While the MLB postseason is right around the corner, it is never too early to take a look at what free agents will be available this offseason. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the top starting pitchers available after the season.
1. Robbie Ray
Robbie Ray picked a fantastic season to break out for the Toronto Blue Jays. While the stuff has always been there for Ray, he finally has put it all together.
In fact, Ray has been so dominant this year that he is firmly in the mix for the AL Cy Young award. He currently has the second-best odds at +135.
On the year, Ray is 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA, 0.994 WHIP, and has struck out 212 in just 166 innings pitched. When you take into account that he had an ERA of 6.62 last season, it has been astounding what he has done for the Blue Jays this season.
His success is a big reason why Toronto is battling for a wild card spot. After going 9-1 in their last 10 games, the Blue Jays are just a half game behind the New York Yankees for the second wild card spot.
Playing for just $8 million this year, Ray is about to earn himself quite a raise this offseason.
2. Max Scherzer
Like Robbie Ray in the AL, Max Scherzer has the second-best odds of winning the Cy Young in the NL at +250 (he trails only his teammate Walker Buehler who is +140 to win the award). The 37-year-old has been outstanding, especially since being traded to the Dodgers.
While he was 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA with the Washington Nationals, Scherzer has pitched to a 5-0 record with a 1.05 ERA, 0.767 WHIP and 63 strikeouts in seven starts for the Dodgers since being traded at the deadline.
A future Hall-of-Famer, the only thing that could hurt his earning potential this offseason is his age, but he will still be in high demand.
He is in the final year of a seven year, $191.4 million contract. While he obviously won’t get seven years, it won’t be shocking to see him sign at an even higher average annual value.
3. Kevin Gausman
Kevin Gausman bet on himself last offseason, and he won. Signing the one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants, Gausman is about to get a much bigger payday this offseason.
He currently sits with the sixth-best odds of winning the NL Cy Young, but he has been a pivotal part of a Giants’ rotation that ranks second in ERA (3.28).
This season, Gausman is 13-5 with a 2.58 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and has struck out 192 batters in 164 innings.
San Francisco currently has a 2.5-game lead in the NL West over the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they are -125 to win the division currently.
4. Carlos Rodon
Like the three pitchers before him on this list, Carlos Rodon is on the short list of favorites to win a Cy Young award. He is currently +1400 to win the AL Cy Young, which puts him with the fourth-best odds.
Unfortunately, the biggest issue for Rodon in his career has been injuries, and they may once again hamper his market this offseason. He is currently on the injured list with shoulder fatigue, but he has been an ace when healthy.
In 21 games, he is 11-5 with a 2.41 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, and has struck out 168 in 119.2 innings.
That performance has helped the Chicago White Sox to a 80-60 record, 10 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. Chicago is currently +700 to win the World Series this year.
Again, the injuries may limit his contract compared to some of the others, but still expect someone to sign him to a pretty lucrative deal this offseason. When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw has shown he can be one of the best in the game.
5. Marcus Stroman
There is a bit of a dropoff in productivity after the first four, but Marcus Stroman has quietly been solid all season. While he currently has a losing record at 9-12, his other stats have shown he has been much better than the record.
In 29 starts, he has a 2.93 ERA, 1.149 WHIP and has struck out 136 in 156.2 innings. With both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard on the injured list for the New York Mets, Stroman has certainly had to pick up the slack.
At 30-years-old, he is still young enough to get a sizable long-term deal this offseason. Unfortunately, the Mets are having a tough time in their chase for a postseason spot as they are 4.5 games back, but it certainly has not been because of Stroman.