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What is the formula for finding a profitable starting pitcher? It’s a complicated formula, and the stats that you might associate with a profitable pitcher don’t always apply.
Win/loss record isn’t everything. Clayton Kershaw is more profitable this year with a 6-4 record than Carlos Carrasco, who is 18-6. ERA isn’t a determining factor, as Zack Greinke comes in #9 on our list, right ahead of Madison Bumgarner and his 1.73 ERA.
Team start record isn’t even an accurate indicator, as Adam Morgan’s 7-6 TSR is not nearly as good as Gerrit Cole’s 19-9 TSR, yet Morgan is two spots above Cole on our list.
The most influential part of a profitable pitcher is the MLB Betting Line. Finding pitchers who win while being listed as the underdog or small favorites is the key. Of course, winning at a high rate trumps all.
Chris Sale is the most profitable pitcher in the league entering Tuesday night’s action, earning 10.8 units of profit this season with a 15-4 record and a 19-6 team start record. Five St. Louis victories while Wacha was listed as an underdog helped boost his overall profit numbers. It helps when you pitch for the highest run differential in the National League.
According to the Bookie pay per head services,Edinson Volquez is tied with Wacha with 10.8 units of profit. This is a surprise considering his 12-7 record. But in starts Volquez didn’t factor into the decision, his team went 7-1 for an overall 20-8 team start record. Again, five wins as underdogs contributed to that profit.
Carlos Martinez and Dallas Keuchel come in at 3 and 4, offering similar team start records. Number 5 on our list is unique, as Wandy Rodriguez has only made 15 starts this year - at least 10 start fewer than the four pitchers ahead of him.
Most Sportsbook PPH Blog believe the reason Rodriguez has been so profitable is not because of his team start record (10-5), but because he’s been listed as an underdog in 11 of those 15 starts, and six victories when listed as a +140 or higher underdog.
In addition, Jake Arrieta, Erasmo Ramirez, Nathan Eovaldi, Drew Hutchison, and Zach Greinke round out the top ten – all earning 7.9 units of profit or more.
Next week we’ll dive into the least profitable pitchers so far this season, but as a quick teaser, Grienke’s teammate Clayton Kershaw is the sixth-worse at -8.6 units.