Padres' Manny Machado Leads Early NL MVP Race Following Explosive Start

Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

The MLB season is now more than a month old and things are starting to take focus. Teams and players alike are starting to settle in and we’re getting a better picture of how the rest of the season may shape up. 

While there have been some surprises along the way, one that stands out is the National League MVP race. I don’t usually think much about these awards till late in the summer, but I noticed a name at the top of the odds board I didn’t expect to see. Therefore, I wanted to make an exception and take a look at the NL MVP a bit early this year.

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado leads the current NL MVP standings with 5/1 odds. I follow baseball rather closely and was surprised to see that Machado’s 2022 had somehow flown under my radar. 

As far as Machado’s stats go, they are phenomenal after more than a month of play. He leads MLB in batting average (.385), is second in OPS (1.103), seventh in home runs (7), and 8th in RBIs. 

Those are impressive numbers. But, I wanted to add some context to them by putting them side by side with the No. 2 player in the MVP odds, Juan Soto.

Soto is +600 while Machado is +500 at WynnBET Sportsbook. So, one would assume that their stat sheet is similar. Well, not so much. Juan Soto is 68th in the MLB in BA (.257), 24th in OPS (.863), 15th in home runs (6), and outside of the top 150 in RBIs. Yet, the oddsmakers think he's the second most likely guy to chase down Machado. I’m not doubting Soto’s skills, but every player has a down year from time to time. 

This brings me back to Machado. While his career stats are far better than most, Machado has yet to put together an MVP season. He’s finished with a BA over .300 just twice in 12 years and over 100 RBIs once. Might this be the year he puts it all together and wins his first MVP?

It’s a little early to make that call but I am very impressed with his play thus far. I think you could find far worse players to take a flier on to remain consistent into the fall.