With each passing day, we’re getting a bigger sample size and finding out more about this season. If you missed yesterday’s article with the early-season returns on the baseball, the decrease in fly ball distance and the lowered production on high-velocity contact, I’d recommend checking it out. It’s some pretty eye-opening data.
All 30 teams are slated to be in action and we’ve got one doubleheader in Cleveland now that the sun has reappeared.
As planned, the full article went behind the paywall on Monday. If you want access to this, plus Monday's NFL Draft Betting Guide and all of our premium content through July 31, you can get it for just $59 with the Summer Special. It's a tremendous value and includes today's Point Spread Weekly, where I talked about first inning betting. Subscribe now.
Cardinals/Marlins: St. Louis continued its torrid pace against lefties by scoring four runs over 4.1 innings off of Jesus Luzardo. The cardinals have a .410 wOBA against lefties and their .584 SLG leads the league. With a right-handed-heavy lineup, they could stay near the top of the league, though their park factor at Busch Stadium will suppress offense a bit.
St. Louis does have the fourth-fewest PA against RHP and they are only slugging .376 in that split. Their offensive numbers are propped up by this pace against southpaws, so offensive regression will be coming.
Diamondbacks/Nationals: Arizona scored one run over 18 innings in games started by Josiah Gray and Joan Adon in yesterday’s doubleheader. The Snakes are now batting .156/.277/.265 as a team with a .257 wOBA. They’re bad, but not this bad. They have a 13% BB%, but a 28.1% K% and have hit for no power. They’re actually 12th in average exit velocity and 20th in Hard Hit%. There will be chances to bet on this team as regression to the mean takes place.
Phillies/Rockies: Kyle Gibson’s K rampage ended in Denver, as he only struck out three. He did only allow six hits, though, so the Rockies didn’t have much success on balls in play. They also only had three hard-hit balls. Maybe Gibson’s gains are for real. I’m still highly skeptical. To this point, his Hard Hit% against is 22.2% and his average exit velo is 85.4 mph. He hasn’t been under 88 mph since 2018 and his HH% has been at least 37.7% or higher the last three seasons. He’s also faced the A’s, Marlins and Rockies, albeit at Coors Field. I’m hoping to make some money fading him soon.
Braves/Dodgers: As I mentioned yesterday, there’s a market perception about the Dodgers being “bad” (in a relative sense) against lefties. They validated it yesterday by getting shut down by Max Fried. What’s more interesting to me is that Walker Buehler only had two strikeouts and only has 11 K against six walks in 15.2 innings of work. His SwStr% is 12.2%, so that’s good enough to support a league average or better strikeout rate, but his CStr% (called strike percentage) is way down and he’s not finding the zone nearly as much. His spin rates are down quite a bit, too. I’m keeping a close eye.
Yankees/Tigers: Gerrit Cole and Tyler Alexander combined to get just eight outs, leaving the two bullpens to work a long, hard day in Motown. When games like that happen, you want to keep an eye on the future. In a vacuum, it may not be a big deal, but if a starter leaves the game early again in an upcoming game, that’s where the issues really start to mount. Fortunately, both teams had Monday off, but monitor this situation.
Blue Jays/Red Sox: Since scoring 10 runs on Opening Day, the Blue Jays have only scored 33 runs over their last 10 games. They’re still third in Hard Hit% (White Sox, Yankees) and seventh in average exit velocity, so they’re making good contact. However, they also have the third-highest GB% (Cubs, Rockies) offensively, so they’re not driving the baseball for extra-base hits. I’m not really sure what the deal is with this team, as they had the fifth-lowest GB% last season. It could just be the list of pitchers that they’ve faced, but they’re not elevating the ball and it’s to their detriment right now.
Angels/Astros: It took 85 pitches to get through four innings, but Patrick Sandoval only gave up an unearned run and the Angels rocked Framber Valdez without Mike Trout in the lineup. Sandoval’s start probably wasn’t good enough to really skew his upcoming lines, but I was hoping he’d get tagged so I could get some future value.
I thought it was interesting that Jeremy Pena led off in Jose Altuve’s absence. It’s also still fascinating to me that this lineup is so good that Kyle Tucker and Pena hit sixth and seventh or eighth regularly. Insane.
Twins/Royals: In two starts against the Guardians and Twins, Carlos Hernandez only has one strikeout in 8.2 innings. He allowed 10 hard-hit balls yesterday and has allowed seven runs on 14 hits. I’m not really a big fan of the command profile. The raw stuff is intriguing, but he can’t locate it. The Royals have been limited to nine games, but their starters have 23 K in 42.2 IP. Even with a deadened baseball, that won’t get it done. This team looks pretty awful this season in the early going.
Once this series with the Twins ends on Thursday, the next 12 games will be against the Mariners, White Sox, Yankees and Cardinals. I think we can fade away there.
Orioles/Athletics: On Sunday, I wrote about how the A’s have significantly overperformed with RISP to this point. Well, they were 1-for-10 yesterday, but still took home a 2-1 decision over the Orioles. They were batting .373 with RISP with a .422 BABIP going into Sunday’s game. They are now batting .258 with a .305 BABIP. That’s the thing about early-season sample sizes – they can change very quickly. This still isn’t a very good team and we’ll find fade spots, but their numbers with RISP corrected in the blink of an eye.
Rays/Cubs: The Cubs did their part against Josh Fleming, but Justin Steele was unable to keep the Tampa offense at bay, splitting yesterday’s picks. One random note – Matt Wisler got five outs as the opener for the Rays yesterday on 18 pitches and every single one of them was a slider. The Cubs still look dangerous against lefties, but Steele’s bad outing hurt that bet. Maybe the play was the over, but it’s hard with what we know about the baseball and cold weather thus far.
Weather: Winds are blowing in for the games in Colorado and Detroit, with big breezes out to LF at Wrigley Field. Both Drew Rasmussen and Marcus Stroman tilt towards the ground ball side, with Stroman one of the league’s leaders pretty regularly. That’s why we’re only seeing a 9 on that total.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. Also, my friend @MLBDream on Twitter put together a great MLB beat writer list to follow.
COVID is definitely a thing around MLB right now. The Guardians put Cal Quantrill, Owen Miller and Anthony Santos on the COVID list this morning. With the extra roster spots through May 2, this isn’t just roster manipulation. MLB isn’t testing, so players are self-reporting symptoms.
The Red Sox now have both catchers on the COVID list. Teams will put unvaccinated players on the COVID list throughout the season to manipulate the roster for games in Toronto, but with the Blue Jays on the road, that is not the case right now, outside of what Oakland did last weekend.