MLB schedule today has 15 games
The full menu is available to us on the MLB card for Tuesday, as all 30 teams are back in action and every game will be a primetime affair. It is a day very light on elite arms, but there are some pretty good arms and a lot of interesting middle-of-the-rotation type starters. There should be plenty to discuss and the Will Levis Reddit post and NFL Draft line movement slowed my start to the writing, so let’s get right to it. (Tracking sheet)
Follow me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, as I tweet out the article link right as it goes live.
Catch a new (and shorter) edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets on Tuesday.
Here are some thoughts on the April 25 card (odds from DraftKings):
Imagine a world in which the Dodgers are such short favorites against the Pirates. Well, Pittsburgh has raised the Jolly Roger seven straight times and has the second-best record in baseball. Just as we all expected.
It will be Noah Syndergaard and Johan Oviedo in this one, as we’ve seen a good bit of movement on the Buccos here. This line was up in the -130 to -140 range at open per most sportsbooks and you can find even better than this price on the Dodgers at a lot of places.
Oviedo has been really good after a rocky first start against the Red Sox, in which he allowed five runs (four earned) over 4.2 innings. Since then, he’s allowed just two runs in 19.2 innings of work with 21 strikeouts against four walks. Add it all up and you get a 2.22 ERA with a 3.86 FIP. Oviedo does have some pretty clear regression signs with an 88.2% LOB% and a .254 BABIP against, but he’s navigated a good Cardinals bunch and a start at Coors Field in his last two outings.
He’s only allowed two barrels and a Hard Hit% of 37.1%, which has gone down with each successive start. He’s only 25 and maybe the Pirates have simply unlocked his potential after posting some ugly numbers in the upper minors and with the Cardinals.
Syndergaard allowed six runs in his second start of the season and second in a row against the Diamondbacks. Otherwise, he’s allowed six runs total across his other three starts. He’s struck out 19 and walked four over 22 innings and gone six innings in each of the three solid outings. He’s really limited hard contact with a 29.4% Hard Hit%, yet has a .297 BABIP against and has allowed four homers.
I don’t have a bet here, but I am trying to pinpoint the spot when the other shoe will drop for Pittsburgh. I’m happy for Pirates fans since ownership is notoriously cheap and the team has fallen on hard times, but this is one of the biggest overperformers in the early going. They’re not going to run a .331 BABIP and a .357 wOBA with men in scoring position all year.
Another great development for Pirates fans happened this morning with a Bryan Reynolds eight-year contract extension.
I'm not sure how a sportsbook could possibly hang a line on a game not knowing who one of the starting pitchers will be, but that's the current environment in legalized sports betting.
With Max Scherzer suspended, the Mets need a starting pitcher for today. It would take an IL stint to recall Jose Butto, who hasn’t been down for the required number of days. An injury removes that rule, so we’ll see if somebody takes one for the team or heads to the IL with lingering soreness.
It’s been a rough start to the season on the pitching side for the Mets. Carlos Carrasco is out with a bone chip in his elbow and Justin Verlander remains sidelined with a strained shoulder. Jose Quintana is on the 60-day IL after suffering a rib injury. Butto allowed one run on five hits with four walks and two strikeouts nine days ago against the A’s. Perhaps the Mets figure out a different scenario, especially since Butto is eligible to return on Thursday (has to be down 10 days).
Obvious pass here with the uncertainty, but just wanted to mention that Josiah Gray has an 88% LOB% with his 3.74 ERA and 5.77 FIP. He has done a masterful job of limiting hard contact with a 28.4% Hard Hit% and only two barrels since his first start against the Braves, but he has walked nine and only has 16 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Not exactly a trustworthy profile.
Spencer Strider flirted with history during a magnificent performance last night with 13 strikeouts over eight shutout innings against the Marlins. Atlanta hit the over on their own with 11 runs, including five homers. Charlie Morton should be excited for today’s outing. He’s only allowed eight earned runs over four starts covering 22.1 innings with a 17/10 K/BB ratio. He has a 3.22 ERA with a 4.58 FIP thanks to the K/BB ratio, but his SwStr% is on the rise and more punchouts should come.
