MLB pitchers that'll make you money at home -- and on the road

June 8, 2022 11:45 PM
USATSI_18490055

I get some of my ideas for statistical analysis from thoughts and comments from people I respect on Twitter. 

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Greg Peterson of VSiN, well-respected for his MLB and college basketball handicapping, noted that when handicapping pitchers such as Yu Darvish of the Padres, a significant premium on price should be instituted when he’s pitching at home. His performance level on the home mound is just that much greater. 

Intrigued by the insight, I figured it would be a good idea to both validate Peterson’s claim as well as find other pitchers who should be sided similarly, either because they are more effective at home or on the road.

I recall studying this same subject several years ago when Zack Greinke pitched for the Brewers. He was a Cy Young-level pitcher at Miller Park but ordinary on the road. 

As I did then, believing that this type of phenomenon is not a long-lasting trend, I set out to find the pitchers with the greatest ROI disparity between home and road starts. I then logged all the games since the start of the 2021 season and collected their stats. 

The findings are indeed interesting.

Since the start of 2021, 15 pitchers have won at least 10 units more at home than on the road, and another 13 won at least 10 units more on the road. 

Let’s go through the lists and look at some of the key stats for each pitcher. I’ve also listed each pitcher’s next expected start at each location.

15 pitchers who’ve produced at least 10 more units of profit at home

1. Kyle Gibson, Philadelphia (Difference: + 19.97 units)    

Home record (team): 15-4, + 11.2 units (Road: 6-16, -8.77 units)         

Home record (individual): 10-3 (Road: 3-7)       

Home stats: ERA: 2.64, WHIP: 0.968, Ks/9: 8.15 (Road: 4.71, 1.439, 7.5)   

Next projected home start: June 11 vs. Arizona

Next projected road start: June 16 at Washington

Gibson has been remarkably better at home than on the road over the past 41 starts, both in team results and key statistics. The difference of 0.471 on WHIP is extraordinary.

2. Yu Darvish, San Diego (Difference: + 19.74 units)         

Home record (team): 16-5, + 8.5 units (Road: 7-12, -11.24 units)         

Home record (individual): 8-5 (Road: 4-9)        

Home stats: ERA: 3.03, WHIP: 0.893, Ks/9: 10.93 (Road: 5.64, 1.353, 8.36) 

Next projected home start: June 25 vs. Philadelphia

Next projected road start: June 13 at Chicago Cubs

Peterson was indeed accurate about Darvish being a far better wagering option at home, although as you can see, Gibson’s home-road variation is slightly larger.

3. Dane Dunning, Texas (Difference: + 17 units)     

Home record (team): 11-8, + 4.5 units (Road: 2-15, -12.5 units)         

Home record (individual): 6-4 (Road: 0-9)        

Home stats: ERA: 3.22, WHIP: 1.132, Ks/9: 9.39 (Road: 5.97, 1.685, 8)      

Next projected home start: June 14 vs. Houston         

Next projected road start: June 8 at Cleveland

The Rangers have lost 15 of Dunning’s last 17 starts on the road, including the last five. To be fair, three of those five losses were by one run and Dunning received an average 2.8 runs of support in that skid. Still, the stats show he has been far more effective in Arlington.

4. Trevor Williams, N.Y. Mets (Difference: + 15.35 units)   

Home record (team): 10-0, + 10 units (Road: 3-7, -5.35 units)

Home record (individual): 4-0 (Road: 1-4)        

Home stats: ERA: 1.85, WHIP: 1.13, Ks/9: 8.51 (Road: 7.43, 1.875, 7.88) 

Next projected home start: June 16 vs. Milwaukee      

Next projected road start: June 10 at LA Angels

Although he hasn’t gone more than 6.1 innings in any of the starts, Williams’ teams have won 10 straight games at home. The last four have come with the Mets, although he has been just a spot starter filling in for injured players.

5. Ian Anderson, Atlanta (Difference: + 15.03 units)

Home record (team): 15-4, + 10.8 units (Road: 8-11, -4.23 units)         

Home record (individual): 7-2 (Road: 8-6)        

Home stats: ERA: 3.8, WHIP: 1.206, Ks/9: 8.07 (Road: 3.62, 1.294, 8.65) 

Next projected home start: June 8 vs. Pittsburgh        

Next projected road start: June 13 at Washington

Anderson’s stats are fairly similar lately at home and on the road, so it seems he has been stricken by bad luck on the road. The Braves are 5-2 in his last seven road starts.

