In between digging through MLB betting lines, it’s always a good idea to take a look at the latest futures odds to see where there’s good value.
When healthy, no pitcher has better stuff than Jacob deGrom (+450 to have most strikeouts this season). The two-time Cy Young winner has led the league in strikeouts in two of the past three years, posting strikeout per nine inning ratings of 14.3 and 13.8 over the last two.
The New York Mets ace picked up where he left off in spring training, striking out 10 batters over 5.0 innings, moving him to the top of the strikeout leader futures board. Still, health is an issue, and there’s no guarantee he pitches enough innings to accumulate the most strikeouts.
On that premise, we’re looking into three pitchers who present value in MLB betting to lead the majors in strikeouts.
Corbin Burnes Odds to Lead MLB in Strikeouts: +1100
If you skim past the usual suspects, you’ll find Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes at +1100 to finish the year with the most punchouts. The reigning Cy Young winner got off to a rough start this season, but there’s plenty of upside to backing Burnes in the futures market.
Corbin Burnes can throw a Back Door Cutter all day & there's nothing you can do but watch. 👀 pic.twitter.com/pI7m43qys0
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 3, 2022
The 26-year-old has a five-pitch repertoire that keeps hitters guessing every time they step into the batter’s box. Last season, Burnes induced a 35.6% strikeout rate, putting him in the top 3% of Major League pitchers to go with an MLB-best 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
Burnes’s success isn’t limited to last year; the fifth-year pitcher has 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings throughout his MLB career, with a 33% strikeout percentage. If the Brewers’s ace makes 30 or more starts this season, there’s a good chance he finishes with the most strikeouts.
Kevin Gausman Odds to Lead MLB in Strikeouts: +1800
Kevin Gausman is an unassuming name near the top of the futures board, but there are a few indicators worth considering when backing the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher.
In today’s free-swinging MLB, strikeouts are okay if you’re swinging for the fences and two AL East teams adopted that mentality in 2021 more than most. The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees finished with the third and sixth-most strikeouts in the majors last year, with the Baltimore Orioles not far behind at 10th.
That mentality helped Robbie Ray lead the league in punchouts and we’re expecting Gausman to benefit from it in 2022.
The 10-year veteran is coming off three straight years of improved strikeout metrics, posting a cumulative 10.7 per nine innings over that span. The 31-year-old is coming off a career-best 227 strikeouts across 192 innings last year and could easily surpass those highs in his first year with the Blue Jays.
Gausman’s off-speed pitches are nasty, inducing a 39.7% or better whiff rate on his split-finger, changeup, and slider. AL East teams won’t stand a chance against him this year, elevating Gausman’s appeal as the strikeout leader.
Joe Musgrove Odds to Lead MLB in Strikeouts: +5000
Shockingly, you will have to scroll down to the +5000 range to find San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove.
The 29-year-old is coming off a career year in which he set highs in innings pitched, starts, and most importantly, strikeouts. I am highlighting his potential as a value play.
In 2021, Musgrove struck out 203 batters, the 15th-most in the MLB. He didn’t miss a beat to start the 2022 campaign by sending eight batters back to the dugout in his first start of the year. I’m expecting more of the same as Musgrove asserts himself as one of the best.
Musgrove can mix in six different offerings, using all of them as putaway pitches. He uses his sinker the least frequently but still had a putaway percentage of 10.7% last year. Musgrove’s curveball and slider are his favorite sit-down pitches, with 28% and 25.1% putaway ratings.
The 29-year-old has thrived since landing in San Diego and we’re anticipating his upward trajectory to continue.