this article, you’ll find 14 bets spread across the American and National League for MVP, CY Young, and Rookie of the Year. All lines are courtesy of BetMGM, and if you use code “JUSTBASEBALL” they’ll match your deposit up to $1500.

I have a ton of futures this season. Check them out!

Bet or Pass on All 30 MLB Teams
5 Units Max Play
Season Long MLB Props

NL MVP: Corbin Carroll +2200

Last year, we cashed on the Rookie of the Year. This year, Corbin Carroll leaps to an MVP candidate.

Ad – content continues below

On June 29th, Corbin Carroll left the game with a shoulder injury after taking a swing. The injury should have held him out longer, but the man is a grinder. He returned to the lineup on July 2nd but didn’t look right. He was still productive, but it wasn’t the same Carroll.

On September 6th, he got hit with a fastball on the wrist and was removed from the game. Again, Carroll was right back in the lineup but was playing injured.

From Opening Day until June 29th, Corbin Carroll was the third most valuable player in baseball by fWAR (3.5). Through 79 games, Carroll slashed .290/.366/.559 with a 147 wRC+, 17 HR and 24 steals. If he wasn’t playing through injuries for the better part of the second half, he was on pace for a 7+ fWAR season with 30 HR and 55 steals. He still ended with a six-win season, 25 home runs, and 54 stolen bases.

The shoulder is still a concern, but I’d be hard-pressed to find a player with these high odds who has the potential to rival Ronald Acuna Jr.’s season last year. A 30/60 season while playing elite defense is in the cards for 2024, and he’s on a team expected to be in the playoff hunt. Bet this down to +2000.

Risk: 0.5 Units

AL MVP: Yordan Alvarez +1100

Last season, we cashed on Yordan’s under 37.5 home runs. It had a lot do with a spring training injury he sustained, but now that he’s healthy, I’ll be tailing instead of fading.

Ad – content continues below

Yordan is such a prolific offensive threat that he can have an eight fWAR season while not making an impact defensively. xwOBA measures contact quality; it’s formulated using exit velocity and launch angle. Yordan Alvarez is second in that metric since 2022, only trailing Aaron Judge. He’s also the only hitter trailing Aaron Judge in wRC+ in that span at 178.

Yordan’s 162-game average is .295/.390/.588 slashline with 43 HR and 128 RBI. He’s on the same level as Juan Soto, but his odds are nearly double Soto’s. Not to mention, the Astros have a better shot of winning their division than the Yankees do. He’s healthy going into the season, and he’s over +1000.

This is an auto bet at these odds basically every year moving forward. Bet this down to +1000.

Risk: 0.2 Units

AL MVP: Julio Rodriguez +1000

Like Yordan, if you give me 10-1 or better on Julio Rodriguez, it will be an auto bet for me moving forward.

Julio Rodriguez was the MVP of the American League in the second half. He was sixth in wRC+ (156) and first in fWAR (3.7) among AL players in the second half.

Ad – content continues below

It’s understandable that he struggled in the first half. The league made adjustments after a stellar year one, and it took him about 80 games to settle back in. He still finished fourth in MVP voting last season while putting up a .721 OPS in the first half.

Julio Rodriguez has the potential of a 35/40 season while playing gold glove-caliber defense in center field. He’s exactly what I’m looking for in an MVP candidiate. A young player with crazy amounts of talent on a team that should be in playoff contention. Bet this down to +800.

Risk: 0.5 Units

AL MVP: Adley Rutschman +2500

These odds are off by a decent margin. That said, it’s difficult for a catcher to win the MVP. Of the 18 MVP Awards earned by catchers, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Johnny Bench and Mickey Cochrane were responsible for 10. Buster Posey was the last catcher to win an MVP back in 2012.

In 2012, Posey hit .336/.408/.549 with 24 HR and 103 RBI. He posted a 10.1 fWAR because he was both the best offensive catcher and the best defender in the league.

In Adley’s rookie season, he put up a 5.4 fWAR in 113 games. In his “sophomore slump” year, he put up a 5.1 fWAR. His offensive and defensive production wasn’t quite the same as the previous year. At least with the bat, there is more room to grow.