Morton has mostly limited hard contact this season with a 36.5% rate and one outlier against Kansas City with a 57.9% HH%. Morton’s velocity has also ticked up a tad as we’ve moved along, so that’s a good thing for Atlanta and for his potential production going forward. He’s really leveled up on his curveball usage with a 42.9% rate. He’s run 12% or better SwStr% marks each of the last four seasons and he’s at 9.7% now. I think there’s some good room for growth with him.
Bryan Hoeing gets the call today for the Marlins. He pitched 12.2 innings at the MLB level last season with a start and seven relief efforts and it was ugly. He allowed 17 runs on 19 hits with five homers, six strikeouts, and five walks against 61 batters. His Triple-A numbers weren’t good either with a 5.07 ERA and a 5.71 FIP in 94 innings.
This season, Hoeing has worked 17.1 innings at Triple-A with four earned runs allowed on 15 hits. He actually has 20 strikeouts already after having just 49 out of 406 batters last season. Hoeing added significant velocity over the offseason and now sits comfortably in the mid-90s. He’s said to have “reinvented” himself. Guess we’ll see how the stuff plays against a terrifying lineup to face.
It will not be a fun night for baseball at Wrigley Field. A bit of a breeze will be blowing in from left center and it’s going to be in the low 40s and upper 30s. If any day needed a day game in Chicago, it’s probably this one. A couple southpaws square off here with Justin Steele and Blake Snell.
Steele is a guy I mentioned on yesterday’s edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets when talking about BABIP and LOB% as the sabermetric stats of the show. He’s got a .200 BABIP against with a 56.5% GB% and an 89.1% LOB%. He’s pitched really well and I don’t want to take anything away from him. He’s got a 1.44 ERA, a 3.18 xERA, a 3.52 FIP, and a stellar 25.8% Hard Hit%. He has all the tools to maintain an above average BABIP, but probably not a BABIP over 90 points better than league average.
He’s faced a good mix of opponents with starts against the Brewers, Rangers, Dodgers, and Athletics. He’s only a two-pitch pitcher with a four-seam fastball and slider accounting for over 96% of his pitch selection, but he commands both of them so well that he’s had tremendous success this season and was also really good last season.
Let’s talk about Snell. I faded Snell last time out against the Braves and his stat line suggests that he pitched well with two runs allowed on three hits with five strikeouts and three walks. He gave up three barrels and a Hard Hit% of 50% out of 12 batted ball events. His Hard Hit% is up to 46.2% and he’s given up seven barrels in his last three starts, though two of them have been against the Braves. His fastball velocity is down 1.3 mph per Statcast this season.
His spin rates did tick back up in his last start, so I’m guessing the Padres found some sort of mechanical flaw. His curveball spin rate plummeted in his start against the Mets, but it was back to normal levels. So was his fastball. It looks like they moved his horizontal release point a little. I’m easing back on my Snell concerns. Spin rate decreases either indicate a mechanics problem or an injury. With Snell bouncing back up, I’m guessing he’s not hurt. I do like to try and prey on pitchers that are hurt, but he seems okay, for now.
With Steele’s LOB% and BABIP regression signs, I don’t want to lay the short Cubs price here, even if this is going to be a miserable day to be a Padre with the weather. While I’ve backed off on Snell a little, he’s just not a pitcher I enjoy backing.
The Giants will employ an opener on Tuesday in the form of John Brebbia, who has given up five runs on six hits in eight innings of work with a 12/2 K/BB ratio. Brebbia, a former Cardinal, started 11 times last season and allowed one run on 10 hits with a 7/1 K/BB ratio against 43 batters faced. The expectation is that the Giants will turn the game over to Jakob Junis after that.
