2023 MLB Season Strikeout Leaders: Odds, Stats & Projections

Eddie Griffin

Wed Mar 29 2023

For the second time in his career, Gerrit Cole finished as MLB’s strikeout leader last season.

With 257 strikeouts, the New York Yankees ace finished 14 strikeouts ahead of Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers and 20 ahead of Carlos Rodon, who was with the San Francisco Giants last season but is now in the Bronx with Cole.

Will either of those three hurlers lead the league in Ks this year?

Rodon will be playing catch-up when he makes his Yankees debut, as he will begin the season on the injured list due to a muscle strain in his left forearm.

There is currently no timetable for when he will make his debut in pinstripes, but speculation is that he could miss most or all of April. That would appear to significantly affect his chances to make a push for the strikeout crown.

Ahead of the start of the new season, here’s a look at the odds who will be the MLB strikeout leader this year.

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

Odds are via FanDuel 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 (2022 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 (2022 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.

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Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.