Early in the season I always look for the hot pitchers as many times the pitchers are ahead of the hitters in the first few weeks. Here are some to consider when betting.
The first one to consider is Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees. Imagine if he can pitch until the 7th or 8th inning in every start and then they bring in Betances and Chapman. Tanaka has a 0.00 ERA, 0.48 WHIP, .285 OPS and a .098 batting average against. Watch him as he has a very good ground out to fly ratio.
Ian Kennedy of the Royals may be getting older but so far this spring he is getting better. Currently he sports a 0.00 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, .155 batting average against and a .490 OPS. He also brings a very good strikeout to walk ratio. He tends to allow fly balls but has a fast outfield at Kauffman Stadium.
The Astros have brought along Charlie Morton to help with their youngsters and he is having the best spring of his life. He has a 1.04 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .175 batting average against and a .482 OPS. Only Tanaka, Kershaw and Kennedy have a better hits allowed per 9 innings this spring.
Now we talk about one of the best pitchers in major league baseball. Clayton Kershaw isn’t showing any signs of his herniated disc issue from last season and he has put some good spring numbers. He has a 2.14 ERA, .139 batting average against, .500 OPS and a 0.71 WHIP. He has allowed four hits per nine innings.
Justin Verlander of the Tigers finds he has been just short of spectacular. HE has allowed a .187 batting with a 1.99 ERA.along with a 0.93 WHIP. In 22.2 innings he has allowed 15 hits.
The Athletics have Kendall Graveman that is tearing it up this spring. He has the 11th best ERA at 2.29, a 0.81 WHIP, .188 batting average against and a .567 OPS for 7th best. He has allowed 5 hits per 9 innings.
Reynoldo Lopez pitches for the White Sox and he has opened their eyes, especially since they traded away Chris Sale. His ERA is a bit higher than some at 3.72 but he has a 0.93 WHIP and a .197 batting average against. His issue is allowing the long ball.
Michael Wacha had a very poor year last season for the Cardinals as he struggled with injuries and many felt he couldn’t return to his old pitching ways. So far in the spring, he has been very good. He has a 3-0 record on 22 innings pitched with 5 walks and 18 strikeouts. He has a 1.09 WHIP along with a 2.05 ERA.
Madison Bumgarner is always a top pitcher along the lines of Kershaw. MadBum has shown that this spring with a solid 2.50 ERA in 18 innings in which he has allowed 13 hits. His WHIP comes in at 1.00 and had a .197 batting average against. He has fanned 18 batters and only walked five so far.
Kyle Kendrick from the Red Sox has pitched 29 innings and has a 2.17 ERA and a 3-0 record in Spring Training. He has a 1.00 WHIP and a .229 batting average against as he has walked 4 and struck out 26 batters.
Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks has walked 3 batters and fanned 17 this spring and sports a .212 batting average against. He ha a 0.93 WHIP in 18 innings.
Rafael Montero brings another arm to the loaded Mets rotation. This spring he has walked 8 and fanned 21 in 18 innings pitched. His ERA is 1.96 and he has a .209 batting average against along with a 1.20 WHIP.
Kyle Gibson can be a big relief for the pitching poor Twins as he has been good all spring. He has completed 28 innings with a 1.59 ERA and has fanned 19 while walking just 5 batters. He has a .226 batting average against and a 1.02 WHIP.
Joe Musgrove can take some of the burden that Dallas Keuchel and the Astros may feel from his poor season last year. He sports a 3-0 record and a 2.45 ERA as he has walked 6 batters and whiffed 15 along with a 1.05 WHIP and a .215 batting average against for the spring so far.
Let’s remember this is only Spring Training but the proof is in the pudding that these pitchers are looking really good. They are worth a look once the regular season starts and may warrant a bet when they get their next few starts. Bet wisely and have good bankroll management.