In the not-too-recent past, handicapping an MLB game did not require much more than handicapping that day's starting pitchers. However, as analytics, enlarged bullpens and pitch limits have taken over the sport, that is no longer the case. These days, some starting pitchers aren't even asked to give their team the five innings required to get a win. Managers are using openers and the hook on starting pitchers is quicker than ever, especially early in the season as pitchers get stretched out.
However, starting pitching is still one of the main points of emphasis in the handicap of a baseball game. At this point, we're almost two months into the season and these guys are, for the most part, stretched out and pitching into the fifth or sixth inning. Which starting pitchers have been money for bettors so far?
The money makers
Starting pitchers don't always get a decision, but they're often responsible for the direction a game goes in. Sure, there are factors out of their control such as run support and strength of the bullpen, but for the most part, a starting pitcher will have a large say in any game they pitch in. These 10 pitchers have been the most profitable starting pitchers in baseball so far from a betting perspective:
Zac Gallen (Arizona, +5.98 units): Through nine starts, Zac Gallen is 4-0 with a sparkling 2.32 ERA. The Diamondbacks are 7-2 in games that Gallen starts, and bettors would be up $598 if they bet $100 in every game Gallen has started this season. Arizona is the second-worst offensive team in baseball, averaging just three runs per game, but they average 4.5 runs in games that Gallen starts.
Joe Musgrove (Padres, +5.42 units): Joe Musgrove has been tremendous for the Padres, posting a 1.86 ERA through his first nine starts. The Padres are 8-1 in games started by Musgrove this season, winning his first 8 starts before dropping his last one. However, that wasn't due to Musgrove, as he went six innings giving up just one run.
Martin Perez (Rangers, +5.12 units): Martin Perez opened the season by losing his first two starts and giving up six earned runs over just eight innings. In the eight starts since, Perez has thrown 55.1 innings and given up just four runs. Texas has won seven of those eight starts, and six in a row. On the year, the lefty has a sparkling 1.42 ERA.
Michael Wacha (Red Sox, +4.24 units): After a promising start to his career with the Cardinals, Michael Wacha has spent the last few seasons bouncing around and struggling. However, he's off to a tremendous start this year with Boston. He has a 2.43 ERA, and Boston has won six of his eight starts. It surely helps that Boston is scoring 6.26 runs per game in Wacha's starts.
David Peterson (Mets, +4.2 units): David Peterson was supposed to be an extra arm or long man in the Mets bullpen, but he's made five starts due to injuries to the likes of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. The Mets have won all five games he's started. Peterson has a solid 3.03 ERA, and the Mets are scoring an insane 8.79 runs per game in the games he's started.
Logan Webb (Giants, +4.03 units): After a breakout year and postseason in 2021, Logan Webb has started 2022 with a solid 3.52 ERA through 10 starts. The Giants are just 19-19 in games not started by Webb, but 8-2 in the games he has started. Webb has gotten tremendous run support, with the Giants scoring 8 or more runs in five of his ten starts.
Josiah Gray (Nationals, +4.0 units): One of the main pieces in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade, Gray has tremendous potential. Gray started off strong, giving up just 12 runs in his first six starts. However, he has given up 17 runs in his last four starts and his ERA has gone from 3.45 to 5.08 in the process. Nevertheless, the Nationals are 6-4 in games Gray has started this season and 12-29 in games anyone else has started.
Eric Lauer (Brewers, +3.54 units): Milwaukee has one of the best rotations in baseball, and a lot of attention goes to the likes of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta. However, Eric Lauer had a breakout season in 2021, and he's been even better in 2022, pitching to a 2.49 ERA. The Brewers are 7-2 in games Lauer has started, and their rotation is the main reason they are -400 to win the NL Central.
Jose Berrios (Blue Jays, +3.5 units): It's hard to say Jose Berrios has been good to begin the season, as he has a 5.62 ERA and has given up three runs or more in six of ten starts. However, the Blue Jays score runs for him and win games when he's on the mound. Toronto scored 5.7 runs per game in games Berrios starts, and they're 7-3 in games he has started.
Jameson Taillon (Yankees, +3.27 units): Jameson Taillon is quietly putting together a great start to his season, pitching to a 2.49 ERA through nine starts. The Yankees are 7-2 in games he has started. One of those losses was his first start of the year, and in the other loss he gave them seven innings of one run baseball.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and Covers.com