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Scherzer Favored to Lead MLB in Strikeouts in 2019; Over/Unders For 26 Pitchers

Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer is one of only 17 pitchers in MLB history to record 300 strikeouts in a season. Photo by Arturo Pardavila III (flickr)
  • Max Scherzer has the highest strikeout prop for the 2019 MLB season
  • Scherzer led the Majors in strikeouts each of the last three seasons
  • Which over/unders offer the best value?

Major League Baseball has set a new strikeout record in 11 consecutive seasons. Last year, hitters struck out a whopping 41,207 times, and no pitcher in baseball was responsible for more K’s than Max Scherzer.

The three-time Cy Young award winner became the 17th pitcher in MLB history to register 300 strikeouts last season, and to no one’s surprise is projected to finish with the most punch outs again in 2019.

2019 MLB Regular Season Strikeouts

Player Projection Over Odds Under Odds
Max Scherzer 273.5 -115 -115
Chris Sale 259.5 -115 -115
Jacob deGrom 250.5 -115 -115
Justin Verlander 244.5 -115 -115
Gerrit Cole 244.5 -115 -115
Carlos Carrasco 224.5 +105 -135
Patrick Corbin 215.5 +105 -135
Chris Archer 210.5 -115 -115
Aaron Nola 210.5 -115 -115
Stephen Strasburg 185.5 -115 -115

*All odds taken on 03/02/19

He’s led the Majors in strikeouts in three straight seasons, and is the only pitcher in baseball with a strikeout projection above 260 for 2019.

Max Scherzer O/U 273.5 Strikeouts

Scherzer is an elite combination of skill and durability, pitching at least 200 innings in six straight seasons, while maintaining a K/9 of at least 10.1.

His K/9 has increased in five straight seasons, culminating with a career best 12.2 last season, which ranked second behind Gerrit Cole. He struck out 29% of the batters he faced in 2018 and led the Majors with 18 double digit strikeout games.

He’s exceeded 274 strikeouts in three of the past four seasons, falling just short in 2017, due to a DL stint.

If Scherzer’s early spring training performance is any indication of things to come in 2019, he should have no problem hitting the over on his strikeout prop.

Pick: Over 273.5 (-115)

Gerrit Cole O/U 244.5 Strikeouts

Prior to 2018, Gerrit Cole averaged a strikeout per inning only once in his first five seasons. Last year, however, he had an MLB best 12.4 K/9, exceeding his previous career high for strikeouts in a season by 74.

Relying less on his fastball and more on his breaking pitches, he registered a career-high 14.1% swinging strike rate. Cole has the luxury of playing in the same division as the White Sox, baseball’s most strikeout prone team in 2018, but regression is bound to hit.

Cole didn’t all of a sudden morph into Roger Clemens, and it would be foolish to think last year’s elevated K rate is sustainable.

He likely isn’t as good as his 2018 numbers suggest, nor as mediocre as his first five seasons would lead you to believe. Cole’s true talent likely lies somewhere in the middle, which makes me want to short this high total.

Pick: Under 244.5 (-115)

Aaron Nola O/U 210.5 Strikeouts

This is a pure volume play, as Nola has recorded three straight seasons with a K/9 of at least 9.5. If he reaches the 200 inning plateau for the second straight season, he should have no problem eclipsing 210 strikeouts.

Nola has four above average pitches, including an elite curveball that forces an 18% swinging strike rate, one of the highest marks in the league.

He also boasts a 27% strikeout rate and has the luxury of pitching in the same division as the Mets and Marlins, two of the most strikeout-prone teams in the National League.

Pick: Over 210.5 (-115)

Stephen Strasburg O/U 185.5 Strikeouts

Once one of the most feared pitchers in baseball, Strasburg has battled a variety of injuries over the past several seasons, and has failed to exceed 148 innings pitched in three of the past four years.

Most recently, shoulder issues forced him to miss almost two months in 2018, and when he returned there was a noticeable drop in his velocity. His average fastball has dropped almost a full two miles per hour since 2015, and even though he remains an elite talent, he hasn’t proven that he can consistently stay healthy enough to withstand a 162 game season.

Pick: Under 185.5 (-115)

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