Money-Making MLB Starting Pitchers

We are just a couple of weeks into the 2024 MLB season, but it’s never too early to start recognizing potential storylines that could have huge impacts on the betting results. One of the best nuggets to find early in any baseball season is the starting pitchers that fit the bill of potential “Big Money Performers.” Over the last three seasons, there have been a total of 29 different pitchers that have wound up producing greater than +9.0 units of profit for backers, which has amounted to a Return on Investment of at least 27.5% in all cases. Clearly, finding these pitchers of note early is a key to lasting success. With that said, I am going to perform an exercise I like to call “Shared Characteristics” to find out which starters in 2024 are exhibiting signs of being that go-to guy for bettors.

Some of you may recognize this methodology I am employing, as I use it often throughout the course of a calendar year for the various sports, most recently in college basketball, where Connecticut’s run to the title didn’t come as a surprise to those who saw their name atop my POTENTIAL CHAMPIONS QUALIFIERS CHART for their resume heading into the tournament (for the second straight year mind you). In that study, I used 17 different qualifying characteristics for gauging the teams. For this one, it is a bit more rudimentary, as I only have six qualifiers, but as I indicated earlier, catching these pitchers early is the key to success. In analyzing the results of the first two weeks of the ’24 campaign, I was able to pinpoint 15 pitchers that met all of the six criteria and a bunch of others that met five of the six qualifications.


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Let’s get into the specific criteria and the pitchers best meeting it right now.

Six Shared Characteristics of Big Money Pitchers Over the Last Three Seasons

Again, there were 29 pitchers over the last three seasons who produced in excess of +9.0 units of profit for backers. In looking back at their first three starts of those seasons, their performances met these criteria. Note…in general, I like to utilize about a 70-75% qualifiers rate for setting my benchmarks. There are a couple of the benchmarks that fall below that in this study.

  • 23 of the 29 Big Money Pitchers (BMPs) in 2021-2023 won a start as an underdog in their first three outings.
  • 21 of the 29 Big Money Pitchers’ teams won at least two of their first three starts.
  • 22 of the 29 BMPs averaged at least 4-2/3 innings per start in their first three outings.
  • 21 of the 29 BMPs had an ERA of less than 4.25 after their first three starts.
  • 19 of the 29 BMPs have a WHIP of less than 1.350 after three outings.
  • 22 of the 29 BMPs had a strikeout rate of at least 7.0 per 9 innings in their first three starts.

Taking an overall look at these qualifications, you get a good idea of pitchers who are off to good starts statistically. They are reliable enough to go deeper into games, they keep opposing teams off the bases and from scoring, they strike out hitters at a good rate, and they show that they are capable of carrying their teams to wins when not expected. Those are all characteristics of pitchers capable of producing big profits over the course of a six-month season.

Using these key six criteria, there are currently 15 pitchers who fit the bill of being a Potential Big Money Pitcher in 2024. That is a lot bigger number than the seven I discovered at this time a year ago. Here are my thoughts on each of them. At the conclusion, I will also offer up a list of potential candidates who miss out on one of the qualifications but could prove to be worthy of consideration.

By the way, when I conducted this study a year ago, of the seven BMPs I highlighted then, only two wound up in negative territory for the year, and collectively, the group won 17.9 units. The nine others worthy of consideration combined for 7.2 units of profit. Considering the entire group was about +12 units at the time, this article still produced over 13 units of profit for the rest of the season. This is a good validation of its purpose.

Potential Big Money Pitchers for 2024 (in alphabetical order)

Javier Assad (CHICAGO CUBS) – Assad has won two of his first three starts for the Cubs this season under new Manager Craig Counsell after spending last season as a spot starter/relief pitcher. He’s not the hardest thrower (low 90s) but has been effective nonetheless in the early going, keeping hitters off balance with a mix of off-speed pitches and spotting his fastball well. His best start so far was his first, six innings of shutout ball at Coors Field in Colorado. Typically, pitchers that aren’t overpowering and dominant don’t get priced as high, which gives Assad a reasonable chance to be a profitable pitcher to back for the Cubs this season.

