Former LSU standout pitcher Kevin Gausman has settled in as a reliable starter for the Toronto Blue Jays, and he could be in for a breakout year in 2023.
Gausman has become a seasoned veteran entering his 11th MLB season, and he appears to have gotten better with age after an inconsistent start with the Baltimore Orioles, especially in the strikeout department.
The odds say that Gausman is poised for another strong season, as he’s recorded over 200 strikeouts in each of the past two years while also cracking the top 10 in the Cy Young Award voting.
Gausman’s among the contenders to win the 2023 AL Cy Young along with leading MLB in wins and strikeouts, so let’s break down the futures odds to see if it could be worth placing a wager or two on the former LSU Tiger.
KEVIN GAUSMAN 2023 FUTURES
Odds from Caesars Sportsbook, official odds partner of bet.NOLA.com
To win the AL Cy Young: +1800
Gausman transitioned back to the American League East in 2022 after pitching in the friendly confines of San Francisco in 2021, but he didn’t miss a beat in his first season with the Blue Jays.
Gausman recorded a respectable 3.35 ERA, which ranked 11th in the American League, but his elite strikeout-to-walk rate made Cy Young voters take notice of his season, which was somewhat unlucky as evidenced by his AL-best 2.38 FIP.
FIP, short for fielding independent pitching, normally coincides with ERA, but Gausman apparently didn’t get much help from his Blue Jays teammates in the field.
There were only eight pitchers that finished above Gausman for the 2022 AL Cy Young, as was tied with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole for ninth in the voting, and the hope is that he can take another step forward in his second season in Toronto.
Gausman currently has 12th best odds to win the 2023 AL Cy Young, which appears to be a solid value considering he’s proven capable of putting up strong numbers.
To lead MLB in strikeouts: +3000
Not many pitchers in MLB have put up the kind of strikeout numbers that Gausman has, as he’s finished in the top 10 strikeouts the past two seasons.
Only six other pitchers have accomplished this feat, including Gausman’s former LSU teammate Aaron Nola, and Gausman could make the leap to the top of the chart if he can increase his innings pitched.
Gausman has yet to throw 200 innings in a season, but his strikeouts-to-innings pitched ratio is at the elite clip necessary to top the charts, as he’s averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings in each of the past four seasons.
That’s why Gausman to lead the league in strikeouts seems like a bargain at 30-to-1 considering there are 18 pitchers with lower odds to do so, as he’s got the necessary swing-and-miss stuff and had an MLB-best 7.32 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2022.
To lead MLB in wins: +2500
Gausman has never recorded more than 14 wins in a season, but that was good enough for sixth in MLB when he pitched for the Giants in 2021.
While Gausman only recorded 12 wins last season, that total is set to increase considering how strong the Blue Jays lineup is, as he should receive plenty of run support.
The red flag here though is Gausman not pitching deep enough into games since wins are tougher to come by when leaving the game in the hands of the bullpen.
There could be value here if Gausman can break through and throw more innings, but the top play for Gausman futures bettors looks to be leading the majors in strikeouts as opposed to wins.
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