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2022 MLB Futures Odds, Betting Picks: Expert Player Prop Predictions Ahead of Opening Day

2022 MLB Futures Odds, Betting Picks: Expert Player Prop Predictions Ahead of Opening Day article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Rafael Devers, Wander Franco and Shane Bieber.

In addition to MLB win totals, divisional odds, World Series odds and player awards futures, I also bet on statistical category leaders before any MLB season.

Generally, these markets encompass wins, strikeouts and saves for pitchers, and home runs, runs scored, runs batted in, steals and hits for batters.

Additionally, these bets are all longshots relative to the odds for team futures. As a result, your risk profile should be significantly smaller.

For example, I have placed 23 World Series, divisional bets or win total wagers for the 2022 season — and I have risked more than 32 units on those wagers (an average risk of 1.39 units per wager).

Conversely, I have provided 29 player props below but only risked around three and a half units, in total, across those bets (an average risk of 0.12 units per wager).

Below, I’ll provide my 2022 projections for these statistics, walk you through each of those categories, and tell you where I’m placing my money for 2022.

Most Wins

Here are my projected pitching wins leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at BetRivers:

In any stat leader market, I’m looking to identify players near the top of the projection leaderboard who aren’t correctly bucketed — on the odds board — relative to their projection peers.

For example, Shane Bieber (+2500) and Max Fried (+2500) stand out on the list above, and both pitchers make fairly obvious wagers in this market.

Those pitchers should both be closer to +1200 than more than double that price since there are multiple players far shorter in odds like Walker Buehler (+700), Max Scherzer (+850), and Zack Wheeler (+850) — all of whom I project for the same or fewer wins than both Bieber and Fried in 2022.

Creating the projection should be the most challenging part of my process. After comparing the statistical leaderboard to the odds board, identifying who to bet on should be reasonably obvious — more often than not.

However, digging a bit deeper into performance data, a pitcher like Framber Valdez (MLB-leading 70.3% groundball rate), who pitches deep into games and earns a high percentage of decisions, seems a worthy dart throw — despite his listed odds seemingly aligning with the projections.

Valdez interests me far more than a similarly priced pitcher like Aaron Nola, who lasts fewer than six innings per start and plays for a team expected to finish with seven fewer wins than Valdez’s.

The odds for Julio Urías also seem a bit elevated — particularly concerning the odds of his teammate, Buehler, the Dodgers’ overall team quality (projected 102 wins), and his leading this category in 2021.

Dylan Cease (+4000) could provide value relative to his similarly-projected White Sox teammates. However, I prefer Cease in the strikeout market below, and I also bet the Under on Chicago’s win total.

Most Wins Bets

  • Shane Bieber (+2500, 0.1 unit) at BetRivers
  • Max Fried (+2500, 0.1u) at BetRivers
  • Julio Urias (+2200, 0.1u) at DraftKings
  • Framber Valdez (+2500, 0.1u) at BetRivers

Most Strikeouts

Here are my projected pitching strikeout leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at BetMGM:

At a surface level, nobody, in particular, stands out.

Perhaps 2021’s strikeout king, Robbie Ray, should be closer to +700 than +800. Still, I’m not interested in betting any season-long player prop below +1000.

I had to dig deeper to find value in this category, and I ultimately landed on Cease, who led MLB in strikeout rate (34.6%) over the final four months of the 2021 season (31.9% season-long mark).

Dylan Cease recorded his seventh career double-digit strikeout game and sixth this season. pic.twitter.com/X8lgEcJYgl

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 9, 2021

Unfortunately, Cease only completed 165 2/3 innings in 32 starts last year (5.15 IP per start) due to consistently high pitch counts due to his strikeout and walk numbers.

Suppose the hard-throwing righty can reduce his walk rate and improve overall efficiency in 2022. In that case, he could undoubtedly threaten the strikeout title and ascend to awards contention on volume alone.

However, even if Cease can maintain that 34.6% strikeout rate for an entire season, without increasing his efficiency, he should finish with around 245 strikeouts, just below the 2021 leader (248).

Most Strikeouts Bets

  • Dylan Cease (+1800, 0.25u) at BetMGM

Most Saves

Here are my projected saves leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at Caesars:

Josh Hader’s odds could be a bit shorter. The southpaw relief ace has more saves (84) since 2019 than any other pitcher in baseball.

If I target a longshot in this category, Jordan Romano (+2000) is my selection. However, the Jays’ closer sprained his ankle while walking his dog this week.

Toronto expects Romano to be ready for Opening Day. I’ll wait to make sure that Romano is healthy before locking in a wager; no sense in betting on a player who could miss time at the start of a season.

