Free MLB Predictions of Over/Under ERA Totals
Earned run average (ERA) is calculated by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched, then multiplied by nine. The FIP, xFIP, and SIERA are advanced metrics that have been adopted thus far in baseball and are viewed as more accurate ways of measuring a pitcher’s true performance, but ERA will continue to be the easier stat to watch, and is an invaluable asset right now in foretelling the pitcher’s level of productivity.
Chris Sale (Red Sox)
2018 ERA: 2.11
Chris Sale generated the best ERA of his starting pitching career last season. However, he also dealt with shoulder pains and was then limited to just 27 starts and 158 innings as a result. Sale still managed to amass some Cy Young votes. While we can only speculate if he could have taken down Blake Snell in that race with a full season, we know someone is special when they are a legitimate Cy Young contender when they throw 158 frames.
Sale became a full-time starter in 2012 since practicing in the bullpen, and later producing an ERA under 2.63 in just two of those seven seasons. It doesn’t predict well for the over, and only six eligible pitchers went under this total last year. I can expect a second consecutive season under this total with a 29 yr old Sale at his prime.
Jacob deGrom (Mets)
2018 ERA: 1.70
Jacob deGrom was impressive with that 1.70 ERA last season as he still pitched to a 1.99 FIP, and certainly deserving every bit of that ERA figure. deGrom has a 2.67 ERA for his career. He has posted an ERA less than three in each of his two seasons prior to last year’s Cy Young-winning performance. I’m going under for a 30 yr old deGrom.
Max Scherzer (Nationals)
2018 ERA: 2.53
Scherzer is like wine in that he gets better with age as the 2.53 ERA he turned in last season was the second-best stamp of his career – next to the 2.51 in 2017. “Mad Max” is arguably the best pitcher at age 34 and doesn’t seem to be wearing down even though he’s logging 200+ innings in six straight years. Very few pitchers have been able to go three straight years under the 2.89 total. Therefore, I am going to go under the total with this right-hander.
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
2018 ERA: 2.73
After being worked like a horse from the 2011 season through 2015 where he logged 227.2 innings on four occasions, Kershaw has been showing signs of depreciation, struggling with 175 innings or less in three straight seasons. Kershaw has not gone under 2.99 ERA total and he’s cleared an ERA of 2.73 or under in all in those three years. Already dealing with arm issues since early of Spring Training, and not going above this total since his 21-start rookie season, does this warrant the end? Least likely. Considering he’s been consistently under 2.99 in every season since 2008, I’m definitely taking the under on this one.
Corey Kluber (Indians)
2018 ERA: 2.89
Kluber rallied another 200-inning season with a sub-par 3.00 ERA in 2018, which is his second straight year in having those numbers. Kluber went over this total in the 2015 and 2016 seasons following his Cy Young-winning 2014 campaign but has coasted under it these two years. We saw a drop in strikeout percentage for Kluber last season while his 3.12 FIP and 3.08 xFIP both from 2018 were both around this mark. Every part here tells me there’s a 50% for over and 50% shot for under. But I’ll play it safe and pick over.
Justin Verlander (Astros)
2018 ERA: 2.52
After injuries plagued his Tigers’ term, Verlander found his form in 2017 which convinced the Astros to deal for the future Hall of Fame right-hander at the trade deadline.
Verlander would twirl a 3.36 ERA in 2017 between the Tigers and Astros that led him to a World Series, but he saved perhaps the best season of his career in 2018 when he spun a 2.52 ER and 2.78 FIP , the best numbers since his 2011 AL MVP season. Verlander will be pitching at 36 years old this season with a busy right arm. Verlander isn’t showing decline despite his age as in the Cy Young-caliber season of 2018. Posting an ERA of 3.17 at his age is going to be a bit of a challenge this time around and for that I’m going over.
Blake Snell (Rays)
2018 ERA: 1.89
Blake Snell excelled with his 1.89 ERA, 2.95 FIP and 11.01 K/9 clip besting Justin Verlander for the 2018 Cy Young Trophy in 2018. His ERA bested Verlander’s while Snell’s 21 wins was also one of the factors that got him the win. It’s noteworthy that Snell did all this after a 4.04 ERA and 4.19 FIP in 2017. His main issues are with control as he walked 3.19 batters per nine innings last season and has improved since his 4.11 ERA last year.
