“A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.” I actually wrote that line for Aaron Sorkin. Just don’t ask him about it. I also know Justin Timberlake. It’s not a big deal.
Anyway, the MLB futures market is alive and well on the DraftKings Sportsbook and while there’s several big names sitting atop the odds for each and every award and accolade, there’s nothing that’s more exciting than backing a long shot. That’s what we’re here to do today.
All of the following bets are at least +3000 at the time of writing. All of the fun is yours to enjoy for free.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
American League MVP
Key Stat: 10.5 fWAR
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: MVP is a narrative based award. It’s literally voted on by writers. Their whole job is storytelling. So, coming into 2023, who could possibly have a better narrative at season’s end than Correa? After an offseason rollercoaster where two teams sent him to the curb, Correa surprisingly returned to the Twins. I can only assume that a fierce competitor like Correa is champing at the bit to show the Giants and Mets the error of their ways.
Still, this is obviously about more than revenge. Correa is simply an exceedingly good player that happens to play a premium position. Because of this, the 28-year-old has posted a 10.5 fWAR since the beginning of 2021 — the fourth-best mark in the American League. In fact, that figure only trails the likes of Aaron Judge, Jose Ramirez and Jose Altuve. Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs season-long projections favor Minnesota to win the AL Central. If the Twins can pull that off with a healthy Correa, all the elements are in place for a storybook and award-winning ending.
Key Stat: 33.2% strikeout rate
The obvious knock on Javier competing for a counting-based honor like this is volume. The right-hander has never started more than 25 games in a single season and he’s never managed to throw even 150.0 innings in a calendar year (not including playoffs). However, a big reason for Javier’s usage in 2022 was the Astros’ bevy of alternate rotation options. That’s not the case in 2023. Not only is Justin Verlander now a member of the Mets, but Lance McCullers Jr. is set to begin the season on the IL due to an elbow issue. Javier’s path to 30-plus starts is unabated.
Here’s more good news: Javier’s stuff is absolute filth. Among the 140 pitchers to throw at least 100.0 innings in 2022, Javier’s 33.2% strikeout rate was third in baseball, tied with some guy named Shohei Ohtani. There’s a legitimate case to be made that Javier’s slider belongs on the short list of “dirtiest pitches in MLB” as the RHP generated an eye-popping 39.4% whiff rate on the offering last season. Honestly, the fact that Javier has the same odds as Nick Lodolo (+3500) for this future is a crime.
Key Stat: 1,387 plate appearances
It’s telling that Bichette is paying 40/1 to lead the league in RBI, but 20/1 to lead the league in runs scored. In reality, it all comes down to where you think Bichette will end up slotting into the Blue Jays’ batting order on a consistent basis. For a majority of last season, Bichette hit in the two-spot, in front of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and behind George Springer. However, he did slide down the order in the second-half of the campaign, and found a huge level of success hitting out of the clean-up role. Will he stay there? Will Toronto opt to break up their trio of RHBs with the newly acquired Daulton Varsho or Brandon Belt? It’s all on the table.
In general, though, Bichette is a solid man to get behind in any sort of counting-based statistical future because he simply never leaves the field. To wit, Bichette has played in 318 of a possible 324 games since the beginning of 2021, sitting third in the American League in plate appearances within that span (1,387). Bichette was also eighth in the AL in batted ball events in 2022 (499), while he ranks eighth in the AL in RBI the past two seasons (195). When you factor in track record and the likelihood that Toronto sports another top-third offense in 2023, Bichette’s odds start feeling way, way too long.
Key Stat: 97.2 projected wins
This one we can keep pretty short and sweet. Saves are a dumb stat and I dislike them in principle, yet there’s generally a simple requirement in figuring out who will be in line to pick up a lot of them: A winning environment. It’s an inexact science, but at the end of the day, you can’t save a game you weren’t winning in the first place. There’s a reason the Braves led baseball in save opportunities in 2022, while the Reds the Nationals had the fewest.
That brings us to Holmes. A few late-season hiccups prevented Holmes from locking down the closer role beyond a shadow of a doubt in New York for this coming season, yet all indications are that it’s the RHP’s job to lose entering Spring Training. It makes sense. Holmes pitched to a 2.41 xERA in 2022, while only surrendering an opponent barrel in 1.2% of batters faced — the lowest qualified mark in the American League. Meanwhile, PECOTA has the Yankees to win the most games of any team this coming campaign. If Holmes thrives in April and secures his place in the bullpen, he might challenge for 40 saves. Easy.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.