MLB Expert Survey: 2023 MLB Futures Picks and Props

Baseball season is right around the corner! It’s time to take a look at some futures picks and props that our MLB experts are targeting this season.

MLB Futures Expert Survey

World series winner pick?

Gneiffer07: Seattle Mariners (+2000, FanDuel) – This is a bit of a longshot, but with their great 4-man rotation with the addition of Castillo last year and a very solid bullpen and some great bats this team is very prepared for the playoffs. The Mariners should be a lock for the playoffs if Injuries don’t hit too hard and it wouldn’t suprise me to see them pick up a bat at the deadline, making this line far too low.

Stevie: Atlanta Braves (+1000 Caesars) – If Albies, Acuna, and Riley can stay healthy, this is one of the strongest lineups in baseball. Adding Sean Murphy gives them another power hitting catcher. They’ve added some platoon bench guys with Luplow and Hilliard. The top end of their rotation is great, with some talented young pitchers at the bottom end. If Strider and Shuster live up to their potential, this team has the upside to win the World Series.

Cards: If I’m going for a favorite, it would be the Mets (+800 on FanDuel). They spent a ton of money, and eventually their luck won’t run out in the postseason. As long as Scherzer and Verlander stay healthy, that offense with that 1-2 punch will be a tough out in October.

Keith: Atlanta Braves (+1000, Caesars) – Despite the losses of Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson from the team that won it all two seasons ago, the Braves have done an excellent job of maintaining the overall quality of the roster. Trade additions of Matt Olson last offseason and Sean Murphy this year, plus help from the farm system (Michael Harris, Spencer Strider, Vaughn Grissom, etc.), have the Braves poised to make yet another deep postseason run. Additionally, they should be adding another quality arm in Mike Soroka after an extended injury absence. They are a complete team with plenty of championship experience on the roster.

Luuch: New York Yankees (+800, FanDuel) – What a difference a year makes. It’s a shame Frankie Montas couldn’t stay healthy, but the Yankees still have one of the deepest rotations in the American League. I certainly wouldn’t want to face them in a best-of-5 of seven with Cole and free-agent acquisition Carlos Rodon leading the way. Rodon is such a massive upgrade for this staff and the bullpen has had time to get healthy. This is the year things come together and the Yanks make a deep run.

Long-shot world series pick?

Gneiffer07: Baltimore Orioles (+10000 Fanduel) The Orioles made a solid run at the playoffs last season and have a good enough core and farm system where they could make a push this season. While it’s a long shot they win the title, at 100 to 1 odds, its still a solid bet.

Stevie: San Francisco Giants (+5500 DraftKings) – The Giants are anywhere from 40/1 to 55/1 depending on the book you’re looking at. They have an underrated pitching rotation, but if they can stay healthy, they could have some big production from this staff. I think they’re a big longshot because no one knows what to expect from this lineup. There is a lot of talent in this lineup, so I like the overall upside at 55/1.

Cards: If you want a longer shot, go with the White Sox (+3500 on DraftKings). This team woefully underachieved last year and couldn’t stay healthy, but their rotation is strong from 1-5 (health pending, of course). The division is the weakest in baseball, and I don’t expect Cleveland to be as strong this year. Make the playoffs… and anything can happen.

Keith: Los Angeles Angels (+5000, DraftKings) – Shohei Ohtani. Mike Trout. It is quite shocking to have arguably the best two baseball players on the planet and not even make the playoffs, yet that has been the story in Anaheim for the past 5 seasons. Poor allocation of free agent dollars, lack of player development and a multitude of injuries are to blame. They play in a tough division with the reigning Champs, the upstart Mariners, and the suddenly free-spending Rangers. So, why is this the year? Ohtani is set to become a free agent and Mike Trout is not getting any younger. They have some quality young arms on the verge of a breakthrough, and you have to believe they will exhaust any and all resources to make a run this season. It may be their last opportunity with two historically great players.

Luuch: Milwaukee Brewers (+4000, FanDuel) – There aren’t many (if any) more talented, front-loaded starting-pitching staffs than the Brewers. Burnes and Woodruff may be the best one-two punch in the league. When Freddy Peralta is healthy, I’d take him at third turn in the rotation against anyone. The loss of Renfroe may sting a bit in the lineup, but I believe they will be in a position to buy at the trade deadline in a very winnable division. It’s always easier to shop for a hitter in July than a pitcher. If the Brewers can add one big stick in the middle of this lineup, I certainly would not want to see them in an October playoff series.

Favorite Cy Young pick?