6. Tony Gonsolin, LA Dodgers (Difference: + 14.67 units)

Home record (team): 11-1, + 9.8 units (Road: 5-6, -4.87 units)         

Home record (individual): 6-1 (Road: 3-0)        

Home stats: ERA: 1.89, WHIP: 1.053, Ks/9: 9.63 (Road: 2.64, 1.128, 9.54) 

Next projected home start: June 14 vs. LA Angels      

Next projected road start: June 8 at Chicago White Sox

In his last nine road starts, the Dodgers are just 3-6. In eight of those starts, his team scored a total of 22 runs. As you can see from the stat similarities, as well as the 3-0 individual road record, Gonsolin has probably deserved a better fate away from home.

7. German Marquez, Colorado (Difference: + 14.5 units)   

Home record (team): 18-7, + 11.1 units (Road: 6-11, -3.4 units)         

Home record (individual): 9-5 (Road: 4-11)       

Home stats: ERA: 4.49, WHIP: 1.286, Ks/9: 8.47 (Road: 5.54, 1.446, 8.55) 

Next projected home start: June 18 vs. San Diego

Next projected road start: June 12 at San Diego

Marquez was scheduled to go in San Francisco on Tuesday night, so add that result to this equation. Interestingly, including that Tuesday outing, Marquez has thrown seven more times at home than on the road since the start of last season. It has definitely helped his production, which is strange considering his home games are at Coors Field.

8. Bruce Zimmermann, Baltimore (Difference: + 12.9 units)         

Home record (team): 7-5, + 5.7 units (Road: 2-10, -7.2 units) 

Home record (individual): 3-3 (Road: 2-6)        

Home stats: ERA: 4.22, WHIP: 1.391, Ks/9: 7.09 (Road: 5.59, 1.526, 7.19) 

Next projected home start: June 19 vs. Tampa Bay    

Next projected road start: June 9 at Kansas City

Zimmerman has been a relatively steady performer at home over the last season-plus and has deserved better on the road. In his last eight starts away, he has gotten just 24 runs of support. Furthermore, his bullpen has allowed almost 40 runs in those eight road starts. 

9. Trevor Bauer, LA Dodgers (Difference: + 12.2 units)     

Home record (team): 5-1, + 2.4 units (Road: 3-8, -9.8 units)   

Home record (individual): 5-1 (Road: 3-4)        

Home stats: ERA: 2.54, WHIP: 0.923, Ks/9: 11.31 (Road: 2.62, 1.049, 11.54)

Next projected home start: TBD  

Next projected road start: TBD

Bauer has legal troubles and there is no clear timetable as to when or even if he will return.

10. Logan Webb, San Francisco (Difference: + 12.16 units)         

Home record (team): 18-1, + 17 units (Road: 12-8, + 4.84 units)         

Home record (individual): 10-0 (Road: 7-4)       

Home stats: ERA: 2.15, WHIP: 1.009, Ks/9: 9.85 (Road: 4.13, 1.189, 8.27) 

Next projected home start: June 10 vs. LA Dodgers    

Next projected road start: June 21 at Atlanta

The Giants’ only loss in Webb’s last 19 home starts came in a 2-1 decision to the Dodgers in last year’s playoffs. Webb was sharp that day, allowing just one run through seven innings. He has been average on the road but dominant at home.

11. Jesus Luzardo, Miami (Difference: + 12.11 units)        

Home record (team): 10-5, + 6.6 units (Road: 2-7, -5.51 units)         

Home record (individual): 6-5 (Road: 1-6)        

Home stats: ERA: 5.28, WHIP: 1.486, Ks/9: 9.7 (Road: 6.36, 1.512, 10.97)

Next projected home start: TBD  

Next projected road start: TBD

Luzardo is on the IL with a forearm issue. He is expected back sometime this month and is worth your backing when he pitches at home.

12. JT Brubaker, Pittsburgh (Difference: + 12.01 units)     

Home record (team): 8-8, + 0.6 units (Road: 3-16, -11.41 units)         

Home record (individual): 4-7 (Road: 1-11)       

Home stats: ERA: 4.16, WHIP: 1.221, Ks/9: 8.43 (Road: 6.09, 1.451, 10.11)

Next projected home start: June 20 vs. Chicago Cubs

Next projected road start: June 9 at Atlanta

The tide could be turning on this trend, as the Pirates are 2-2 in Brubaker’s last four road starts after losing his previous 13. Brubaker went more than a year without getting a win for his team away from home.