The thought process here is to shield Sean Manaea from a Cardinals lineup that he doesn’t match up all that well against. The Cardinals crush lefties and have for the last few seasons, so it makes sense to try and throw as many righties as possible. Junis hasn’t pitched since April 18 and has allowed six runs on 18 hits in 12.2 innings with a 12/5 K/BB ratio. After allowing one run over his first seven innings, he’s allowed five runs on 11 hits in his last two outings against the Tigers and Marlins.
Junis just didn’t locate well in those two outings with 12 hard-hit balls out of 22 batted ball events. It’s tough to stay sharp in the role that he’s in and that would be a concern here. He had a 4.42 ERA with a 4.17 xERA and a 3.65 FIP last season over 112 innings of work. One really interesting development with Junis is that his sinker velo is up a couple ticks this season. He’s also throwing a slider 61.3% of the time, following up on an arsenal change we saw last season.
So far this season, the Cardinals are ninth in wOBA against right-handed sliders at .294 and third in batting average at .255, so we’ll see if they can take advantage against the slider-heavy Junis.
The Giants have to be ecstatic to see a righty and a pretty lackluster one in Jake Woodford. Woodford has allowed 13 runs on 27 hits in 19.1 innings, so he’d be up the proverbial creek without a paddle if not for an 82.7% LOB%. He still has a 6.05 ERA with a 7.36 FIP and has allowed six homers across his four starts.
Woodford has allowed an alarming rate of hard contact at 60.3% and a Barrel% of 13.2%. His average exit velocity per start has been 93, 92.6, 96.5, and 92.1 mph. Batter handedness hasn’t mattered either, as righties have a .313/.395/.688 slash with a .447 wOBA and lefties have a .362/.400/.596 slash with a .430 wOBA. The Giants lineup also looks better with Mitch Haniger and Joc Pederson both back.
There are a few other things to like about the Giants today Woodford has a career 15.6% K% at the MLB level and he’s at 13.6% this season. The biggest offensive issue for the Giants has been the strikeout and that shouldn’t be a big factor today. Also, this is the third-ranked offense in wOBA and fourth-ranked by wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Only the Nationals and Orioles have fewer plate appearances against righties. The Giants have faced a ton of lefties and are way worse in that split.
I’ll take the Giants for the 1st 5 here. Woodford has no business being in a Major League rotation and he’s a righty. Lefties own a .303/.350/.461 slash with a .348 wOBA against Woodford in 280 career plate appearances, while righties are at .239/.310/.400 with a .307 wOBA. He’s going to get a steady diet of lefties here.
The Giants bullpen has some big positive regression indicators with a 5.29 ERA, 4.38 FIP, and 3.84 xFIP. They’re being hurt by a 61.5% LOB%, which is the second-lowest in baseball. I’m not really sure what happens late in this game, but I think the Giants have a big edge in the early part of the game. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have a top-10 bullpen by fWAR and strong numbers overall.
Shop around here. DraftKings posts standard vig at -115 both ways for 1st 5 lines. Most books do -110. Find one of those.
Pick: Giants 1st 5 (-115)
If you were wondering how far Corey Kluber has fallen, take a look at this line. The Orioles are a really solid ballclub, but we’ve seen a pretty big line move against Kluber and the Red Sox in this one. Look, I get it. He’s allowed 17 runs on 19 hits in 18 innings. He’s given up six homers and has a 17/8 K/BB ratio. He is something of a positive regression candidate with a 58.3% LOB%, but the command profile just isn’t there anymore for him.
I will say that he allowed 16 hard-hit balls in his first two starts and has only allowed nine in his last two outings, so we may be seeing some glimmers of hope, but it is hard to find reasons to want to bet on him. Also, as I’ve talked about before, Kluber had the big home/road splits last season with the Rays between Tropicana Field and everywhere else. He ran a 5.05 ERA on the road with a 50-point spike in wOBA and a 98-point spike in SLG.