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Gneiffer07: Spencer Strider (+1100 BetMGM) – Strider had one of the most impressive rookie seasons I’ve ever seen and had close to a 40% K rate. If he can replicate this for a full season on a very good ATL team he should end up with the Cy Young.

Stevie: Jacob deGrom (+750 BetRivers) – When healthy, deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball. Most books have him at from 500 to 550. We’re getting good value over on BetRivers. He’s battled injuries the last three seasons, so there is nothing safe about this. He posted a 42.7%, 45.1%, and 38.8% strikeout rate in those three shortened seasons. If he posts at least 175 innings this season, I think he’s better than 5/1 to win the Cy Young in the AL.

Cards: Dylan Cease (+900 on Caesars) – This goes with my long shot White Sox pick. Cease was quietly dominant at times last year, but his success was often masked by the dreadful, underperforming nature of the team around him. I’m not convinced that deGrom can stay healthy, and let’s not forget that Cease logged 227 K’s in under 200 innings last year. The competition is weaker for the AL award, too.

Keith: Shane McClanahan (+1600, FanDuel) – He was the favorite for the award last season at the All-Star break before he surpassed a career high in innings pitched, tired down the stretch, and ultimately finished sixth in voting. He posted a brilliant 36% strikeout rate, 4.8% walk rate and 1.73 ERA in the first half; but followed it up with 21.3% strikeouts, 7.6% walks and a 3.92 ERA in the second half. If McClanahan can put together a full season of results like his first half last year he could be a unanimous selection for the award.

Luuch: Shohei Ohtani (+1200, Caesars) – What if they actually take the leash off Ohtani a bit more? Ohtani finished fifth in the AL Cy Young voting last year. Despite throwing just 166 innings, he only struck out eight less hitters than any of the top-5 vote-getters. He owned an elite 2.40 FIP. Rodon moving to the AL puts a bit of a damper on his chances, but there’s a real chance Ohtani is the best per-inning pitcher in baseball this season.

Long-shot Cy Young pick?

Gneiffer07: George Kirby (+7000 Pointsbet) – Kirby looked really solid in his first season in the majors purring up a 25% K rate to go along with incredible control and a 4.1% walk rate. You’re getting massive odds on this at 70-1, but if he can make the next step this season we could see a Cy Young Caliber performance.

Stevie: Spencer Strider (+1100 BetRivers) – The top five to eight pitchers in the National League are loaded. Strider surprised a lot of people last season, but I wasn’t one of him. Looking at some of his AA stuff, the fastball/slider combo is great. The Braves have one of the best pitching coaches in baseball. If he can add a third pitch, we could see him take the next step to elite range in 2023. Not really a “longshot” but I like the value on BetRivers.
Cards: Jack Flaherty (+10000 on FD) – Sprinkle this for a dollar or two. He had one dominant season and hasn’t been healthy since. He looked very sharp in his spring debut, and the Cardinals’ chances of success this year largely hinge on whether or not he can rediscover his ace-like form from three years ago. Crazier things have happened. Sure, I’ll be a homer with this pick.

Keith: Jesus Luzardo (+15000, PointsBet) – Armed with a filthy arsenal and the advantage of a pitcher-friendly home park in Miami, Luzardo could be poised for a breakout that could put him in the conversation of top arms in the league. His formerly elite control as a prospect escaped him as he battled injuries the past few seasons, but he started to recapture it down the stretch last season. Health and durability are the biggest concerns here, but no one doubts the talent.

Luuch: Lance Lynn (+8000, FanDuel) – Lynn got off to a rocky start to begin the 2022 season, but he closed it out with a bang. Over his last 12 starts (since Aug. 1), he allowed two runs or fewer across nine of them. His “stuff” improved so much as the season went on, and my best assumption is that he felt healthier as the calendar flipped its pages. Across his first 10 starts, he logged just one game where hitters chased pitches out of the strike zone over 40% of the time. However, over his final 10 starts, he owned five games with an outside-chase rate at least that high. Additionally, for the first time across his career (via FanGraphs), Lynn implemented a cutter into his arsenal and it seems like it took him a while to figure it out (while throwing it roughly 27% of the time). Across his first 10 games of 2022, his cutter had a negative pitch value, but during the second half, his cutter only registered a negative pitch value twice. The 80/1 number hanging on FanDuel is twice the number compared to some other books. The White Sox should be fairly competitive and offer decent run support. There’s some real upside here.

MVP pick?

