2023 MLB Season Strikeout Leaders: Odds, Stats & Projections

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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Spencer Strider Atlanta Braves MLB strikeout leader 2023


When you look through the list of pitchers who have been MLB strikeout leader, there are quite a few legends on the list.

Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Steve Carlton are the only four pitchers in MLB history with more than 4,000 career strikeouts, and all four led the league in strikeouts at least twice.

Of that quartet, Ryan, Johnson, and Carlton are among the group of hurlers with 300 or more strikeouts in a season. Johnson and Ryan each did it six times, and Carlton did it once.

Could we see a new name added to that list in 2023?

With a little over two months left in the regular season, Atlanta’s Spencer Strider is poised to make a serious run at 300 Ks.

The most recent member of that club is Gerrit Cole, who had 326 strikeouts in 2019 while pitching for the Houston Astros.

Cole led MLB in strikeouts that season, and he did so again last year. This season, he and everyone else are looking up at Strider, who has been racking up the whiffs since he was inserted into Atlanta’s rotation last season.

After recording 202 strikeouts in only 131.2 innings last year, Strider has 189 in 116.2 innings through 20 starts in 2023.

If this keeps up, Strider will set a single season record for strikeouts per nine innings.

Entering the season, he was one of the leading favorites to lead the league in strikeouts, but what he has done so far has arguably exceeded expectations.

Will it help lead to a Cy Young Award for him and a second World Series title in three seasons for the Braves? That remains to be seen, but his starts are certainly appointment television.

Who Will Lead MLB in Strikeouts in the 2023 Regular Season?

Odds are as of Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

  • Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees +550
  • Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers +800
  • Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves +800
  • Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox +1000
  • Max Scherzer, New York Mets +1000
  • Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers +1100
  • Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies +1500
  • Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels +1700
  • Shane Bieber, Cleveland Guardians +2000
  • Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins +2000
  • Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners +2700
  • Cristian Javier, Houston Astros +2700
  • Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds +3200
  • Justin Verlander, New York Mets +3500
  • Carlos Rodon, New York Yankees +3500
  • Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers +3500
  • Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays +3500
  • Luis Castillo, Seattle Mariners +4000
  • Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies +5500
  • Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks +6500
  • Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays +7000
  • Blake Snell, San Diego Padres +7000
  • Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati Reds +8000
  • Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres +10000

2023 Strikeout Projections for MLB Betting Favorites

Numbers are as of Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

ESPN (2023 MLB Fantasy Baseball Projections)

  • 1. Cole – 260
  • 2. Burnes – 247
  • 3. Cease – 242
  • 4. Nola – 229
  • 5. Ray – 222
  • 6. Woodruff – 221
  • 7. Gausman – 220
  • 8. Strider – 213
  • t9. Ohtani – 208
  • t9. McClanahan – 208

FanGraphs (ZiPS)

The official site of MLB has an explanation of what ZiPs is here.

  • 1. Cole: 224
  • 2. Cease – 217
  • 3. Burnes – 215
  • 4. Nola – 210
  • 5. Rodon – 207
  • 6. Ray – 195
  • 7. Ohtani – 193
  • 8. Bieber – 192
  • 9. Alcantara – 191
  • t10. Woodruff – 184
  • t10. Gausman – 184

FantasyPros (2023 MLB Fantasy Baseball Projections)

  • 1. Cole – 241
  • 2. Burnes – 232
  • 3. Nola – 218
  • 4. Cease – 217
  • 5. Strider – 210
  • 6. Ray – 209
  • 7. Ohtani – 204
  • 8. Bieber – 203
  • 9. Javier – 201
  • t10. McClanahan – 198
  • t10. Scherzer – 198
  • t10. Woodruff – 198

2022 MLB Strikeout Leader Picks and Best Bets

Best Bet: Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (+800)

After winning the NL Cy Young Award in 2021, Burnes was a leading candidate for most of last season.

But both he and the Brewers failed to live up to expectations over the final couple of months of the season, and he finished only seventh in the NL Cy Young voting.

Burnes finished with more strikeouts in 2022 (243) than he did in 2021 (234), which was good enough to finish second in the majors behind Cole. But he needed five more starts to hit that number, as he averaged just 10.8 Ks per nine innings last season compared to 12.6 in 2021.

Will we see Burnes bounce back in a big way in 2023? I feel confident that he will. Along with having something to prove after a disappointing season, there will likely be some extra fire after his unsuccessful salary arbitration hearing in February.

Frustration and anger can be great motivators, so we’ll see if trying to prove to the Brewers that he is worth every penny he asked for and plenty more will result in a huge season for Burnes.

Best Value Pick: Cristian Javier, Houston Astros (+2700)

After Javier went 11-9 with a 2.54 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 148.2 innings last season (30 appearances), he should be a member of the 200-strikeout club this season if no health issues arise.

Javier finished tied for 14th in strikeouts last season, and of the players level or in front of him, only three–Strider (13.9), Rodon (12.0), and Ohtani (11.9) –bettered Javier (11.7) in strikeouts per nine innings.

With Verlander making a mega-money move to the Mets, the 26-year-old righty has the chance to showcase his stuff at the front end of Houston’s rotation along with new ace Valdez. I expect him to be squarely in the mix for the strikeout crown this season (and seasons to come).

We will see the likes of Cole, Burnes, and Javier often this season, and more often than not, you will likely want to bet on them and not against them.

Speaking of MLB betting, there are several online sportsbooks that we recommend if you are interested in having some action on the action on the diamond.

Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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