I don’t think he’s hurt, as his velocity ticked up last time out and his arm slot was a little higher. Sometimes a drooping arm slot can be an indicator of injury or fatigue. He had that in his previous start against the Rays, but picked it back up against the Twins. Not that it helped him. He’s always been a high IQ, crafty pitcher, but that’s basically all he has at this point because the stuff profile is really in decline.
This will be just the third start of the season for Bradish, who was hit by a comebacker in the second inning of his first start and then came back 16 days later to fire six shutout innings against a Nationals offense that is totally punchless against righties. I’m a Bradish guy. I’m an Orioles guy. His second-half splits from last season were spectacular, as he went from a .339/.401/.566 slash and .415 wOBA in 46.1 first-half innings to a .212/.296/.312 slash with a .275 wOBA in his final 71.1 innings.
Kudos to those who got in on this one early. A lot of line value has been extracted now, but the O’s look like the side here.
Yesterday was a really frustrating day. The Astros started nicely with a 2-0, but Jose Urquidy promptly gave it back and the Houston offense did very little of consequence. That paled in comparison to the sickening way the Rangers lost, but I may need to just accept the fact that the Rays are awesome, my Under 88.5 is dead, and they’re probably winning the World Series. Right? That’s the rational way to handle this.
We’ve got another day with a sizable line move against Luis Garcia and a lot of backing for the Rays. We got kind of screwed yesterday because Yordan Alvarez left the team to get his sore neck checked out and that was announced a couple hours after the article went live. That’s another reason for the line move today and probably the biggest reason.
Still, there aren’t a lot of believers in Garcia, whose first three starts were rocky to say the least. He allowed 12 runs on 19 hits over 14 innings against the White Sox, Twins, and Rangers. He’s a guy who had to completely rework his pre-pitch routine to accommodate the new rules and it was negatively impacting him. It does appear that he found something against the Blue Jays last time out with seven shutout innings and nine strikeouts. He only allowed two hard-hit balls and had a ridiculous 22.3% SwStr%.
It was his heaviest start of the season by cutter usage and it seemed to pay dividends. With that dominant outing and a spike in his K% over the last two starts, Garcia’s Hard Hit%, K%, BB%, etc. are all pretty much back in range. That’s why you don’t want to overreact too much to early-season numbers.
Drew Rasmussen goes for the Rays here and he’ll face a Houston lineup missing Alvarez, which cannot be overstated. Rasmussen has had one bad start against the Blue Jays in which he allowed all five runs he has given up and four of his seven walks. Here’s the thing, though. His other starts have been against the Reds, A’s, and Nationals. That’s why it’s so hard for me to believe in the Rays, their dominance, and their early-season numbers. They’ve played a lot of really bad teams.
I’m not saying Rasmussen gets rocked here and I’m not saying the Astros do it without Alvarez. It’s just that those are some terrible lineups and the one legitimate lineup he faced knocked him around a bit. I don’t think I have the heart to bet Houston today, but I do think the Rays love is a little out of control.
The Blue Jays are north of a $2 favorite in this game based on some betting action that came in and this is a traditional sabermetric line move. Mike Clevinger has a 3.26 ERA, but a 6.16 xERA, a 5.13 FIP, and a 5.93 xFIP. Jose Berrios has a 6.23 ERA with a 5.04 xERA, a 2.68 FIP, and a 3.55 xFIP.
A few years ago, these types of line moves were fully automatic. High ERA, low FIP vs. low ERA, high FIP would create a 20-25 cent move in the market. That’s basically what we’ve gotten in this game. We have a lot more data and a lot more descriptive data nowadays, so these aren’t as cut-and-dry or blindly bet, but you’ll still get some from time to time and this one fits the bill.
Berrios has a 39.1% LOB% this season. FIP loves him because he’s only allowed one home run and four walks with 21 strikeouts, which is nearly a K per inning pace. In his first two starts, Berrios allowed 14 runs (12 earned) on 15 hits and three walks. A lot of the baserunners that he allowed came around to score. In his last two starts, Berrios has only allowed eight baserunners via hit or walk and has given up three runs in 12 innings. His LOB% is getting a little better, but he hasn’t had baserunners to strand in his last two starts.