Gneiffer07: Mike Trout (+800 Fanduel) – Fanduel is way off compared to the other sites that all have Trout around +400-500. He is still the best player in the league with the exception of Ohtani and we are getting fairly long odds. If he can stay healthy and Ohtani can’t he will be the favorite at the end of the season.

Stevie: Ronald Acuna (+1000) / Austin Riley (+1600 FanDuel) – I think we’re going to see a big year from the Atlanta Braves, and it’s going to be from Acuna and Riley. I like throwing down on both guys, and getting the player that stays healthy for the entire season. Acuna hit 41 homeruns with 101 RBIs and 37 stolen bases in 2019 when he was fully healthy. If Acuna can play at least 150 games, I think he has massive upside and it seems like value at 10/1 on FanDuel.

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Cards: Pete Alonso (+1600 on FanDuel) – The NL race is WIDE open for the MVP award, and I don’t expect Goldschmidt to replicate his 2022 numbers. With a lot of players bunched together, home runs are what stands out… and Alonso is the one guy who could crank north of 55 bombs.

Keith: Ronald Acuna (+1000, FanDuel) – He has battled injuries the past few seasons that have prevented him from reaching his full potential, but when healthy he is one of the most talented players in the game. He has the tools and abilities to rack up counting stats like home runs and stolen bases that are highly valued by voters. The Braves status as a top contender should only help cement Acuna’s presence in the thick of the MVP race.

Luuch: Trea Turner (+1400, Caesars) – Rumor has it Turner may lead off for the Phillies. He’s coming off a strong 2022, scoring over 100 runs with 27 stolen bases and 100 RBIs. Turner has the upside at the top of this lineup and ballpark to score 120 runs, go 30 for 30 and also hit .300. How can you say no?

Long-shot MVP pick?

Gneiffer07: Pete Alonso (+1600, FanDuel) – Alonso isn’t too far out from a 56 HR season, and while the NL is strong, they don’t have any real runaway candidates like the AL with Trout, Ohtanti, and Judge. While the ballpark isn’t great for HRs, he has still managed to put up at least 37 HRs in every full season he’s been in the bigs. If he can replicate his rookie season and the Mets make the playoffs, he’ll be right in the mix for MVP.

Stevie: Kris Bryant (+10000 Multiple Books) – When looking at long shots, you need a lot to go right for them to come through. With that said, if Bryant’s back can hold up for at least 150 games, this is insane value at 100/1. He will be playing half of his games in the best hitters ballpark in baseball. His first three years in the Majors, he had a WAR above 6. It’s all about health with Bryant.

Cards: Byron Buxton (+4000 on FanDuel) – The talent has always been there. The five tool ability has always been there. He had horrible BABIP luck last year, too. Can he get some good fortune and stay healthy? If so, we could be laughing at these odds by the All Star break.

Keith: Eloy Jimenez (+10000, FanDuel) – The White Sox are coming off a wildly disappointing season in 2022. Turnover amongst the coaching staff and better injury luck could put them right back in competition for the AL Central title. Eloy has struggled to stay on the field the past few seasons, but with improved health he could be the driving force that vaults the White Sox back into contention. He has monstrous offensive upside that could put him into the MVP conversation if things break right on the south side.

Luuch: Byron Buxton (+4000, FanDuel) – Just one season. One full season of games played, and Buxton becomes a legitimate MVP candidate. Across his last 153 games played (two seasons), Buxton has 47 homers, 83 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. A rational threat to go 40-20, if he can play at least 140 games this season. If the Twins are making a run at the AL Central behind a healthy Buxton in August, these odds will increase significantly.

Rookie of the Year pick?

Stevie: I think Henderson is the clear-cut favorite in the American League. I don’t love the current value betting him. In the National League, Carroll, Walker, and Vargas are all very talented. I think it’s a coin flip if they end up getting the same amount of playing time. Ceiling wise, Elly De La Cruz has so much potential and could be an underdog if he gets the at bats. I don’t think he gets a lot of early season at bats, which makes me lean towards the other three. Right now, I’m not betting at Rookie of the Year winners.

Cards: Jordan Walker (+500 on BetMGM) – This is already steamed down from +1000, but the kid has all the looks of a big time major league hitter. If he stays healthy and makes the team out of camp, this could be a runaway.

Keith: Oscar Colas (+1800, FanDuel) – He burst up prospect boards last year in his first full season of affiliated ball after destroying the three highest levels of the minor leagues. He is a seasoned prospect from Cuba that has professional success in Japan on his resume, as well as a power profile that could grab the attention of voters. Colas has a great chance to break camp with the big club as the White Sox starting right fielder.