Ad – content continues below

Adley’s results did not match the elite level of contact quality he showed from both sides of the plate. His xBA and xSLG were 30 points higher than his batting average and slugging percentage. His .373 xwOBA was higher than players like Austin Riley, Pete Alonso, and Fernando Tatis Jr.

fWAR is the most important statistic when it comes to MVP voting. A few Fangraphs projection systems have Adley as high as number three in projected fWAR for the National League. If he puts up a seven-win season for an AL East-leading Orioles team, he can win the MVP. Bet this down to +2200.

Risk: 0.1 Units

AL CY Young: Tarik Skubal +1300, Cole Ragans +1800

I’m grouping these two together because there is no value in betting them at these numbers. However, I’m also a human being with emotions. Those emotions, paired with research, have me sprinkling on Skubal & Ragans at whatever odds they would give me. I would never forgive myself if I was at the forefront of Skubal and Ragans’ propaganda and then didn’t bet on them.

These are two of the nastiest left-handed pitchers in the game. They were among the top five pitchers in last year’s second half. Here’s the stats compared to Spencer Strider.

Cole Ragans: 71.2 IP, 2.64 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 2.4 fWAR, 31.1% K, 9.4% BB

Ad – content continues below

Tarik Skubal: 72.1 IP, 3.11 ERA, 2.04 FIP, 2.9 fWAR, 32.3% K, 4.3% BB

Spencer Strider: 82 IP, 4.39 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 2.4 fWAR, 34.2% K, 7.1% BB

Tarik Skubal, by fWAR, was the most valuable pitcher in all of baseball in the second half. Cole Ragans was tied for third with Spencer Strider.

Both pitchers sport high 90s fastballs with four secondary pitches. You rarely see pitchers with this level of stuff that have yet to fully reach the potential of pitching an entire season. If either throws 170 innings, they can win the CY Young. With Gerrit Cole going down, the award is wide open.

Risk 0.1 Units on both

AL CY Young: Framber Valdez +1100

Now that Gerrit Cole is down with an elbow injury, is there a safer bet in the American League to throw 190+ innings with a respectable ERA than Framber Valdez? Jose Berrios might be your answer, but Framber is on another level.

Ad – content continues below

Since 2022, Framber Valdez is third in the AL in ERA behind Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander among pitchers with at least 300 innings. He’s second in innings in that span, only trailing Gerrit Cole. Framber is as durable and as effective as any pitcher in the American League, but after last season, he’s not priced like it.

Framber dealt with a quality of contact issue last year, but he has a secret weapon to limit that damage: ground balls. Due to this, Framber’s xERA will always be higher than his actual ERA. Hard ground-outs are still out.

Framber’s sinker was hit more than ever last year, and its velocity, at 95.3 MPH, was the highest the pitch had ever averaged. His curveball, changeup, and cutter were all above-average pitches.

A big reason he ended with a 3.45 ERA in 2023 instead of the 2.82 ERA he put up in 2022 was the month of July. In July, he put up a 7.29 ERA in 21 innings. He left in the middle of the month due to calf soreness, so we can give him a pass.

After July, he put up a mid-3s ERA the rest of the way. Underlying peripherals like FIP and xFIP all had him below his 3.45 ERA. Anything over +1000 is a must-play.

Risk: 0.1 Units

Ad – content continues below

AL CY Young: Grayson Rodriguez +2500

Remember when we discussed the second half and how dominant Tarik Skubal and Cole Ragans were? Let’s do it again with Grayson Rodriguez. But first, check out our interview with Grayson Rodriguez.

Cole Ragans: 71.2 IP, 2.64 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 2.4 fWAR, 31.1% K, 9.4% BB

Tarik Skubal: 72.1 IP, 3.11 ERA, 2.04 FIP, 2.9 fWAR, 32.3% K, 4.3% BB

Spencer Strider: 82 IP, 4.39 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 2.4 fWAR, 34.2% K, 7.1% BB

Grayson Rodriguez: 76.1 IP, 2.58 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 2.2 fWAR, 24.0% K, 6.9% BB

Grayson didn’t show the strikeout stuff that the other three did, but he beat them all in run prevention. Strangely, he is a strikeout pitcher at his core, routinely leading the minor leagues.