I still hate the command profile for Berrios. The home run avoidance is great if it sticks around. He’s got a 42.2% Hard Hit% and ran a 43.4% Hard Hit% last season when he had a 5.23 ERA and a 4.55 FIP. The difference between seasons is that he allowed 29 homers last year in 172 innings and has not allowed long balls this season. His average launch angle has been cut by more than half and he’s keeping the ball on the ground way more often.
He’s also seen increased swing and miss rates this season with some arsenal and mechanical tweaks. I guess there are some reasons to bet on the profile, but I’m still withholding judgment.
After striking out eight of the 23 Astros he faced in his first start, Clevinger has only struck out seven of the last 64 batters he has faced with eight walks. He only has 15 strikeouts in 19.1 innings and 11 walks, so FIP is not looking kindly upon him. It’s just a volatile profile at this point. He has been a pretty extreme fly ball guy thus far, which seems bad going to Rogers Centre. He also wasn’t very good in 2022, so it’s tough to buy into the 2023 Clevinger, though he does have better velocity this season.
I really expected to go into this thinking I’d fade Berrios in a high-dollar favorite role, but I think the Blue Jays may have actually made some substantive changes to make him a real pitcher again.
We haven’t seen many 6.5 totals this season, but we’ve got one here with Nestor Cortes and Joe Ryan on another cool day in the Twin Cities. Both guys have been very good so far. Cortes has a 3.09 ERA with a 3.45 FIP, as he’s got a 22/4 K/BB ratio in four starts and allowed eight runs on 20 hits. Ryan has 29 strikeouts in his 25 innings, including 10-strikeout games against the Yankees and Astros.
Ryan wasn’t quite as sharp last time out against the Red Sox with three runs allowed on six hits and a 60% Hard Hit%. He didn’t locate nearly as well, as his average launch angle ranged from 21.9 degrees to 24.8 degrees in his first three starts, but was 9.6 degrees in his last start. As great as most of the metrics look for Ryan, he’s in the 22nd percentile in average exit velocity and 9th percentile in Hard Hit%.
Cortes ranks in the 60th percentile in average exit velocity and 70th in Hard Hit%. He’s not racking up strikeouts or chases at the same rate as Ryan, but he’s been commanding the baseball better. He also has a 20% of higher Whiff% on all five of his pitches, so he can get the swings and misses when he needs them.
I like Cortes and the Yanks today. We’ll see if the Yankees adjust after the 10 strikeouts in the first meeting, but Ryan is allowing a lot of hard contact that is going to be punished at some point. Cortes really stays off the barrel well and the Twins have had their issues with lefties, though I do acknowledge the injuries that they’ve had early this season, specifically with some useful right-handed bats.
The two bullpens are in pretty similar places from a rest standpoint, but I like the Yankees to have a lead here and their pen has been really solid thus far. In a game with a low-scoring environment, give me the team that should hit the ball hard more often.
You can find a better price on this in the market than the +105 being offered by DK. There are several +115s out there, which is the value of doing 10-cent lines instead of 20-cent.
Pick: Yankees +105
Mason Miller makes his second MLB start and he’ll be opposed by Griffin Canning in this AL West battle. Miller was pretty solid over 4.1 innings with two runs allowed on four hits, but the A’s bullpen came as advertised when we had the Cubs run line in a 12-2 win for Chicago. Miller threw 81 pitches in that start. I’d expect him to be greenlighted for more like 90 today.
The stuff looked great from Miller and his high-velocity fastball tied up the Cubs, who only put three hard-hit balls out there. Miller only threw 50% first-pitch strikes, but had a 12.3% SwStr% and flashed a lot of potential. We’ll see if he can do the same against the Angels.