Cody Bradford (TEXAS) – Bradford has been an early season surprise for the defending World Champions, as he came off a rather ugly 2023 campaign. He has won his first three starts for the Rangers in 2024 and boasts a 1.40 ERA. This has given him a chance to stick in the rotation as he is only there due to injuries. The left-hander has a big sweeping curveball and typically only reaches about 90 MPH on the gun, so this is another pitcher that you won’t be seeing -200 lines behind. Opponents are hitting just .145 against him so far while scoring two runs per game.

Reid Detmers (LA ANGELS) – If three-game stats are any indications, Detmers seems to have made a quantum leap from 2023 to 2024, as he has built an impressive 1.04 ERA in his first three starts while striking out 26 hitters in 17-1/3 innings. Perhaps he showed signs of a breakout in the latter half of 2023, but up until then, his numbers were modest at best. He is a left-hander also not known for being overpowering, but can be deceptive in his delivery. The Angels are in dire need of pitching, and perhaps Detmers can be the one that leads the rotation this summer.

Nathan Eovaldi (TEXAS) – Eovaldi has picked up right where he left off last fall in helping lead the Rangers to the World Series title. He was huge in the postseason for Texas, earning the win in five of his six playoff starts. He won his first two outings of 2024 and boasts a 1.014 WHIP through four outings. Eovaldi is big strong guy that can be relied upon to start 30+ games for Texas this season, assuming he avoids any type of fluke injury.

Logan Gilbert (SEATTLE) – Although he has yet to record an individual win in 2024, Gilbert has been the pitcher in two Mariners victories this season, including most recently at Toronto. He was an underdog in that game and enjoyed his best start of the young season, giving up just one run in more than seven innings of work.  He is a huge specimen at 6’6” tall and can get his fastball up into the mid-90s. He is one of a pair of Seattle starters on this list, and both could see continued success, as their team isn’t playing anywhere near its potential yet.

MacKenzie Gore (WASHINGTON) – Gore had two pedestrian seasons at San Diego and Washington before his hot start to 2024 for the Nationals. He has won two of his first three starts and comes off a brilliant outing versus Oakland in which he struck out 11 hitters in five scoreless innings. Gore is well-known for his extended high release point on his pitches, and he’s able to mix speeds on his fastball well because of it. His next start should come Friday at home versus Houston.

Max Meyer (MIAMI) – Meyer is only 6’0” 196, but he has a live arm and his fastball has been known to get up around the 100 MPH mark. His career has been accelerated forward by the unfortunate injury situation in the Marlins’ rotation. He has been effective so far for a struggling team, and even outdueled Chris Sale and the Braves in his most recent outing.

Bryce Miller (SEATTLE) – Like most of the Seattle rotation, Miller has had to be very effective to win games for his team, as the lineup is producing just a tic over three runs per game so far. In his three starts, of which the Mariners have won twice, the bats put up just 10 total runs. This is his second year in the majors, and after putting up modest numbers in 2023, he could emerge as one of the most moderately priced big-arm guys. His velocity regularly touches 100 MPH.

Frankie Montas (CINCINNATI)—Montas is well-known for throwing a nice mix of pitches and keeping hitters off-balance. Now with his fourth team in a 10-year career, perhaps Cincinnati is where he is finally able to put it all together. The Reds named him their opening-day starter, and he responded with six shutout innings versus Washington in a win. He outdueled Zach Wheeler and Philadelphia in his next start. With his lineup putting up 6.0 RPG overall thus far, Montas could benefit often down the line.

Freddy Peralta (MILWAUKEE) – With Corbin Burnes off to Baltimore and Brandon Woodruff on the DL till mid-season, Peralta now sits atop the Milwaukee rotation. With the Brewers’ offense off to an unexpectedly strong start, Peralta could put up some big numbers in 2024, and perhaps even be in the Cy Young conversation. His stuff can be nasty, and he has shown it early this season, striking out 26 hitters in just shy of 18 innings. His WHIP stands at just 0.679, and hitters are batting just .164 against him.

