The Washington Nationals claimed Game 1 of the 2019 World Series, and second-year outfielder Juan Soto was the star. He was 3-for-4 with a solo home run and a two-run double that guided the Nationals to a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros.
The performance was enough to shoot him up near the top of our power rankings of MVP candidates. DraftKings Sportsbook posted World Series MVP odds prior to first pitch, and we’ll spend the next week tracking how players perform game-by-game and how it impacts the eventual MVP award.
Soto showed up ninth at +1400. Astros dominated the top of the list, and Max Scherzer (+1300) was the top listed Nationals player given his Game 1 start. Scherzer had to gut out five innings thanks to a patient Astros team. He struck out seven and got the win, but it was his toughest outing since going five in the Wild Card game and giving up three runs to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole (+650) led all players given his dominance of late and chance at getting two wins in an Astros series victory. He was efficient, but things got out of hand and he ended up giving up five runs to the Nationals in the first five innings of his seven inning appearance.
A sneaky rising candidate for MVP coming out of Game 1 is Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle (+6600). He came on with one out in the eighth and the tying run at second after George Springer doubled off Daniel Hudson. He forced Michael Brantley to fly out to left, and set down the Astros in order in the ninth. The Nationals middle relief has been a problem much of the season and the will be relying on Doolittle and closer Daniel Hudson extensively this series. Doolittle will get enough high leverage innings that he could very well claim the award.
25 of the past 30 winners of Game 1 have gone on to win the World Series, but the Astros are not your ordinary team. They roll out strong pitching the rest of the way and will make adjustments as needed. George Springer was their big performer in Game 1, going 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored, a double, and a home run. He did what he could to bring the Astros back, but came up just short.
Here is our MVP power rankings through Game 1, with their pre-Series odds in parenthesis.
1. Juan Soto (+1400)
2. George Springer (+1000)
3. Sean Doolittle (+6600)
4. Justin Verlander (+750)
5. Yuli Gurriel (+2500)
6. Stephen Strasburg (+1400)
7. Ryan Zimmerman (+5000)
8. Patrick Corbin (+4000)
9. Jose Altuve (+1000)
10. Adam Eaton (+4000)