MLB: Top 5/Bottom 5 Pitchers (Profitability)

by Will Rogers

We’re almost at the All-Star Break, so what I wanted to do today is examine the five most profitable as well as the five least profitable pitchers to bet on during the first half of the 2022 MLB season. 

Most Profitable

  1. Martin Perez (Texas) - 13-4 team start record (+10.6 units)

 To be clear, “team start record” is exactly what it says. It is the team’s record when that particular pitcher starts, regardless if the pitcher earned a decision or not. So the Rangers are 13-4 in Perez starts. Bet you didn’t expect to see him atop this list. Perez has a 2.72 ERA and 1.179 WHIP, so he has pitched well. Part of the reason why he tops the list is due to the fact he has a 6-1 team start record as an underdog. The Rangers have also won all eight of Perez’s starts on the road. Will this last? Last time out, he allowed a season-high six runs to Minnesota. It was Perez’s second straight start allowing multiple home runs. He did not have great numbers last season, although once again he was more effective on the road. 

2. Joe Musgrove (San Diego) - 12-3 TSR (+8.5 units)

 With the exception of a June 23rd start vs. the Phillies - where he allowed six runs - Musgrove has gone at least six innings and allowed three runs or less in every start this season. He has a 2.09 ERA and 0.929 WHIP, clearly a Cy Young worthy campaign. Like Perez, Musgrove has been great on the road where the Padres have won seven of the eight times he’s started. There was a start, May 28th vs. Pittsburgh, where the team lost as a big favorite with Musgrove on the hill. If not for that, he’d probably be #1 on this list. No reason to doubt that Musgrove won’t continue dominating in the second half, especially after he recently tossed seven shutout innings of one-hit ball against the Giants.

3. Tony Gonsolin (LA Dodgers) - 13-3 TSR (+8.0 units)

 Gonsolin has yet to drop a decision this year as he’s 11-0! The Dodgers are 8-0 when he starts at Chavez Ravine, but 2-2 on the road when he doesn’t factor into the decision. Three of the four games where Gonsolin did not receive a decision were in April. The team lost his May 22nd start vs. Philadelphia, but that’s the only blemish on the TSR since the start of May. It’s eight straight wins with Gonsolin on the mound for Dodger Blue and Gonsolin has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any start! It’s been a ridiculous season with a 1.62 ERA and 0.801 WHIP. Like Musgrove, there’s no reason to believe this won’t continue. Prior to July, Gonsolin hadn’t gone longer than six innings in a start, but he’s gone 14 ⅔ in two starts this month and allowed only three runs.

4. Jameson Taillon (NY Yankees) - 13-4 TSR (+8.0 units)

 Like Gonsolin, because of the team he pitches for, Taillon is rarely going to be an underdog. But the Yankees have won all three times they’ve been a dog with Taillon starting. (Conversely, Gonsolin has yet to be priced as an underdog in ANY start). Taillon is the only pitcher in the top five with an ERA north of 3.00 (his is 4.01). While the WHIP is still solid (1.166), there is reason for concern here. After allowing six runs Sunday night to Boston, in just five innings, Taillon has a 6.81 ERA and 1.598 WHIP over his previous seven starts. There’s been zero quality starts in that stretch and I think it’s pretty lucky that the team has still managed to go 5-2. Taillon has allowed five or more runs in three of his last four starts. The Yankees are 0-2 when he pitches in the month of July with him serving up five home runs. One of the losses was to Pittsburgh. Recent form suggests Taillon is likely to drop off this list.

5. Logan Gilbert (Seattle) - 13-5 TSR (+7.9 units)

 The Mariners are now 29-13 since the start of last season when Gilbert is on the mound. His ERA was not all that impressive in 2021 (4.68). His WHIP has remained pretty consistent over the two year stretch, but the ERA is down almost two full points this year. Gilbert has only eight quality starts in 18 tries. He has a 7-2 TSR as an underdog though, which helps explain why he’s on this list. Five of his six starts in June came against division opponents. Three times in the last four starts, Gilbert has given up two home runs. He’s another one I can see falling off the list.

Least Profitable 

  1. Joan Adon (Washington) - 1-13 TSR (-12.3 units)

 Oh my. Adon has made just one start since June 17th and true to form it was not good as he allowed four runs in four innings and the Nationals lost. The one time the Nats won an Adon start was back in April. His numbers are exceptionally poor. Following his last start, manager Dave Martinez had this to say. "He's got great stuff. "We just have to continue to work with him on his command." Martinez also indicated that Adon's next scheduled turn in the rotation is to be determined. The only way Adon gets off this list is if he’s removed from the rotation permanently.

2. Frankie Montas (Oakland) - 3-14 TSR (-12.0 units)

 Okay. This one is not fair. Montas has a 3.17 ERA and 1.066 WHIP, better numbers than Taillon, who is on the other list. The problem for Montas is that he receives - on average - some of the worst run support in all of baseball. He has 10 quality starts. But the A’s pathetic offense (last in many categories) has scored no more than three runs in 12 of his last 13 outings. Only three times in those 13 outings have they scored more than one run! Note Montas hasn’t pitched since July 3rd when he had to leave with tightness in the back of his throwing shoulder. He may not pitch again before the Break. Hopefully, he’s healthy in time for the start of the second half of the season. Because despite the A’s being a bad team, Montas should start to pick up some wins.

3. Dane Dunning (Texas) - 4-14 TSR (-10.3 units)

 The last time that the Rangers won a game Dunning started was May 18th. His only win this year came April 30th. The team is 0-10 his last 10 starts, even though Dunning hasn’t received a decision in more than half of those. His team start record on the road is 0-9 with a 5.52 ERA and 1.686 WHIP. He just allowed four runs in what was his shortest start to date, on Sunday. The numbers at home are pretty decent. A major reason why Dunning is on this list is that he has an 0-8 TSR as a favorite. That’s unusual. If he can get some more favorable matchups at home, the results should improve.

4. Yusei Kikuchi (Toronto) - 5-11 TSR (-10.1 units)

 The only three quality starts the Blue Jays have gotten from Kikuchi thus far all came at home. They are 1-7 when he starts on the road, thanks to a 5.93 ERA and 2.049 WHIP. What’s a real concern is that Kikuchi has gone four innings or less in five of the last six starts. He has a 2-6 TSR when favored. Toronto is a good team that can score, so Kikuchi really has no one to blame but himself.

5. Pat Corbin (Washington) - 4-14 TSR (-9.3 units)

 With two of the least five profitable pitchers among their ranks, you can see why it’s been such a terrible season in D.C. The numbers are bad with Corbin, though obviously not as bad as Adon. Corbin will remain in the rotation barring injury and recently he has shown signs of a turnaround with two of his last three starts being quality. He even had 12 strikeouts vs. Pittsburgh. Seemingly like everyone else on this list, Corbin has been worse on the road. 

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