Additionally, I set my projections before the Craig Kimbrel trade on Friday, which could skew the odds board from top to bottom.

Most Saves Bets

  • Jordan Romano (+2000, 0.25u) at Caesars

Most Hits

Here are my projected total hits leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at Caesars:

One player I included — who stood out from the overall leaderboard — is the Twins projected Opening Day DH/cleanup hitter Luis Arraez, who could find his way into the hunt with increased playing time.

Projection systems have Arraez playing from 114 to 141 games in 2022, placing his total hits between 124 and 156, depending on the projection.

If Arraez plays a full slate of games, he should finish among the league leaders in hits, based on his rate of hits per plate appearance (0.27), which ranks among the top hitters in the league. The +5000 number available at BetMGM is undoubtedly worth a poke.

That said, Luis Robert (+3500) is my favorite bet in this category. The outfielder has recorded 140 hits in 124 career games and paced for 222 hits during a breakout 2021 campaign.

Ketel Marte (+2500) and Bryan Reynolds (+300) play in relative obscurity in Arizona and Pittsburgh, respectively, but are two of the most underrated hitters in baseball.

Wander Franco (+2000) is also worth a wager based on his rate stat too (0.27 hits per PA), which ranks among the league leaders.

Most Hits Bets

  • Luis Arraez (+5000, 0.1 unit) at BetMGM
  • Wander Franco (+2000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Ketel Marte (+2500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Bryan Reynolds (+3000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Luis Robert (+3500, 0.1u) at Caesars

Most Runs Scored

Here are my projected runs scored leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at Caesars:

Both Ronald Acuña Jr. (0.18) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (0.17) can keep up with the best players in terms of runs scored per plate appearance. However, neither expects to have enough playing time this season to finish atop the league in any category — and I didn’t include either player on the list.

Instead, I included some top-of-the-order hitters who project to miss playing time due to injury but figure to be healthy at the start of the season.

If any of Byron Buxton, Starling Marte or George Springer group can stay healthy and surpass playing time expectations, they could certainly lead all of MLB in runs scored while batting atop some of the more potent lineups in baseball.

In addition to his league-leading projection, Trea Turner might be playable at +1200 for the same reason. However, I’m not confident that any player will lead any statistical category 8% of the time (+1200 implies 7.7%).

I’ll consider adding a bet on Turner. For now, however, I took my chances further down the board:

Most Runs Scored Bets

  • Ozzie Albies (+2500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Byron Buxton (+3500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Jonathan India (+3500, 0.1u) at BetMGM
  • Starling Marte (+6000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • George Springer (+3000, 0.1u) at Caesars

Most Runs Batted In

Here are my projected runs batted in, or RBI leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at Caesars:

Like the runs scored section above, Tatis (0.17) and Acuña (0.15) can hang with the league leaders in RBI per plate appearance, but they won’t see enough playing time to compete for the league lead in 2022.

That said, Max Muncy’s projection might be underselling his talent level, mainly hitting in the middle of the Dodgers’ lineup. Muncy played 144 games in 2021, but only projects for 125 games in 2022.

If Muncy can utilize the new NL DH spot to stay in the lineup more frequently, he’s a viable run producer who can threaten the league lead.

At their +4000 price tags, I’m having difficulty choosing between Nick Castellanos and reigning RBI leader Salvador Perez. I’m inclined to take a stab at both veterans, both of whom should be closer to +2500 or +3000.

I also dipped further down the board with a pair of young middle-of-the-order threats in Eloy Jimenez and Kyle Tucker, who figure to progress in their 2022 campaigns, and whose average production (0.15 RBI per plate appearance) aligns with hitters much higher up the projection rankings.

RBI might be the most challenging statistic to predict, and I would primarily target longshot prices in this market.

Most Runs Batted In Bets

  • Nick Castellanos (+4000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Eloy Jimenez (+4000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Max Muncy (+5000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Salvador Perez (+4000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Kyle Tucker (+7500, 0.1u) at Caesars

Most Stolen Bases

Here are my projected stolen base, or SB leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at BetMGM:

Adalberto Mondesi projects to lead MLB in steals (39) with fewer than 500 plate appearances, which explains why his odds are short. Essentially, you’re betting on health. His odds of+275 (26.7% implied) may not be a bad price considering the number was closer to even money last season.

Myles Straw (+1500 at DraftKings) is the one value play that I prefer in this market. He’s one of only 14 players expected to steal 0.05 bases per plate appearance or more in 2022, and one of only four expected to receive more than 300 plate appearances overall.

Straw stole 13 bases in 268 plate appearances (0.049 per plate appearance) after being traded to Cleveland last season. However, he stole eight bags over 136 PAs in September (0.059).