13. Antonio Senzatela, Colorado (Difference: + 11.3 units)

Home record (team): 12-9, + 5 units (Road: 3-12, -6.3 units)  

Home record (individual): 5-4 (Road: 1-9)        

Home stats: ERA: 3.92, WHIP: 1.368, Ks/9: 4.69 (Road: 5.66, 1.593, 6.99) 

Next projected home start: June 14 vs. Cleveland       

Next projected road start: June 8 at San Francisco

The Rockies’ struggles away from home are well-documented, so it’s not a major surprise to see two members of their rotation producing way better profits at home. What is a surprise is, like Marquez, Senzatela’s stats at Coors Field are far better.

14. Matt Manning, Detroit (Difference: + 10.8 units)

Home record (team): 7-4, + 6.3 units (Road: 2-7, -4.5 units)   

Home record (individual): 3-3 (Road: 1-4)

Home stats: ERA: 4.77, WHIP: 1.445, Ks/9: 5.1 (Road: 6.52, 1.448, 6.98) 

Next projected home start: TBD  

Next projected road start: TBD

Manning is currently on IL with a shoulder injury and has experienced some delays in his return after going just two starts in 2022.

15. Dallas Keuchel, Arizona (Difference: + 10.54 units)     

Home record (team): 12-7, + 2.4 units (Road: 6-13, -8.14 units)         

Home record (individual): 6-5 (Road: 5-9)        

Home stats: ERA: 4.78, WHIP: 1.469, Ks/9: 5.91 (Road: 6.53, 1.776, 4.58) 

Next projected home start: TBD  

Next projected road start: TBD

Keuchel was jettisoned from Chicago and picked up by the Diamondbacks, although he is expected to be at the Triple-A level for now after struggling horribly for the White Sox.

13 pitchers who’ve produced at least 10 more units of profit on road

1. Drew Smyly, Chicago Cubs (Difference: + 20.09 units) 

Road Record (Team): 14-6, + 9.39 units (Home: 3-9, -10.7 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 8-5 (Home: 3-4)       

Road Stats: ERA: 4.44, WHIP: 1.44, Ks/9: 7.43 (Home: 4.58, 1.203, 9.31)

Next projected road start: TBD    

Next projected home start: TBD  

Smyly’s situation of any of the pitchers on these lists. His stats have actually been better at home, but the won-lost records aren't even close. Smyly seems to be the ultimate case of good luck away and poor luck at home. He is currently on the IL.

2. Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati (Difference: + 18.8 units)

Road Record (Team): 15-8, + 8.6 units (Home: 9-13, -10.2 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 10-4 (Home: 5-7)     

Road Stats: ERA: 2.86, WHIP: 1.087, Ks/9: 9.86 (Home: 5.62, 1.478, 10.77)

Next projected road start: June 14 at Arizona   

Next projected home start: June 9 vs. Arizona  

It’s been a struggle for the Reds, but one thing that has gone well is Tyler Mahle’s work on the road. 

3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Toronto (Difference: + 16.75 units)         

Road Record (Team): 13-4, + 9.45 units (Home: 10-10, -7.3 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 8-4 (Home: 8-6)       

Road Stats: ERA: 3.67, WHIP: 1.125, Ks/9: 7.64 (Home: 5.21, 1.329, 7.01)

Next projected road start: TBD    

Next projected home start: TBD  

Ryu recently made four starts after coming off an IL stint but is back on the injured list.

4. Kevin Gausman, Toronto (Difference: + 16.38 units)     

Road Record (Team): 17-7, + 9.88 units (Home: 11-10, -6.5 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 11-4 (Home: 8-7)     

Road Stats: ERA: 2.23, WHIP: 1.019, Ks/9: 10.51 (Home: 3.65, 1.144, 10.59)

Next projected road start: June 16 vs. Baltimore         

Next projected home start: June 11 at Detroit   

A lot of Gausman’s numbers were accumulated in his big 2021 season with the Giants, but he has continued a trend of being more effective on the road with the Blue Jays. His road ERA, WHIP and Ks/9 are Cy Young worthy.

5. Josiah Gray, Washington (Difference: + 15.88 units)    

Road Record (Team): 8-2, + 10.38 units (Home: 4-10, -5.5 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 6-0 (Home: 2-6)       

Road Stats: ERA: 3.23, WHIP: 1.15, Ks/9: 9.7 (Home: 6.45, 1.493, 9.48)

Next projected road start: June 9 at Miami       

Next projected home start: June 14 vs. Atlanta 

Gray’s home ERA since the start of the 2021 season is about twice as high as his road ERA. He has won six consecutive decisions on the road as well. It’s time to get behind Gray and the Nationals when they are away from home, starting this Thursday perhaps.