Snell’s propensity to walk batters could hurt his ERA, but I’m encouraged by the improvements he made in that aspect last year, and he’ll probably do the same this year. I’m going under on this one.
PICK: UNDER 3.17 (-115)
Noah Syndergaard (Mets)
2018 ERA: 3.03
Although durability has been questionable, the talent and shear physicality of Syndegaard is never shrouded with doubt. I’m not worried about his durability though. He owns a 2.93 career ERA while being plagued with injuries. I don’t see him disappointing if he stays healthy this season, but on the contrary, I see Noah as a surprising Cy Young pick.
Aaron Nola (Phillies)
2018 ERA: 2.37
The heroic season Jacob deGrom unleashed was the only thing that challenged Aaron from attaining the NL Cy Young award at 24. His success was most extraordinary to say the least, but Nola bombed a 3.59 ERA in 13 starts as a rookie and bolted a 3.54 ERA in 2017 leading up to his sparkling 2.37 ERA. He already has made 93 starts in the big leagues and has crafted a 3.35 ERA. I’m easily forgetting about regression with this young ace and I’m easily going under.
Luis Severino (Yankees)
2018 ERA: 3.39
It was two seasons for this Yankee ace in 2018 as he pitched a stout 2.31 ERA to put his name at the top of the Cy Young discussions in the first half of the season, but subsequently flopped with a 5.57 ERA across 63 second-half innings. Severino has yet to throw a single pitch all Spring Training in 2019 as he is dealing with shoulder pain that will introduce him to the injured list for the Yankees. Because of his second half in 2018 and the shoulder set-back, the easy option is over.
Carlos Carrasco (Indians)
2018 ERA: 3.38
Carrasco’s annual ERA’s are as follows: 2.55, 3.63, 3.32, 3.29, 3.38. He has been consistently around this ERA total in three of those years while he went well under in one and well over in one as well. It’s a toss-up as 31 year old Carrasco has posted a 3.33 career FIP, but with a FIP under 3.10 in each of his last two seasons. I will go under here.
Trevor Bauer (Indians)
2018 ERA: 2.21
Trevor Bauer was on route to possibly winning the Cy Young with a breakout season where he posted a 2.21 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Unfortunately it was cut short with a broken shin bone that derailed the season for him. Bauer was once a top pick that didn’t mesh in his debut and was even put in the bullpen. His 2018 season is the only year in which he has posted an ERA under 4.18. It’s a rare sight to see such a young arm lapse out. The under is clear to me like rain to sunshine.
James Paxton (Yankees)
2018 ERA: 3.76
Paxton has a big opportunity with the Yankees in 2019 despite being a late bloomer. With the Severino injury this season, Paxton is going to be leaned on to have a career-year in 2019, bringing pressure onto the 30-year-old. Paxton pitched to a 2.98 ERA in 2017, which isn’t difficult to see him go under this time around in New York.
Carlos Martinez (Cardinals)
2018 ERA: 3.11
Martinez had injuries for nearly the entire season before landing in the bullpen and making 15 appearances out of the pen last season. He isn’t even guaranteed a spot, which means he could be used as a dependable reliever in 2019. If that’s the case, I’ll look to his clean 1.47 ERA in 18.1 innings as a reliever as the signal for going under here.
Stephen Strasburg (Nationals)
2018 ERA: 3.74
Strasburg is consistent as one can be with 3.14 ERA, 2.91 FIP and a 10.57 K/9 clip. Due to being injury-prone and only hitting the 200-inning mark once in his big league career, he isn’t truly an ace. He’s just one year removed from a 2.52 ERA, and seeing plenty of positive things happening in Washington this year. Can it be any easier to go under? PICK: UNDER 3.45 (-125)
Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks)
2018 ERA: 3.21
Greinke will pitch the 2018 season at 35, but he’s been excellent over the last two seasons where he has pitched a 3.20 ERA in 2017 and a 3.21 mark in 2018. Being that he is so level headed and easily one of the most consistent starting pitchers in the league, it’s a no-brainer to go under on this one.
David Price (Red Sox)
2018 ERA: 3.58
Price is not an exciting pitcher anymore, but it’s hard to disagree with his track record. His ERA figures since the 2010 season have been consistent: 2.72, 3.49, 2.56, 3.33, 3.26, 2.45, 3.99, 3.38, 3.58. I see no reason for any loss here to staying under.