Though Opening Day as we know it isn't until March 28, the 2024 Major League Baseball regular season actually starts in less than a week with a two-game series between the Padres and Dodgers in South Korea. That's fun. Speaking of fun, let's dive in on some gambling. Specifically, I'll zero in on player props right now. For any new gamblers out there, this means picking awards and stat leaders, basically.

I'll run through each major award and some chosen stats. I'll give the top favorites, provide my play among said favorites and then pick a long-shot candidate that makes sense as well. There are so many different avenues in which to gamble these days with so many different sites having different odds and so many players available to be played, there is no way this is an exhaustive list. For example, there are odds on who ends up with the most outfield assists. If you like a play that isn't listed here, go bet it on your own.

Let's dive in. 


Favorites: Aaron Judge +600, Juan Soto +600, Julio Rodríguez +900, Yordan Alvarez +900, Corey Seager +1200

My play: Julio Rodríguez +900. I really think this is the full season where Julio puts it all together. No, he hasn't actually done that yet. When he does, it'll be an 8ish-WAR season and he'll win the hardware. 

Long-shot play(s): There are a decent number of good ones here. Mike Trout is +2200, as are Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and José Ramírez. Marcus Semien, who finished third last year, is +4000. Adolis García is +6000. 

I like Gunnar Henderson at +2000, though. He started really slowly at the plate last season and still ended up finishing eighth in MVP voting and had 6.2 WAR. The Orioles look like a playoff team again and this is Henderson's first full season. He's still only 23. He's also capable of 30+ doubles and homers with 100+ RBI and runs and 10+ triples while stealing 15 bases and playing superb defense at a premium position. There's a real chance he could win it this year. 

If +2000 doesn't count as a long shot in your book, gimme Adolis García. 

If you're interested in more, go take a look. The odds I'm looking at go all the way down to +50000 with names like Brent Rooker, Bo Naylor and Wyatt Langford


Favorites: Ronald Acuña Jr. +500, Mookie Betts +700, Shohei Ohtani +850, Freddie Freeman +900, Fernando Tatis Jr. +900

My play: Fernando Tatis Jr. +900. Through three seasons in the majors (only 273 games), Tatis hit .293/.369/.596 (160 OPS+) with 162-game averages of 33 doubles, five triples, 48 homers, 116 RBI, 125 runs, 31 steals and 7.5 WAR. He was ages 20-22. He missed all of 2022 due to shoulder and wrist injuries in addition to a PED suspension. He returned last season after having had surgery to repair both injuries and with significant rust while learning a new position in right field. He was still great, but not exceptional. He's going to explode this year. 

Long-shot play(s): I like the Bryce Harper +1200 odds, but those can't be counted as long-shot odds. Trea Turner and Austin Riley at +1800 are probably in a similar boat. Corbin Carroll at +2000 is enticing. Some of the bigger names with longer odds (Manny Machado +2900, Francisco Lindor +3000, Paul Goldschmidt +3300, Cody Bellinger +5000, Nolan Arenado +5000) aren't catching my eye right now. I actually don't think anyone below Carroll at +2000 can win. 

I'll go with Harper, but if +1200 isn't big enough, Carroll. I'm not going below that. 

If you want a real long shot to at least get within striking range, Seiya Suzuki at +10000 is my play with Oneil Cruz at +6000 being worth mention. Still, they ain't winning. 

AL Cy Young 

IMPORTANT NOTE: In light of the Cole injury, the odds for AL Cy Young have been taken off the board for the time being. As of publishing time, it's a near definite that Cole will open the season on the injured list, for how long is still up in the air. This seems to be enough for the books to keep the AL Cy Young off the board for the time being. 

The rest of this section was written before news of his injury broke. Since it's not like we can update this with a play right now, because the award is totally off the board, I'll leave my thoughts for entertainment. They are in italics, so we don't get confused. 

Favorites: Gerrit Cole +590, Framber Valdez +800, Kevin Gausman +800, Corbin Burnes +1000, Tarik Skubal +1000

My play: Gerrit Cole +590. Sometimes in the past I've caught flack for picking the "chalk" person or the easy favorite. Sure, I could stray from Cole here, but I sincerely think he's easily the best pick to win. In a blowout. The odds also say that betting $100 wins you $590, so is that really a bad bet? Wouldn't we rather win than lose? Chalk picks are only bad if they lose. Cole was the favorite last year and he won. If you avoided the favorite, you avoided winning money. 

Long-shot play(s): Cole Ragans at +1800 got my attention, but I'm not quite sure he can win. Could Justin Verlander (+4500)? Sure. Tanner Bibee at +8000 is interesting enough, much like Marcus Stroman or Chris Bassitt at the same odds. I'm having an awfully hard time convincing myself anyone below George Kirby (+1200) and Luis Castillo (+1300) can win, though. 

I'll go with Kirby at +1200. If that doesn't count, I guess Verlander at that price is always worth a little sprinkle. 

With Cole surely out of the way here, I'd probably end up taking either Gausman or Burnes. It's tough without lines, though, obviously.

NL Cy Young 

Favorites: Spencer Strider +475, Yoshinobu Yamamoto +1000, Zack Wheeler +1000, Max Fried +1200, Logan Webb +1200

My play: Logan Webb +1200. Strider is the chalk pick here and I wouldn't argue with anyone making that selection. Webb finished second in NL Cy Young voting last season as a 26 year old. The Giants had one of the worst defenses in all of baseball and it appears to be much improved this season -- specifically with Matt Chapman now manning third base. Webb will be the biggest workhorse in the league and his ERA will be sparkling. 