Quickly on Canning, who has allowed four runs on nine hits in 10.1 innings, the Angels have really altered his pitch usage. His fastball is bad, so they’ve lessened the use of it to throw more sliders and changeups. I really don’t hate that for him at all. The early returns show a nice spike in swings and misses and more chases outside the zone. The increase in Whiff% hasn’t led to an increase in K% just yet, as he only has eight in 41 batters, but they could be coming.
Maybe he turns back into a pumpkin, but I think there’s a great chance he outperforms his career 4.67 ERA and FIP so long as he stays healthy. If we keep up the increased CH/SL arsenal, it’ll keep his HR/FB% down, increase K%, and give me a reason to bet on him.
If today’s game is rained out, the Guardians will likely be forced into their second doubleheader in five days on Wednesday. It feels like 2022 all over again. Ryan Feltner and Peyton Battenfield are the starters here, but my concern is Wednesday and the debut of Tanner Bibee.
As far as this game goes, Cleveland is probably overpriced again as a favorite given how they’re performing, but I don’t think this game gets played. If it does, the hitting conditions are going to be beyond miserable and there will be 60 people in the stands. I have very minimal interest in even watching this game and I say that as a Guardians fan.
Jose Leclerc walked in a run and then walked in the tying run on the next batter to erase Texas’s 6-4 lead and the Rangers promptly lost in the bottom of the ninth. Bullpen melts happen. It doesn’t make them more tolerable, but they do happen. It’s tough to try and take a silver lining out of being in a position to win and winding up with a loser, but it comes with the territory. The more irritating thing to me is that Nate Eovaldi wasn’t really getting hit hard, but couldn’t protect the big lead that the offense gave him against Nick Lodolo.
Anyway, Martin Perez goes today for the Rangers and Luke Weaver goes for the Reds. The Rangers have a big starting pitcher advantage here, which is pretty accurately reflected in where this line sits. It is probably worth mentioning that Perez is a regression candidate with a 3.38 ERA, 4.53 xERA, and 4.96 FIP. That was the case when we took him for the 1st 5 against the Astros, but he was able to get by. The 87.6% LOB% is what scares me the most. The .344 BABIP should come down, but he won’t keep stranding runners at the same rate.
I think we’ll generally see the market start betting against him. The Reds are tough to back right now and Weaver is pretty bad, so this probably isn’t the spot. But, spots are coming. He’s also allowed a Hard Hit% over 50% in his last two starts, so the command may be waning a little bit. He also has a 28th percentile xBA, 36th percentile K%, 13th percentile Whiff%, and some other red flags. He had some spin rate decreases last start. I think I’ll be going against him next time out if these issues are still present. That start would come Sunday against the Yankees. I don’t do an article, but we can keep that one in mind.
Weaver struck out eight in six innings against the Pirates, but had an average exit velocity of 94.3 mph on 13 batted balls. He was primarily a fastball/changeup guy, but we did see increased curveball usage. He generated a lot of swings and misses for throwing a ton of pitches in the strike zone. I don’t think the Reds have fixed him, but I’ll keep an eye on it.
Ultimately, I just wanted to talk about this game for the sake of looking to bet against Perez soon.
I wrote this one up with Logan Gilbert as the starter and was ready to take him, but the Mariners have made a change. Marco Gonzales and Bailey Falter are the slated starters in this one at Citizens Bank Park. Now, it will be Gonzales and the line has flipped to put Philadelphia in a solid favorite role.
Gonzales has thrown the ball well this season with a 3.78 ERA, 3.55 xERA, and 3.38 FIP in three starts. His season got off to a weird start because he hit the paternity list just before his third scheduled start, so he went 11 days between games, but pitched really well against the Brewers with two runs allowed on four hits. Of course, as we’ve established, the Brewers are terrible against lefties. The Phillies are a slightly above average offense against southpaws.