Straw will bat atop the Guardians’ lineup in 2022, and if he maintains that September steals rate for an entire season, he should swipe around 35 bases (26 projected), which should put him in range for the league lead.

Most Stolen Bases Bets

  • Myles Straw (+1600, 0.25u) at DraftKings

Most Home Runs

Here are my projected home run leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at FanDuel (if noted with an asterisk*, the player is unlisted at FanDuel and the odds are from Caesars):

 

The first player that should stand out is Rhys Hoskins (+7500 at Caesars), who is unlisted at FanDuel but paced for 41 home runs last season in what would have been a career year.

I initially preferred his new teammate Kyle Schwarber (+3500 at both Caesars and DraftKings) to any other prop bet when he was over +5000. 

I would still play Schwarber at current prices, but it would be a smaller investment.

Gerrit Cole allowed just 3 home runs on pitches ABOVE the zone in his career before this blast from Schwarber.#Postseason pic.twitter.com/Ma1PNjcHiV

— Inside Edge (@IE_MLB) October 6, 2021

Both Schwarber and Hoskins project closer to players listed around +3000 in average price rather than their opening odds (+7000 and +7500, respectively.)

Rafael Devers (+3000 at Caesars) is mispriced, too, as he’s bucketed with the +1500 to +2000 priced hitters on the projection board. Devers finished fourth in MLB with 45.8 expected home runs, or xHR, in 2021 (43 actual).

Salvador Perez — the only hitter to surpass 50 xHR (51.4) in 2021 — is +3000 at Caesars but half that price at other books. That +3000 is probably a fair number but lacks significant upside. I preferred the +4000 last week and wouldn’t rush to add Salvy to my card at current odds.

Similarly, Juan Soto was a speculative longshot for me at +5000, but at +3000, I would likely pass.

Franmil Reyes (+4500 at FanDuel) and Miguel Sano (+7000) will continue to show up on my home run leader card every season. Both sluggers have insane raw power — consistently ranking in the top 3% of hitters for average exit velocity — and both can hit 30 round-trippers with their eyes closed.

Still, if either Reyes or Sano makes a level jump, they have the potential to surpass 50 in one season and pace the league.

Lastly, I had to add World Series MVP Jorge Soler (+7000 at FanDuel), who led the AL with 48 home runs in 2019.

Soler had an extremely unlucky 2021 campaign (37.6 expected home runs, 30 actual) but his power metrics remained intact, and his 42 HR pace with Atlanta (17 HR in 66 combined regular season and postseason games) reveals Soler’s significant upside.

Most Home Runs Bets

  • Rafael Devers (+3000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Rhys Hoskins (+7500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Salvador Perez (+4000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Franmil Reyes (+6000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Miguel Sano (+10000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Kyle Schwarber (+5000, 0.3u) at Caesars
  • Jorge Soler (+7000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Juan Soto (+5000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
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Zerillo’s 2022 MLB Player Prop Futures

Most Hits

  • Luis Arraez (+5000, 0.1 unit) at BetMGM
  • Wander Franco (+2000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Ketel Marte (+2500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Bryan Reynolds (+3000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Luis Robert (+3500, 0.1u) at Caesars

Most Home Runs

  • Rafael Devers (+3000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Rhys Hoskins (+7500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Salvador Perez (+4000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Franmil Reyes (+6000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Miguel Sano (+10000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Kyle Schwarber (+5000, 0.3u) at Caesars
  • Jorge Soler (+7000, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Juan Soto (+5000, 0.1u) at FanDuel

Most Runs Batted In

  • Nick Castellanos (+4000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Eloy Jimenez (+4000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Max Muncy (+5000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Salvador Perez (+4000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Kyle Tucker (+7500, 0.1u) at Caesars

Most Runs Scored

  • Ozzie Albies (+2500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Byron Buxton (+3500, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • Jonathan India (+3500, 0.1u) at BetMGM
  • Starling Marte (+6000, 0.1u) at Caesars
  • George Springer (+3000, 0.1u) at Caesars

Most Stolen Bases

  • Myles Straw (+1600, 0.25u) at DraftKings

Most Strikeouts

  • Dylan Cease (+1800, 0.25u) at BetMGM

Most Saves

  • Jordan Romano (+2000, 0.25u) at Caesars

Most Wins

  • Shane Bieber (+2500, 0.1u) at Bet Rivers
  • Max Fried (+2500, 0.1u) at Bet Rivers
  • Julio Urias (+2200, 0.1u) at DraftKings
  • Framber Valdez (+2500, 0.1u) at Bet Rivers

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