Ad – content continues below

In the interview, we discussed his struggles during the early parts of last season. He said he worked the corners too much and did not trust his stuff as much as he should. That changed when he came back up from the minors, and we saw him compete for MLB’s best pitcher.

Grayson’s odds should be below +2000, especially with Cole’s injury. He has all the stuff to win the CY Young in 2024.

Risk: 0.25 Units

NL CY Young: Spencer Strider +525

Do I have to pitch you on this one? Maybe, considering the odds aren’t great. I’ll do it anyway.

Spencer Strider isn’t a bad MVP pick based on how well I think he’ll pitch in 2024.

He put up a 3.86 ERA last year which is pretty bad considering how talented he is. If we look deeper, it’s clear he was extremely unlucky. His 3.09 xERA was in the 91st percentile, he finished second in FIP at 2.85, and first in xFIP at 2.92.

Ad – content continues below

SIERA is arguably the best ERA predictor. Strider’s 2.86 SIERA last season was far and away the best in MLB. The second best was Logan Webb at 3.16; third place was Zach Eflin at 3.30.

He had the highest strikeout rate by 5% last year AND added a new pitch to his arsenal. The curveball has looked lethal in spring training, so much so that he hasn’t allowed a run. He’s thrown 18.2 IP with zero earned runs and 29 strikeouts. He looks impossible to hit, and I have a good feeling it will carry over in 2024. Bet this down to +450.

Risk: 0.5 Units

NL CY Young: Yoshinobu Yamamoto +1300

There is a chance that Yamamoto is the best pitcher in the world. Last season, the 25-year-old Yamamoto won his third straight MVP, tying Ichiro Suzuki. Here is his resume before he turns 26 years old.

You don’t need to worry about his spring training stats. He’s sported a .517 BABIP, an extreme anomaly that can happen in such a small sample. He’s just getting his feet wet. Check out our YouTube video on him. If you are still trying to convince after watching that, don’t bet on this.

Also, remember that Kodai Senga came over last season and finished seventh in CY Young voting. He threw 166 innings with a 2.98 ERA with over 200 strikeouts. Yamamoto is not only five years younger but has a better arsenal and is more accomplished in less time.

Ad – content continues below

Risk: 0.2 Units

NL CY Young: Tyler Glasnow +2000

Tyler Glasnow never stays healthy, right? Sure, he’s dealt with his fair share of injuries in the past, and that’s why we are getting value on him.

Glasnow was fully healthy in the second half and was one of the more dominant pitchers in the American League. In 78.1 innings, he pitched to a 3.22 ERA, which was 16th in MLB.

However, his 2.55 FIP was second, and his 2.74 xFIP was third. His 3.07 SIERA was the fourth-best mark in the league.

Since 2019, Glasnow has thrown 332.2 IP with 462 strikeouts. He’s posted a 3.03 ERA, 2.89 FIP, and 1.01 WHIP. He’s genuinely a top 5-10 talent on the mound; the problem is health.

Hopefully, with a new team, he will find a training regimen that works and be able to make 30 starts. To his credit, he did throw 120 innings last season. He’s also fully healthy to start the season, something he hasn’t been able to say since 2021.

Ad – content continues below

I would bet him down to +1600.

Risk: 0.1 Units

AL ROY: Nolan Schanuel +3500

These odds are off. Nolan Schanuel was drafted 11th overall by the Angels in 2023 out of FAU. He was a hitting machine in college, slashing .447/.615/.868 in his final season. He was fast-tracked to the majors because of his elite bat control.

In 132 PA as a 21 year old, he slashed .275/.402/.330 and walked more than he struck out.

