Home News MLB award bets ahead of All-Star Break: Blake Snell, Gunnar Henderson

MLB award bets ahead of All-Star Break: Blake Snell, Gunnar Henderson

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We’ve reached the halfway point of the MLB season, the All-Star Break is two weeks away and I couldn’t resist throwing a few coins on these two longer-shot futures.

MLB player awards odds

NL Cy Young: Blake Snell (25/1, FanDuel)

Padres pitcher Blake Snell’s stuff has improved substantially in recent starts.

He leads all qualified pitchers in strikeout rate (49.5 percent), called strike plus whiff rate (39.9 percent), and strikeout minus walk rate (44 percent) over the past three weeks.

Snell has made four consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts, amassing 25 innings while allowing only three earned runs.

Three of those starts came on the road.

Blake Snell’s strikeout rate is among the league’s best.
Getty Images

The velocity on his fastball is the highest it’s been all season (96 mph), and the swinging-strike rates on his secondaries are sky-high (specifically on his curveball).

He also boasts a solid batted-ball profile, with a 50 percent ground-ball rate and a sub-.200 expected wOBA allowed during the hot streak.

Snell has been the best pitcher in baseball over the past few weeks, and I think he can work himself back into a wide-open Cy Young race.

The current favorites for NL Cy Young include Zac Gallen, Clayton Kershaw, Spencer Strider, Logan Webb, Zack Wheeler and Marcus Stroman.

I could poke holes in every single one of those cases, especially Kershaw’s (he hasn’t pitched more than 126 innings since 2019), Strider’s (horrifically poor batted-ball profile), and Stroman’s (heavy negative regression looms).

Snell reminds me of 2021 American League Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, who caught fire midseason and ended up on top of a mediocre race.

If Snell keeps up this pace, he should surpass everyone in a mediocre field. It’s a big “if” but well worth a wager at the current price.

AL Rookie: Gunnar Henderson (+500, BetRivers)

Josh Jung and Masataka Yoshida have been the season-long favorites for the AL Rookie of the Year award.

However, a third rookie hitter, former No. 1 overall prospect Gunnar Henderson of the Baltimore Orioles, has established himself as a true contender.

Henderson is in the middle of a monster breakout campaign.

Gunnar smacked six home runs and posted a .994 OPS in June. He’s hitting the ball harder and pulling the ball more, leading to more damage done.

In fact, among the Jung-Yoshida-Henderson trio, Gunnar has the highest barrel rate (17.6 percent), hard-hit rate (57 percent) and expected wOBA (.390) over the past month.

Gunnar Henderson is a budding star in the MLB.
Gunnar Henderson is a budding star in the MLB.
Getty Images

Henderson's slow start is the only thing keeping him from the AL Rookie of the Year award.
Henderson’s slow start is the only thing keeping him from the AL Rookie of the Year award.
Getty Images

Henderson struggled to start the season, and the main culprit was the strikeout.

But Gunnar had trouble with whiffs every time he jumped a level in the minor leagues before ultimately fixing the problem after adjusting to higher-level pitching.

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Surprise, surprise. It’s happening again. Henderson has begun to curb his whiff rates and make more contact as the season has progressed.

Strikeouts are the only thing holding Henderson from being the best rookie hitter in the American League. So, if this trend continues, Gunnar should pummel his way to an AL Rookie of the Year trophy.

Henderson currently has the third-shortest odds to win the trophy, but he’s trending toward becoming the favorite.

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