Taking Stock of MLB Awards Races

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Good morning! The short-lived All-Star Break is over—Baseball is back.

The second half of the regular season resumed Thursday after a brief break for the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game (which the American League won, again). That makes now a perfect time to check in with the futures awards markets for both leagues.

Also in the latest edition of Winners Club is an NFL training camp primer, a fantasy football Q&A and the latest contract details for Kyler Murray and James Harden.

Award Favorites Emerge Entering Second Half of MLB Season

The Yankees asserted themselves as the new World Series favorites a few weeks back, passing the Dodgers as the most likely team to win it all come October.

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, however, has an uphill climb to win MVP for the first time in his career. Judge, who leads baseball with 34 home runs, trails the Angels’ two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, the defending MVP.

Jen Piacenti broke down the awards races for MVP, Cy Young and ROY in the AL and NL, starting with the two-man race between Judge and Ohtani:

AL MVP odds:
Shohei Ohtani -110
Aaron Judge +130
Yordan Alvarez +1100
Mike Trout +1700
Rafael Devers +2000

“There’s not a lot of value in taking Ohtani now, but it’s hard to argue he won’t repeat as he’s again pitching at an elite level.”

Alex Gallardo/AP

AL Cy Young odds:
Shane McClanahan +210
Justin Verlander +275
Gerrit Cole +700
Shohei Ohtani +750
Dylan Cease +1000

“Dylan Cease is actually my favorite value on the board today. Cease is still issuing too many free passes for my liking (the most in the league among qualified pitchers at 4.13 per nine), but you can’t argue with the results.”

AL ROY odds: 
Julio Rodriguez -376
Jeremy Peña +750
Bobby Witt Jr. +1000
Adley Rutschman +2000
Joe Ryan +3300

“I really like the value, though, for both Jeremy Pena and Bobby Witt, Jr. There’s still half of the season left and anything can happen. If Pena turns it on down the stretch, I can see him snagging the award.”

Mark J. Terrill/AP

NL MVP odds:
Paul Goldschmidt +120
Manny Machado +500
Mookie Betts +900
Freddie Freeman +900
Austin Riley +1100

“Paul Goldschmidt leads the field at +120 odds after opening the season at +5000 odds. If you were smart enough to pull that ticket, I salute you. I am going to pass on these current odds simply because there is too much of the season left but Goldy is certainly deserving of this award if the season ended today.”

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NL Cy Young odds:
Sandy Alcantara -125
Corbin Burnes +500
Joe Musgrove +1200
Max Fried +1200
Zack Wheeler +1600

“Corbin Burnes is looking to repeat, and his 2.12 ERA paired with a strikeout rate of more than 11 batters per nine innings makes him a good value at +500 odds.”

Godofredo A. Vásquez/AP

NL ROY odds:
Spencer Strider +150
Michael Harris +225
Oneil Cruz +700
Seiya Suzuki +1000
Nolan Gorman +1200

“My sleeper pick is Nolan Gorman. Sure, he’s struggled of late, but he has shown his ability to be clutch for the Cardinals. Gorman is hitting .241 with nine homers.”

For more on what to expect in the second half of the season, read Tom Verducci’s Daily Cover from Thursday: The Soto Sweepstakes and Other Top Stories to Follow Over MLB’s Final Month. And find the SI MLB staff’s playoff predictions here.

Training Camp is Upon Us—Which Battles Matter?

Rookies around the league started reporting to training camp this week and veterans are not far behind. This is where fantasy football managers can extract valuable information from key position battles, whether that’s legitimate quarterback competitions, players rehabbing injuries or just two position players jockeying for snaps in a rotation.

Michael Fabiano wrote a primer of which battles managers should take note of. Here are a few he singled out:

Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold

Darnold didn’t get the job done in his first season in Carolina, so it was no surprise that the team traded for Mayfield. I think the latter is the favorite, but head coach Matt Rhule isn’t going to hand the starting job to either of them.