The power is the issue with Schanuel—the 51.8% groundball rate he put up with the Angels will keep that slugging percentage down. He did put up a .350 xwOBA in that span, which is tied with Ian Happ, and just a smidge under players like Randy Arozarena, Alex Bregman, Will Smith, Brandon Nimmo, and Spencer Torkelson.

He didn’t have any trouble with breaking balls or fastballs in his first stint, so there aren’t a lot of adjustments that pitchers can make against him. He posted a 85.8% zone contact rate in the majors, which was 10% higher than the leader in odds, Evan Carter. He hits everything in the zone, and his .280 xBA, .366 xSLG, and .350 xwOBA tells me there is some more juice in the tank for him.

Ad – content continues below

He’s going to play every day with nobody in his path. Few rookies can say the same.

The question is, can he elevate the baseball in 2024? I’ll pay to find out at these odds. Bet this down to +2500.

Risk: 0.1 Units

AL ROY: Junior Caminero +1600

The man is a physical freak. I saw him at the futures game and he looked like the truck they give the All-Star MVP. He’s listed at 160 pounds. Did they weigh him when he was 12 years old and never change it? Not sure, but I’m betting on him to win rookie of the year.

Aram ranked him as the number one prospect in the Rays system, and for good reason. In last year’s rankings, Aram put him at number two overall. He’s easily one of the best prospects in the game. Here’s a bit from the writeup.

A physical build for a 20-year-old, Caminero is already putting up elite exit velocities with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 111 MPH and max exit velocity of 114 MPH. His 90th percentile exit velocity would rank in the top five among qualified MLB hitters.

Ad – content continues below

There’s no doubting the top-of-the-scale raw power he possesses in the exit velocity department, but he will need to drive the ball in the air more consistently to tap into more game power. 1 of 5 batted balls that qualify as a fly ball for Caminero leave the yard (20% HR/FB rate), which is a sustainably strong figure given how hard he hits the ball; if he cuts his 50% ground ball rate, he easily has 30+ homer upside.

2023 is Caminero’s first full season above the rookie level and his chase rates have dropped as he has compiled more at-bats. There’s a chance for elite power and enough feel to hit to get into it consistently.

He’s in the same class of prospects as Jackson Holliday, Wyatt Langford, and Evan Carter, but Caminero will start the year in the minors, which is why his odds are higher than they should be. I assume it’s to get him some consistent reps before calling him up immediately. I wouldn’t expect him to be down in the minors for long. Bet this down to +1000.

Risk: 0.2 Units

AL ROY: Parker Meadows +2300

Similarly to Schanuel, Meadows is going to play every day. He’s not a top prospect like the others, but he is intriguing for a few reasons.

He could accumulate a solid fWAR. He put up 4 OAA and 3 DRS last season in center field in just 37 games. While he was a below-average hitter (94 wRC+), he still put up a 1.0 fWAR. If we model that over 162 games, he would have put up a 4.4 fWAR.

Last year, he was in the 90th percentile of sprint speed and the 81st percentile in arm strength. He has the speed to close gaps and the arm strength to control runners taking the extra base. As a center fielder in a large park, he should rack up those defensive stats that fWAR loves.

On the offensive side, he showed promise last season. While his wRC+ was below average, he walked at an elite rate (11.7%) and hit the ball in the air. He slashed .232/.331/.368 for a .699 OPS, which isn’t great, but the quality of contact was solid. His .325 xwOBA puts him in the middle of the pack of big league hitters, and his .251 xBA and .391 xSLG tells me luck wasn’t on his side.

If he can tap into more power and continue playing defense at a high level, we could be looking at a 3-4 win player in 2024. He might not get there this year, but he’ll have all the opportunities to do so. I would bet him down to +1500.

Risk: 0.1 Units

NL ROY: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (+175)

He’s so far and away the best rookie in Major League Baseball for 2024. It’s almost unfair that he’s labeled as a rookie.

If he were a hitter, I think he would be -110 or worse. He’s plus money because he’s a pitcher, and pitchers are much more susceptible to injuries. There is nobody in the National League that comes close to his level of talent for 2024. Bet this down to +125.

Risk: 1 Unit