Before I give you my rapid-fire, Astros-only MVP ballot, I bring you some glorious Astros-related betting odds news from our good friends at Bovada.lv. The Astros came into the season snug in the upper third of MLB teams in odds to win the World Series, but since then, we all know what's happened — Dallas Keuchel became Dallas Keuchel again, Lance McCullers became right-handed 1999 Mike Hampton, and the everyday lineup has become the 1927 Yankees.
The result has been the best record in baseball by four games on June 1, and the Astros becoming just the sixth team since the start of division play to have a 10+ game lead before June 1. It's worth noting, and actually a pretty good segue, that of the previous five teams to accomplish that feat, just one won the World Series.
Well, I say "just" one — that's 20 percent of the teams, and if you have a 20 percent shot at the World Series, those are actually damn good odds, all things considered. Which brings us to Bovada's most recent World Series odds. Check out the top ten teams:
HOUSTON ASTROS +475
Chicago Cubs +500
Cleveland Indians +650
Washington Nationals +700
Boston Red Sox +750
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
New York Yankees +1200
Colorado Rockies +1600
Arizona Diamondbacks +2500
St. Louis Cardinals +2500
If you're calculating percentages on futures bets like this, the math can get a little skewed based on what the goal of the sports book is (which is to get as much scattered action as they can), but +475 is in roughly the same neighborhood as a 20 percent chance to win the whole thing. As fun as it is seeing the Astros as the favorite to win the World Series, this next one has some good sports-hate baked into it. Check out Bovada's latest odds on winning the AL West:
Los Angeles 14/1
With two months' worth of precincts checking in, it would appear that Bovada is on the verge of calling this one. Now, let's take a quick look at the two big individual awards, the AL MVP…:
Aaron Judge -150
Mookie Betts +750
JOSE ALTUVE +900
CARLOS CORREA +900
Francisco Lindor +1000
Miguel Sano +1000
Corey Dickerson +1200
Robinson Cano +2500
…and the AL Cy Young:
Chris Sale -150
DALLAS KEUCHEL +500
Ervin Santana +1000
Yu Darvish +1200
LANCE McCULLERS +1200
Dylan Bundy +2000
Carlos Carrasco +2200
Jason Vargas +2200
Marcus Stroman +2500
Michael Fulmer +3300
James Paxton +3300
Michael Pineda +3300
Luis Severino +3300
Andrew Triggs +5000
So the Astros have some relevant players with a good sporting chance at some hardware, a welcome return to award-relevance after a dry 2016, and a year removed from a 2015 in which Keuchel won the Cy Young and Correa was AL Rookie of the Year. (The one bright spot was Jose Altuve's AL batting title.)
How do the Astros stack up in the "valuable" category within their own clubhouse? Quickly, here is what my Astros-only MVP ballot would look like exactly a third of the way through the season, with a one-sentence synopsis of the value each guy has brought:
10. WILL HARRIS (2.49 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 10 Holds)
Probably no All-Star Game this season for last season's All-Star, but Harris has been a valuable bridge to Giles all season long.
9. EVAN GATTIS (.287/.355/.451, 4 HR, 24 RBI)
It was tempting to put Brian McCann (or Reddick or Beltran) in here to represent the veteran offseason pickups, all of whom have been fine on the field and vital in the clubhouse, but it's hard to ignore how Gattis continues to fill his combo catcher/DH role with great consistency and productivity.
8. KEN GILES (14 saves, 3.10 ERA, 11.07 K/9)
Finally gaining some consistency to go with his overpowering stuff, and leading the AL in saves.
7.CHRIS DEVENSKI (3-3, 2.90 ERA, 0.87 WHIP)
Devenski has cooled off a little bit since his blazing hot start, but is still the most crucially valuable and versatile member of the bullpen.
6. GEORGE SPRINGER (.265/.342/.500, 13 HR, 31 RBI)
There are still plenty of people questioning the use of your leading home run hitter (with ZERO stolen bases, no less) in the leadoff spot, but it ain't broke right now.
5. LANCE McCULLERS (6-1, 2.48 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 1.7 WAR)
Pray for health, pray for health, pray for health...
4. JOSE ALTUVE (.319/.386/.505, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 10 SB, 2.4 WAR)
Altuve is this team's rock, and the next Astros Hall of Famer (someday).
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3. MARWIN GONZALEZ (.308/.401/.638, 12 HR, 34 RBI, 2.1 WAR)
The most pleasant surprise in all of baseball, it will be interesting to see how the All-Star Game conundrum shakes out if he is still hitting come end of June.
2. CARLOS CORREA (.316/.390/.524, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 2.5 WAR)
We've seen flashes of dominance in his first two seasons, but May 2017 was the first time we saw him as the dominant force (although he had plenty of company) on a month-long juggernaut.
1. DALLAS KEUCHEL (8-0, 1.81 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 2.6 WAR)
The 2015 version of the ace is back, and the Astros have the most valued commodity in regular season and postseason baseball — a virtually guaranteed win every five days.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.