6. Steven Matz, St. Louis (Difference: + 13.53 units)

Road Record (Team): 13-8, + 5.33 units (Home: 8-9, -8.2 units)         

Road Record (Individual): 11-5 (Home: 6-5)     

Road Stats: ERA: 4.09, WHIP: 1.243, Ks/9: 9.77 (Home: 4.46, 1.465, 8.1)

Next projected road start: TBD    

Next projected home start: TBD  

Matz experienced some shoulder trouble and hasn't started a game since May 22. He is expected back shortly and hopefully he’ll get an outing on the road to settle in.

7. Gerrit Cole, N.Y. Yankees (Difference: + 12.45 units)     

Road Record (Team): 14-8, -0.25 units (Home: 10-10, -12.7 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 13-5 (Home: 8-5)     

Road Stats: ERA: 3.34, WHIP: 1.09, Ks/9: 11.9 (Home: 3.03, 1.003, 11.83)

Next projected road start: June 9 at Minnesota 

Next projected home start: June 15 vs. Tampa Bay    

Cole’s numbers are similar at home and away, but he is a profit-eating pitcher in general, and quite possibly the highest-priced starting option anytime he takes the mound. If considering him, back him on the road where the home premium is not applied.

8. Ryan Yarbrough, Tampa Bay (Difference: + 12.25 units)         

Road Record (Team): 9-5, + 5.45 units (Home: 5-8, -6.8 units)         

Road Record (Individual): 2-2 (Home: 3-6)       

Road Stats: ERA: 5.16, WHIP: 1.32, Ks/9: 5.64 (Home: 5.8, 1.29, 7.56)

Next projected road start: TBD    

Next projected home start: TBD  

Yarbrough’s statistical numbers aren’t very good at home or on the road, but he has been a beneficiary of run support on the road. Yarbrough’s recent struggles led to a demotion to Triple-A this week.

9. Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh (Difference: + 11.5 units)         

Road Record (Team): 6-6, + 5.3 units (Home: 6-13, -6.2 units)         

Road Record (Individual): 4-5 (Home: 2-11)

Road Stats: ERA: 4.27, WHIP: 1.475, Ks/9: 9 (Home: 7.6, 1.891, 7.26)

Next projected road start: June 13 at St Louis  

Next projected home start: June 8 vs. Detroit   

On the road, Keller is a reasonable betting option. At home he’s been horrible, both in win-loss production and in key statistical measures. Be careful in choosing to back the Pirates in their Wednesday home game versus the Tigers; perhaps wait until Monday in St. Louis at a strong underdog price.

10. Joe Ryan, Minnesota (Difference: + 11.16 units)

Road Record (Team): 6-0, + 6.26 units (Home: 2-5, -4.9 units)         

Road Record (Individual): 5-0 (Home: 2-3)       

Road Stats: ERA: 1.57, WHIP: 0.786, Ks/9: 9.44 (Home: 4.29, 1.037, 9.08)

Next projected road start: TBD    

Next projected home start: TBD  

Ryan has missed a few starts while dealing with COVID-19 but seems eager to get back into the flow. He has been quite effective both at home and on the road.

11. Frankie Montas, Oakland (Difference: + 10.43 units)   

Road Record (Team): 9-9, + 1.03 units (Home: 10-16, -9.4 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 7-4 (Home: 8-11)     

Road Stats: ERA: 3.5, WHIP: 1.166, Ks/9: 9.69 (Home: 3.15, 1.1, 10.13)

Next projected road start: June 11 at Cleveland

Next projected home start: June 17 vs. Kansas City   

Montas actually posts better statistical numbers at home, not surprising considering he pitches in Oakland, but his performance levels for bettors have been far stronger on the road.

12. Logan Gilbert, Seattle (Difference: + 10.26 units

Road Record (Team): 13-5, + 11.56 units (Home: 10-7, + 1.3 units) 

Road Record (Individual): 8-3 (Home: 3-4)       

Road Stats: ERA: 3.55, WHIP: 1.1, Ks/9: 9.62 (Home: 4.09, 1.147, 9.41)

Next projected road start: June 25 at LA Angels

Next projected home start: June 10 vs. Boston 

Gilbert has enjoyed two separate streaks of his team winning six straight road games in his starts dating to the start of last season. He’s really only been slightly better in terms of the statistical measures.

13. Casey Mize, Detroit (Difference: + 10.1 units)    

Road Record (Team): 10-7, + 9.3 units (Home: 6-9, -0.8 units)         

Road Record (Individual): 4-4 (Home: 3-6)       

Road Stats: ERA: 3.51, WHIP: 1.093, Ks/9: 6.93 (Home: 4.2, 1.245, 6.75)

Next projected road start: TBD    

Next projected home start: TBD  

Mize got through just two starts this season before elbow trouble. He may be back in the rotation soon but there's no definitive time table.

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