Long-shot play(s): Zac Gallen at +1400 and Justin Steele at +1800 round out some of the major contenders from last season. I'm sure many love Tyler Glasnow at +1800 but I just can't get past his career high in innings being 120. Given that, those odds aren't near high enough to bet on him winning Cy Young.

There are a lot more intriguing options here than on the AL side, such as Sonny Gray +3500, Eury Pérez +3500, Hunter Greene +4000 and several others. I'm going with Greene. He's 24 years old and has shown flashes of top-shelf stuff. He struck out 152 in 112 innings last year. He's also added a curve and a splitter to his repertoire this spring. He probably won't work more than, say, 160 innings this season and that makes him a long shot. Unlike Glasnow, though, his odds make a sprinkle worth it. There's enough upside here that he could sneak in with that type of workload, assuming injuries and underperformance to the top dogs. 

AL Rookie of the Year 

Favorites: Jackson Holliday +350, Evan Carter +375, Wyatt Langford +450, Junior Caminero +800, Colt Keith +950

My play: This is a ridiculous class here. A lot of seasons, one of the top three would be an obvious play. I think I lean Carter here due to his experience last year down the stretch and in the playoffs -- and how none of it even remotely phased him. Any of the five listed right there are quality plays and I wouldn't argue.

Long-shot play(s): It's so crowded toward the top that I don't find many of the names further down very exciting. Maybe Heston Kjerstad (+3000), Kyle Manzardo (+3000) or Curtis Mead (+3500)?  

Instead of trying to hit a long shot, can I encourage instead picking two of the three from Holliday, Carter and Langford and still coming out on top when one of the three wins? I suppose you could even play all three, but then the margin of victory is awfully narrow and might not be worth it if Caminero or Keith sneaks in.

NL Rookie of the Year 

Favorites: Yoshinobu Yamamoto +170, Jung Hoo Lee +700, Jackson Chourio +850, Michael Busch +1300

My play: It's Yamamoto. As noted with my Cole pick, being right is what wins money, not avoiding the favorites. Those are awfully short odds, though, so please feel free to avoid. 

Long-shot play(s): Plenty of talented names could emerge, such as Paul Skenes (+1800), Masyn Winn (+2000), Jordan Lawlar (+2200), Max Meyer (+2800) and Pete Crow-Armstrong (+3000). How about Jackson Merrill at +3500 with the Padres desperate to remain in contention without spending extra money to add players from outside the organization. He's making the switch to outfield so they can promote him.

Yeah, I'll go with Merrill as the long-shot play. 

HR leader 

Favorites: Aaron Judge +400, Matt Olson +700, Pete Alonso +800, Shohei Ohtani +900, Juan Soto +900

My play: I'm going Ohtani here. I'm sure it might confuse people to play him here but not NL MVP, but let's factor in him not pitching this season. That gives him a downgrade in MVP voting when in past seasons he's had a bonus on top of his offense. Of course, also consider that he's used to pitching in a rotation in addition to hitting while this season he only has hitting (and physical therapy) to occupy his mind. In theory, he should be more rested for his offensive performances. His career high in homers is 46. He'll set a new one and top 50 this year. 

Long-shot play(s): It's an open field with lots of fun ones. Kyle Schwarber is +1200 and Yordan Alvarez is +1300. Fernando Tatis Jr. -- my NL MVP pick! -- is +2000. Remember, he hit 42 homers in 130 games in 2021. How about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at +2000 or Austin Riley at +3000. Bryce Harper (+4000), Jorge Soler (+4500), Adolis García (+4500) and Corey Seager (+4500) could be reasonable plays. Among the longer shots, Eloy Jimenez and Spencer Torkelson at +8000. Triston Casas hit 15 homers in 180 second-half at-bats last year and is +10000. 

I'll go with Tatis. If we wanted a longer shot, Torkelson, who hit 31 bombs in his first full season last year and has enough raw power to get to 45 as he keeps learning big-league pitching. 

RBI leader 

Favorites: Pete Alonso +850, Yordan Alvarez +900, Aaron Judge +1000, Matt Olson +1000, Shohei Ohtani +1000, Juan Soto +1000

My play: Olson led the majors with 139 last year, his first with the Braves. He plays every day and hits in the middle of a ridiculous lineup. Why get cute? 

Long-shot play(s): Should I go back to the well with Fernando Tatis Jr.? He's +3000. Adolis García is going to be sitting in quite a cushy RBI spot in that loaded Rangers lineup. He's +3000 as well. Bryce Harper also has a nice RBI slot and he's +2800. 

Any of these three work. I don't want to commit, but I have to stick my neck out and play one. I'll go with García. 

Strikeouts leader 

Again, this has been taken off the board with Cole out. It'll surely come back soon, so I'll leave my original thoughts below in italics.

Favorites: Spencer Strider +190, Gerrit Cole +1200, Kevin Gausman +1200

My play: How about this one, huh? I guess we'd be idiots to stray from Strider. After all my preaching about winning and not getting cute, he's the play. 

Long-shot play(s): If Strider gets hurt (which we absolutely do not want to see happen, but the reality is injuries are part of sports, especially with pitchers in baseball), it's pretty open. Pablo López and Corbin Burnes at +2000 would be quality plays. Zack Wheeler at +2500 works. Dylan Cease at +3000 does, too. I already mentioned that I like Hunter Greene and he's +2500. He's the play here. 

If we wanted a much longer shot, how about Chris Sale at +7500? I don't think he'll have a huge workload or anything, but he struck out 218 in 147 1/3 innings in 2019. Last year, he punched out 125 in 102 2/3 innings, so he still has the kind of strikeout rate needed. He's 34, meaning he isn't overly old like Verlander (41). A full season of health with things breaking right and Sale could well win this thing.