- Christian Yelich won the 2018 NL MVP award with +15000 odds before the season.
- Josh Hamilton was the biggest surprise to win the AL MVP, doing so in 2010 with +10000 pre-season odds.
- Justin Verlander had +7500 pre-season MVP odds the year he became the first pitcher since 1992 to win the award.
MILWAUKEE – Major League Baseball has some of the biggest underdog stories in sports, especially when it comes to award winners. Christian Yelich became the most unlikely MVP award winner of any major sport in the last 20 years based on odds when he won the 2018 National League MVP.
What can be regarded as the most improbable MVP season ever, Christian Yelich conquered the +15000 pre-season odds at MLB sportsbooks to win the National League MVP. Yelich won the award over pre-season favorites like Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, and Nolan Arenado.
Christian Yelich’s miracle season was his first with the Milwaukee Brewers, as Yelich was traded from the Miami Marlins after hitting .282 with 18 home runs and 81 RBI. A then 26-year-old Christian Yelich drastically improved in Milwaukee, hitting .326 with 36 homers and 110 RBI to claim the long +15000 odds for Christian Yelich to win the NL MVP.
Josh Hamilton +10000: 2010 AL MVP
Josh Hamilton rebounded from an injury-riddled 2009 season to win the 2010 AL MVP award with +10000 odds. Hamilton received 22 of 28 first-place votes for the 2010 AL MVP award, with two-time MVP winner Miguel Cabrera finishing as the runner-up.
The Texas Rangers slugger led the MLB in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base + slugging percentage and wins above replacement. Josh Hamilton’s contribution propelled the Texas Rangers to a World Series appearance, where they ultimately lost to the San Francisco Giants.
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Justin Verlander continued the streak of AL MVP winners with longshot odds in 2011, becoming the first pitcher to win the MVP since Dennis Eckersley in 1992.
Justin Verlander +7500: 2011 AL MVP
Justin Verlander had +7500 odds at USA online sportsbooks to win the 2011 AL MVP. His win started a three-year streak of Detroit Tigers players winning the award, with Miguel Cabrera winning back-to-back AL MVPs in 2012 and 2013.
Verlander became the 11th pitcher in MLB history to win the Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season, joining baseball legends like Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Vida Blue, and Roger Clemens. Clayton Kershaw completed the double-hardware feat in 2014 with +2000 pre-season odds, which were likely shortened thanks to Justin Verlander proving it's possible for pitchers to win MVPs.
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