NL Comeback Player of the Year Odds: Pitchers Make Up Top Three Contenders

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

Comeback Player of the Year awards are typically feel-good stories regardless of the sport. The NFL featured Joe Flacco winning Comeback Player of the Year for the 2023 season as he seemingly came out of no where to lead the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs. The MLB has several memorable comebacks players, such as Liam Hendriks and Cody Bellinger from last season or Justin Verlander in 2022.

Early into the 2024 MLB season, several stories are already shaping up for Comeback Player of the Year. FanDuel Sportsbook has circled several contenders for the award in the National League when looking at MLB award odds.

Which NL players are enjoying resurgent seasons and could be headed for Comeback Player of the Year?

NL Comeback Player of the Year Odds

National League Comeback Player of the Year 2024
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Chris Sale-150
Luis Severino+550
Edwin Diaz+1000
Oneil Cruz+1500
Jesse Winker+2300
Walker Buehler+2600
Joey Bart+2600
View Full Table

Chris Sale (-150)

We have a clear leader in the clubhouse for NL Comeback Player of the Year. Chris Sale earned seven consecutive All-Star appearances between 2012 to 2018. After two All-Star seasons with the Boston Red Sox in 2017 and 2018, Sale was no longer the dominant ace as his ERA finished over 4.00 in two of his last four seasons.

The Red Sox decided to move on from the veteran pitcher in the offseason, trading him to the Atlanta Braves. A change of scenery has been the perfect remedy for Sale so far.

His numbers are back to an All-Star level with a 2.22 ERA and 0.865 WHIP. He hasn't had an ERA this good since 2.11 in 2017 when he finished fourth in Cy Young voting. He's truly at an elite level right now as Sale is +1000 to win the NL Cy Young award (fifth-shortest odds).

The advanced stats continue to check out. Simply take a look at his Savant page; the 35-year-old southpaw is at least in the 79th percentile within 10 of Savant's 12 majors stats. Sale isn't in the bottom half for one of Savant's major stats.

His numbers scream resurgence across the board. Sale's skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) is down to 2.41 -- his best since 2.27 in 2018. His 31.7% strikeout percentage (K%) is the best since 35.6% in 2019. He even has some career-highs right now, including a 3.6% walk percentage (BB%).

Sale is giving the Braves his best thus far and seems well on track for his first All-Star appearance since 2018.

Luis Severino (+550)

Another starting pitcher is among the top contenders for this award. Luis Severino was one of the game's most promising up-and-coming pitchers in 2018. At only 24, Severino earned his second consecutive All-Star appearance with the New York Yankees and looked to be the next star pitcher dawning the famed pinstripes.

Severino's success with the Yanks quickly came to an end thanks to injuries. He made only one start in 2019 due to a lat strain and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020. Following the surgery, Severino missed all of the 2020 season and made only four appearances in 2021.

He hit the ground running in 2022, posting a 3.18 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. Both marks were right around his 2018 All-Star season (3.39 ERA; 1.145 WHIP). However, his success once again quickly unraveled.

Severino had a 6.65 ERA in 2023; it appeared that his best days were behind him. The Yankees did not re-sign Severino, so he elected to move to Queens, inking a one-year deal with the New York Mets.

Through nine starts, he's not quite back to his 2022 numbers, but his 3.48 ERA and 1.219 WHIP are not far off. Some numbers -- particularly in the strikeout department -- are still far off from Severino's hay day. He's in the bottom 37% of K% compared to finishing in the 79th, 82nd, and 89th percentiles in the 2022, 2018, and 2017 seasons.

While Severino has returned to being a solid starter, his numbers are nowhere close to Sale's. These numbers are not of All-Star caliber, and his 4.30 SIERA also puts some things into perspective. For comparison, Severino had a 4.78 SIERA in 2023. Has he really improved enough to warrant NL Comeback Player of the Year?

Edwin Diaz (+1000)

The top three contenders are rounded out with another pitcher, but this time it's a player from the bullpen. We are also staying with the Mets as Edwin Diaz has been an elite closer for years. He would miss the 2023 season after tearing his patellar tendon in his right knee at the World Baseball Classic.

Diaz had a promising start this season with a 0.93 ERA while opponents hit only .121 over his first 10 appearances. He finished 6 of 10 appearances while New York went 7-3 during these games. At this point, Diaz had a great shot at Comeback Player of the Year.

The last month has drastically changed Diaz's chances. In fact, Diaz to win this award is far from a good bet right now. He's in a horrible slump, carrying a 10.80 ERA over his last eight games while giving up four home runs during the span, as well. Opponents are raking against the former All-Star, hitting .314 paired with a .385 on-base percentage (OBP) during this span.

This has gotten so bad that some have even suggest that Diaz could temporarily be temporarily removed from his closing role. The Mets' star closer is probably not going anywhere, but he's far from a good bet right now to win NL Comeback Comeback Player of the Year when considering his recent struggles.

Outside of the top three contenders, Oneil Cruz has the shortest odds for this award among position players (+1500). Cruz had his 2023 season cut short by a fractured ankle and is currently carrying career-best numbers with a .250 batting average and .295 OBP. Next to Cruz, Jesse Winker (+2300), Walker Buehler (+2600), and Joey Bart (+2600) are some players to watch.

The NL Comeback Player of the Year is Sale's award to lose right now. He's back to being an ace and is contending for the NL Cy Young. Will anyone catch Sale in this category?

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