Andre Dawson and Alex Rodriguez are the only players to win MVP on a last-place team. Can Juan Soto join them?
WynnBET has released their MLB MVP awards, with Juan Soto (+275) the favorite to take home the hardware in the NL. Behind him are Ronald Acuña Jr. (+799), Bryce Harper (+750), Mookie Betts (+900), and Trea Turner (+1000).
Soto being the favorite shouldn’t come as a surprise. The 23-year old finished second to Harper last year after hitting .313. with 29 homers, 95 RBIs, and an OPS of .999. Now hitting second in the Nats lineup, Soto is in line to receive more ABs and with the addition of the universal DH — he will also have more opportunities to hit with runners on base. Factor in the Nationals lineup has improved with the addition of Nelson Cruz and a full season from Keibert Ruiz and Soto has plenty of protection.
Yet despite being the odds on favorite, history is standing in his way. The Nationals are projected to finish last in the division and voters tend to hold that against players. Since 2010, only six of the past 24 MVP winners missed the playoffs — Harper in 2015 and 2021, Mike Trout in 2016 and 2019, Giancarlo Stanton in 2017, and Shohei Ohtani in 2021.
Taking it a step further, only twice in MLB history has someone won MLB MVP on a last-place team — Andre Dawson with the Cubs in 1987 and Alex Rodriguez with the Texas Rangers in 2003.
Here’s how each of them performed in their MVP years.
Dawson: .287 BA, 49 HRs, 137 RBIs, .328 OBP, .568 SLG, .896 OPS
Rodriguez: .298 BA, 47 HRs, 118 RBIs, .396 OBP, .600 SLG, .995 OPS
Rodriguez’s stats were inflated from taking steroids, while Dawson benefitted from a change in scenery. Over the second half of last season (72 games), Soto slashed .348/.525/.639, well above the production of Dawson and Arod.
The phenom has already started his 2022 campaign with a bang. He already started to pick up where he left off last year — going 1-3, with a homer and a walk last night.