Bill Kostroun/AP Photo

Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Ronald Jones

Edwards-Helaire has been prone to bumps and bruises in two NFL seasons, and I see Jones as a threat to his starting job. Not that the USC product is a world beater (he’s clearly not), but coach Andy Reid could decide to mix in RoJo on early downs and in goal-line situations ahead of CEH.

Christian Watson vs. Sammy Watkins

Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb appear to be locked into starting roles, so the battle to monitor in Green Bay is between Watson and Watkins. The veteran might have the advantage heading into training camp, but Watson has more upside and is favored by a whopping 95 draft spots based on NFFC ADP data in July.

Welcome to Week 2 of Michael Fabiano’s exclusive Winners Club mailbag!

Each week, Fabiano is answering a few user-submitted questions to help ready you for your fantasy football draft(s) and for the fast-approaching regular season. And the only way you can see your questions answered is by subscribing to Winners Club!

Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Fabiano so you don’t miss the chance to ask your questions. And remember, you can always email winnersclub@si.com to submit questions as well.

@jmansfi3: Would you draft Josh Allen or Jonathan Taylor with the first overall pick in a two-quarterback, 0.5 PPR league?

Fabiano: I’m going with Allen. Yes, it definitely feels weird for me because I’m such a running backs truther, but we’re talking about a player who finished with more than 400 fantasy points last season. Allen is obviously much more valuable in the multi-quarterback format too, and good running backs and wide receivers will be on the board longer since there will be a much greater focus on quarterbacks. Go with Allen, I promise you’ll thank me.

@MIchaelHolder86: Preferred top two picks: Davante Adams and Ja’Marr Chase, or Stefon Diggs and Ja’Marr Chase?

Fabiano: I prefer the duo of Adams and Chase, but I’m not sure how viable it is to get them on the same roster. In fact, they’re both coming off the board in the first round based on the ADP data at the Fantasy Football World Championships for July. In some cases, maybe if you’re in a 10- team league and near the turn, you could grab one at the end of the first round and the other at the top of the second, but that’s a huge maybe. In reality, getting Chase and Diggs as your first two picks is likely more realistic.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

@Jesus_Rascon_11: I’m starting to see a real shift in rookie talents coming in Year 1 and making a difference. How early are you taking a rookie(s) this season?

Fabiano: Rookies have definitely been making a bigger impact in recent seasons, but I’m not sure I see it happening to the same extent in 2022. The talent at the top of the class wasn’t as strong as it’s been, and some rookies didn’t land in the best spots to make an immediate impact. Breece Hall, the consensus top rookie, will find himself in a RBBC with Michael Carter in New York. Still, he’s coming off the board in the fourth or fifth round of drafts. The next rookie selected will be either Drake London or Kenneth Walker, and I see them both as seventh or eighth rounders in most 12-team redrafts.

Be sure to check Fabiano’s Twitter early next week for the next mailbag invitation!

In Other News

Murray, Cardinals Agree on Contract Extension: After months of back and forth between Arizona and the former No. 1 pick, the two sides agreed on a five-year, $230.5 million deal. Murray is now the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL.

12-Team Superflex Mock Draft Results: The SI Fantasy crew got together for a 13-round mock draft and each manager reviewed their selections to give an idea of the good and the bad of selecting from various draft slots. Review the entire draft here.

Best Fantasy Landing Spots for Garoppolo: The 49ers have granted Jimmy Garoppolo’s agent permission to seek a trade for his client as the Trey Lance era begins in San Francisco. See which suitors would make the most sense for a trade.

Harden Agrees to Two-Year Deal with 76ers: Harden took a paycut to remain in Philadelphia to help clear money for other roster moves. He opted out of his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season and instead inked a two-year, $68.6 million deal.


Thank you for reading and subscribing to Winners Club. Have a great weekend, and try to stay cool!