Martin Perez (PITTSBURGH) – Lefthander Perez had a solid two years in Texas, going 22-12 in pitching decisions for the Rangers. Now in Pittsburgh, he is one of a few key pitching additions that have made the Pirates into a legitimate threat thus far. He boasts a 1.89 ERA in his first three starts, and his team would be 3-0 in those outings had the Tigers not rallied for four runs in the ninth inning of a 5-3 decision after Perez departed following eight innings of one-run, seven strikeout ball. He is a reliable option that has gone 30+ starts in six of the last eight seasons and is always priced appetizingly.

Brady Singer (KANSAS CITY) – Speaking of surprises, the Royals are at the top of the baseball list in 2024, and a lot of the credit goes to an underrated and emerging starting pitching staff. One of the guys who has shown in the past that he can be a go-to option was Singer, who had a very nice 2022 season before regressing a year ago. So far in 2024, his team has won all three of his starts, and he has a 0.98 ERA in those outings. On top of that, he has gotten 26 runs in support. Perhaps this could be a memorable season for Singer and Kansas City.

Ranger Suarez (PHILADELPHIA) – There are obviously pitchers with bigger names and reputations in the Phillies rotation, but Suarez has been solid in a lesser publicized starting role for them the last few seasons. That can often work to a pitcher’s advantage as well, as the oddsmakers expectations aren’t nearly as high. So far in 2024, Philadelphia is unbeaten in his three starts and will look to make it four in a row on Tuesday when the left-handed Suarez takes on Colorado at home.

Spencer Turnbull (PHILADELPHIA) – Back-to-back Phillies’ starters that have led their teams to win in each of their three starts. For Turnbull though, the change of scenery seems to have been a welcomed change, as he dealt with both injuries and dreadful support while with the Tigers since 2018. Despite a respectable ERA around 4.5, Turnbull was just 12-29 in his career prior to this year. As a pretty standard fastball, curveball, and changeup pitcher, the big right-hander seems to have benefitted from being a deeper-in-the-rotation guy rather than a #1.

Trevor Williams (WASHINGTON) – Williams is on his fourth MLB team, but perhaps this is where the journey stabilizes for the journeyman. His current WHIP of 1.149 would be the best of his career, which dates back to 2016. Hitters are averaging just .214 against him in 2024, .017 better than at any other point to date. Williams relies mostly on his sinker, and if he can stay at a very effective rate of 45.2% ground balls, he can be a consistent winner for the underdog Nationals.

Other Top Candidates for Big Money Pitchers Meeting Five of the Six Characteristics:

Andrew Abbott (CINCINNATI)
Logan Allen (CLEVELAND)
Tyler Anderson (LA ANGELS)
Graham Ashcraft (CINCINNATI)
Brayan Bello (BOSTON)
Jose Berrios (TORONTO)
Paul Blackburn (OAKLAND)
Ronel Blanco (HOUSTON)
Corbin Burnes (BALTIMORE)
Aaron Civale (TAMPA BAY)
Nestor Cortes (NY YANKEES)
Garrett Crochet (CHI WHITE SOX)
Dane Dunning (TEXAS)
Bailey Falter (PITTSBURGH)
Ryan Feltner (COLORADO)
Zac Gallen (ARIZONA)
Tyler Glasnow (LA DODGERS)
Jordan Hicks (SAN FRANCISCO)
Tanner Houck (BOSTON)
Shota Imanaga (CHICAGO CUBS)
Merrill Kelly (ARIZONA)
Yusei Kikuchi (TORONTO)
Michael King (SAN DIEGO)
Zack Littell (TAMPA BAY)
Steven Matz (ST LOUIS)
Carlos Rodon (NY YANKEES)
Grayson Rodriguez (BALTIMORE)
Clarke Schmidt (NY YANKEES)
Tarik Skubal (DETROIT)
Marcus Stroman (NY YANKEES)
Garrett Whitlock (BOSTON)