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The American League is typically known as the hitter’s league. Between the higher scores and the DH, you usually think of the hitters in the AL and the tough pitchers in the NL. One of the best pitchers in the Majors is Gerrit Cole, currently the Cy Young favorite at +115. Sadly, there really is no value in that at all. He’s been great, but at basically even money, this is not worth the long-term investment of locking your money up for the next five-ish months.
I’m going to give you two pitchers, and you can tell me which you’d prefer to bet:
Pitcher A: 6 starts, 5 quality starts, 0.68 ERA, 3-2 W/L, 65 Ks, 7 BB, 1.8 WAR – Cy Young Win Bet: -125
Pitcher B: 5 starts, 3 quality starts, 0.58 ERA, 5-0 W/L, 44 Ks, 9 BB, 1.4 WAR – Cy Young Win Bet: +1200
Pretty close comparison, until you get to the win bet part, right? Pitcher A is Jacob deGrom, who obviously has a track record of keeping this going for more than 6 starts. Pitcher B is Carlos Rodon from the White Sox.
Rodon’s got the best ERA in baseball (not yet qualified because he’s thrown only 31 innings), he has five wins, and he’s had a definitive game by throwing a no-hitter already. Rodon needs to get more innings under his belt to be a real contender, but the guy can pitch. Of the four no-hitters that have been thrown already this season, his (in my opinion) was the least surprising. He’s got good stuff, though he sometimes struggles to get it all together. But, if you’re telling me that you’re getting 12-1 value on a guy who is pitching on par with deGrom even a sixth of the way through the season, I’ll take it.
Some additional options you may want to consider:
Shane Bieber is awesome. He is at +380, which seems low to me, but if you bet say $100, there are few investments that will return you 480 total after five months.
John Means has been pitching lights out and is at +1500 . He also has a no-hitter this year. I think he should be closer to 20, 25-1 than this, but I’m sure before the season, he probably wasn’t listed.
Lance Lynn has also been under the radar. He has a 1.37 ERA, and, like Rodon, he doesn’t have enough innings to qualify. Dude can pitch though, and at +1700, I’ve seen worse bets. I’d be more comfortable taking him than Means.