Falter has allowed 11 runs on 22 hits and only has 12 strikeouts in 88 batters faced. He’s got a 4.50 ERA with a 4.55 FIP in the early going. A low 68.8% LOB% is part of the reason, but that’s what can happen when you don’t generate strikeouts. He’s done well to limit hard contact given how aggressive teams are against him, but it's not a profile that has a ton of long-term stability in my eyes.
The Mariners have had a rough go of it against lefties to this point, but also have a 26.2% K% in that split. They simply haven’t been able to put enough balls in play. They should get that chance here against Falter. They’re also running on the unlucky side with a .246 BABIP in that split.
I was all ready to bet Seattle with Gilbert, but that plan went up in smoke. I don’t have a play now.
I screwed up yesterday with this matchup. The play was to take the Tigers as a fade of Colin Rea instead of the over. It started promising, but then both offenses went cold. The Brewers don’t have to worry about a lefty today, which should enhance their offensive profile as they go up against Spencer Turnbull. Detroit will take swings against Eric Lauer.
Turnbull seems to be settling in a little bit now. He allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in his first two starts across eight innings, but has allowed four runs on nine hits in his last 10.1 innings of work. He’s still a very inconsistent guy and that will probably stick with him throughout the season. As bad as the Brewers are against lefties (highest K% in baseball), they are a top-10 offense against righties.
Lauer has had one bad start and three good ones. Despite a lot of hard contact against and a major decrease in velocity, he has allowed 11 runs on 21 hits in 23 innings. His average exit velocity is 92.2 mph and his Hard Hit% is 45.5%, so I don’t believe in the staying power of his .262 BABIP, nor do I believe in the 81.8% LOB%.
Unfortunately, the Tigers have the league’s worst offense against lefties with a .253 wOBA and a 58 wRC+. They also have the smallest sample size of plate appearances in that split, but they’ve been really bad. This is one of those starts where you’d like to see Lauer dominate a bad lineup. We’ll see if he does.
The command woes for Brady Singer absolutely continued in his start against Texas last time out. Singer allowed an average exit velocity of 96 mph and gave up five runs on six hits. His Hard Hit% by start this season is 61.5%, 66.7%, 76.5%, and 64.7%. That’s good for a 67.6% Hard Hit% against the Blue Jays, Giants, Braves, and Rangers. The league average HH% is 39%.
Singer also has three starts in single digits by SwStr%. He has a .333 BABIP against a 52% LOB%, but he’s really earning those by throwing way too many bad pitches. His velocity is down a full mph from last season and he could honestly be worse. His xBA on 35 sinkers in play is 33 points higher than his actual BA and his xSLG is 101 points higher. His xwOBA is 60 points higher.
On his slider, his xBA of .324 is 59 points higher than his actual BA of .265. The “x stats” are more descriptive than predictive since they look at batted ball data and what similarly hit balls did, but the overall point here is that Singer is just not locating well at all.
The Royals draw a pitch-to-contact righty in Ryne Nelson, who has a 4.91 ERA with a 3.68 xERA and a 5.50 FIP. Nelson has done a decent job of limiting hard contact, but has also allowed four homers and only has a 14/8 K/BB ratio. The Royals got a little bit of run for me on the podcast last week. They are fourth in Hard Hit% and 29th in batting average. They are 27th in BABIP. They have gotten wildly unlucky on their hard-hit contact.
Much like what I looked at with the Tigers yesterday and took the over instead of their side, the Royals kind of profile the same, if not even more extreme. Nelson doesn’t generate a lot of swing and miss and very few chases. This seems like the kind of start where he could give up some hard contact.
The 1st 5 total here is 5 with some over juice and I like that bet. Singer’s command profile is bad and Nelson is a pitch-to-contact guy facing a lineup that has swung it better than the numbers indicate. Shop around and find -110 here since DK starts 1st 5 totals at -115.
Pick: 1st 5 Over 5 (-120)
Giants 1st 5 (-115)
KC/ARI 1st 5 Over 5 (-120)