Strikeouts are extremely important for pitchers, especially in MLB: it’s a way to get an out without risking a batted ball that may end up inflicting some damage.
New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole knows this, perhaps better than anybody, since he is routinely among the league leaders in strikeouts since 2018, when the Houston Astros turned him into a power pitcher.
In fact, if someone is favored to win MLB’s strikeout crown in 2022, it’s Cole.
Pitchers with the best odds to lead ⚾️ in strikeouts during the 2022 regular season…
Whose odds do you like best?
— FOX Bet Live (@FOXBetLive) March 29, 2022
There Will Be Fierce Competition
Cole, however, has better odds to win the strikeout crown this year than Ray, who is ranked second according to FOX Bet Live.
They are both power pitchers with age (Scherzer) and injury (deGrom) questions, but if they pitch the full season and avoid major injuries, they could surprise Cole and Ray.
Cleveland Guardians star Shane Bieber is fifth, and Milwaukee Brewers star Corbin Burnes is sixth.
Astros right-hander Justin Verlander, coming off a serious injury, is seventh.
Cole will try to prove that he can still pitch at his best without spider tack or any other foreign substances.
Chances are he will make the necessary adjustments to overcome that obstacle and shine.
Despite some inconsistencies in 2021, he was still very good: a 3.23 ERA with a 2.92 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) are nothing to sneeze at, and those numbers earned him a second-place vote in the Cy Young race.
He is still elite, and very few pitchers can keep up with him when it comes to strikeouts.