Luuch: Josh Jung (+1400, FanDuel) Unlike most of his peers with odds displayed next to their names, Jung has a clear path to play every day this season. Jung had a very disappointing brief stint in the Majors last season. However, he admitted that he wasn’t playing at anywhere close to full health. Jung is just two years removed from a combined season at AA/AAA levels with a .326/.398/.592 slash line. Across 153 minor-league games, Jung owned 30 homers, 118 RBIs, and a .311 batting average. I think he’s a fantastic bounce-back candidate – if his sample size in the bigs is even large enough to label him that. I mean, Royce Lewis has half his odds on some books and he’s not supposed to play until the middle of summer! My hot take is that Jung launches 25 bombs in the Texas heat and wins the AL rookie hardware this season.

MLB Team win total you’re targeting?

Gneiffer07: Seattle Mariners over 87.5 games won (+100 Pointsbet) – The Mariners put up 90 wins last season and now they have Castillo for a full season. Their lineup is similar to last season with the exception of of Hernandez replacing Hanigar, but this is a young team that is likely only going to be better.

Stevie: San Francisco Giants over 81.5 Wins (+100 FanDuel) – Following up with my World Series longshot, I like the Giants upside a lot this season. At home, this team is dangerous, and if this pitching staff shows up, I like this over. They won over 82 games eight times since the start of the 2009 season, including three World Series titles. In 2021, they won 107 games, and last year they won 81 games. I think the Dodgers regress a little this season, which helps the Giants in this tough division.

Cards: White Sox OVER 82.5 (-110 on most books) – Yeah, I’ll torture myself again. If I think they’re a long shot world series contender, surely they can go 83-79 in the AL Central? Right? Year 2 of punishment ahead? Let’s hope not.

Keith: Chicago Cubs Over 76.5 (-122, FanDuel) – Homer pick alert! The Cubs surprisingly won 74 games a year ago thanks to playing in a weak division. They finished the second half of the season with a very solid 39-31 record. Free Agent additions of Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, and Jameson Taillon (among others) signal the end of yet another rebuild on the northside of Chicago. They have help waiting in the wings in the upper minors as well in the form of Matt Mervis, Brennen Davis and several pitching prospects. The rest of the division did little to improve in the offseason, and the Pirates and Reds are again expected to be among the worst teams in baseball. The Cubs shouldn’t have any problem finding another 3 wins with the improved talent on the roster and an extremely soft bottom of the division.

Luuch: Baltimore Orioles Over 76.5 – The Orioles did some things to help out what was a lackluster 2022 pitching staff. First of all, they physically moved the outfield fence back. The O’s brought in Cole Irvin to eat innings and also plan on making highly-touted prospect Grayson Rodriguez a big part of their plans. Factor in a full season of Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, and I think the O’s can be a thorn in the side of the rest of the division – enough to eclipse this win total.

Favorite Szn-Long PrizePicks projection?

Stevie: Jesus Luzardo MORE THAN 155.5 Strikeouts – Last season Luzardo threw 100.1 innings, which was the most he’s thrown in his short four-year career. If he can stay healthy, he’s averaged 9.89 strikeouts per nine innings in his career. He has an above average slider and throw in the upper-90’s. He has massive strikeout upside, if he can stay healthy, he projects well over 155.5 strikeouts in my model.

Cards: Wander Franco MORE THAN 0.5 multi HR games – Have we forgotten how talented he is? I’ll bank on him getting 2 bombs in a game at least once.

Luuch: Patrick Corbin FEWER THAN 0.5 10 Strikeout Games – Corbin accomplished this once last season against an awful Pirates’ lineup. He’s averaging way less than a strikeout per inning and pitches to a ton of contact at this point of his career. Corbin posted his lowest swinging-strike rate (via FanGraphs) in 2022 since his rookie season over a decade ago. He’s a very predictable pitcher. I can’t see him getting 10 once.

Image Credit: Getty Images

About the Author

Justin Carlucci (TheLuuch)

Justin Carlucci (aka TheLuuch) is a multi-time Live Finalist and Sports Betting Championship qualifier with significant GPP wins across many sports. He has experience as an FM radio personality and over a decade of editorial experience, and he currently works full time as an Editorial and Content Specialist for RotoGrinders and ScoresAndOdds. You can catch Luuch co-hosting the RotoGrinders Food For Thought podcast with Will Priester during football season. Follow Luuch on Twitter – @ThejCarlucci