Let’s determine what makes a great starting pitcher. It is two things. First they must be dominant in the “3 True Outcomes” and second the must limit base runners. If these two thingas are true, then a pitcher will have high strike oput rates, low walk rates, and low HR rates (the 3 true outcomes) plus the will be have great xwoba metrics! xWOBA is a predicitive stat based on stat cast data and will predict the future of hitters getting on base aganst the pitcher. So this is how to an swer question #1 of who are the best pitchers, but if I can combine their dollars won and lost per start, we can see if these pitchers are actually who we should be wagering on.
The next chart lists starting pitchers in order of xwoba. The lowest result is the best. The MLB xwoba avg is .329. This list of the best pitchers has .305 ad the highest so these are very good pitchers. It also contains k/9, bb/9, and hr/9. The next to last column is the dollars won or lost by wgaering on this pitcher.
It is fair to say by reviewing the wagering results, the best pitchers in the game are NOT always the best wagers to make! There are 24 pitchers listed above and 10 of them are loisng propositions. However, these ARE the right pitchers to wager unders!
What is base runs? Base runs (BsR) is a baseball statistic invented by sabermetrician David Smyth to estimate the number of runs a team “should have” scored given their component offensive statistics, as well as the number of runs a hitter or pitcher creates or allows. We need to understand value as it relates to team strength. A won/loss record does not always indicate where to find the value. Base Runs standings and Pythagorean standings are similar and will allow us to find the unforeseen value in teams. We will also see the overvalued teams based on their record. Let’s look at the AL East.
The column on the far right is Base Runs. The column on the far left is the actual record. The NYY are 24-9 actual record. Base Runs has them at 22-11. The +2 indicates NYY has won 2 games more than they should have based on their component offense stats, plus what the pitchers have allowed. We can see TB (+3) should be at 17 wins so they are 3 games better than they should be. BOS, on the other hand, is (-3) so they have lost 3 games more than they should have. I found the Base Runs standings in this division interesting. Yes, as the actual records suggest, NYY has a big lead. However, everyone else should be at 16 or 17 wins! This means there is value in teams like BOS and BAL plus too much value in teams like TB and TOR.
It is interesting to see there are not many “off” lines compared to WEBBIE ODDS, but the one that occurred is off a lot. I am looking at KC @ STL. Greinke is not getting the appropriate love for the sportsbook. Draft Kings shows a line of -180 yet WEBBIE ODDS is only -126. The variance is 54 basis points which is an 8.5% edge towards KC. A money line at -180 is a 64.3% implied probability. I see there are lines as low as -159 up to -166 too meaning that Draft Kings is an outlier. I would expect their number to fall in line with the rest but it would still be too high.
I also found it interesting to see ATL Fried as an away favorite vs NYM on WEBBIE ODDS. There are no lines for this game (NYM playing a Sunday Night game) so it will be another one to look at when the number is out. I would expect the books to have NYM as favorites giving value then to ATL.
NOTE: TB SP is Jeffrey Springs who is a relief pitcher. I have listed COL Senzatela but have seen Gomber. I believe Senzatela is pitching from what I have been able to research so this could change. MIA Rogers, MIN Ober, TB Springs, CHW Kopech, and LAA Detmers are getting love from Draft Kings compared to WEBBIE ODDS. All of them appear to be overvalued. MIL Peralta, SD Martinez, NYY Taillon, HOU Verlander, and ATL Wright appear to be undervalued.
RECAP: I went 1-1 yesterday and again could’ve been 2-0. These early games are now 4 losers that could have been 4 winners! But there is no crying in baseball as they say and we move on! The Season is 24-25 -3.22 units as the units were net 0 yesterday. However, I did hit the How to Play Sunday Night game which is now 1-1 and plus .35 units.
Today there is only one pick for me. I am on rotation #963 Cleveland Bieber FG +105. Shane Bieber is an ace. He will be facing the Angels whose offense is 5th best in MLB. Bieber has a devastating slider. His runs saved above average is 4.1 on that pitch which is 4th best in MLB. All of his pitches are either 0 or plus! He has 5 pitches he throws. His metrics are off the charts with a 2.94 xFIP and 2.85 SIERA. It just means he is forecast for continued success. CLE is off a rough series vs the NYY and their quality pitching. However, they will Michael Lorenzen tonight. Although he has been decent as a starter with an xFIP 3.51 and SIERA 3.07, CLE batters have seen him before. He was a relief pitcher for CIN and their in-state rival so they play 6 times each year. He is not nearly well-versed as a starting pitcher yet. Whereas Bieber has 5 pitches, Lorenzen has 3 and only 1 is showing as a plus pitch while the others are negative! I expect CLE to put balls in play. The CLE bullpen is also more preferred than that of LAA. Webbie Odds actually sees Bieber as a -121 favorite yet I can get him tonight as a dog. I like the value presented and that Bieber is an ace going against a former relief pitcher who will certainly need help to get through the game bringing into play the LAA bullpen.
We are in Philadelphia tonight where we see MIL a potential division winner face off against PHI with their offense! MIL will throw Eric Lauer and PHI Aaron Nola. On the surface we are getting a lot of PHI looks for this game. PHI has the 5th ranked offense and is #1 vs LHP such as Lauer tonight. The betting odds are PHI -145 and the total is 7.5 runs. There are no weather concerns.
Aaron Nola has not been sharp in his first 3 starts of the season yet his sabermetric numbers indicate he is in for a good game tonight. His xFIP is 3.27 and SIERA is 2.75 which are predictive measures of what to expect based on his pitching performance. He throws a fastball, curveball, and changeup. MIL offense is ranked 26th vs FB, 26th vs CB, and 28th vs CH. Definite edges to Nola. If he is on, MIL should struggle to get hits. Nola is also good at inducing groundball with a GB% of 63.2%. PHI has the chance to completely dominate this game. Their offense is an edge, and if Nola is on, PHI will win no issues.
However, Nola has not been on much of this season and Lauer has had great success against PHI. He threw 19IN allowing 14hits and 7 runs but only 3 earned runs. He had 15Ks in those 19IN. He can be the equalizer here. Plus, MIL ranks #2 in the bullpen and PHI #25. The longer the game stays close, the better MIL’s chances to win are. I’ll go one step further, Yelich .391, Wong .308, Renfroe .455, and Cain .800 all like hitting off Nola! Even though the PHI offense has an edge, the MIL offense seems to like to hit off Nola.
This is conflicting and confusing! We know we can’t bet PHI a full game because their bullpen will be in play and PHI will be at a disadvantage there. The first 5 innings might be a way to go but Nola is -155 and -115 -0.5 on the run line. MIL can hit Nola and Lauer has shown success against PHI so I am against anything ON PHI tonight. My thought is to take MIL full game at +135. I think Lauer has shown we can have enough confidence in him to compete. I am hoping for a tight game and MIL bullpen being the difference. If Nolas is on, MIL is will not win, but he hasn’t been yet, MIL has the ability and pedigree to win this type of game.
RECAP: I have not been blessed with good “Baseball God Outcomes” as of yet, and went 1-2 yesterday losing 1.15 units. SEASON now 23-24 -3.22 units.
On to today. I have two selections and will separately post the Sunday Night game.
The first selection is in WSH. I am wagering on rotation #901 SF WEBB RL -1.5 -125. Webb is an ace pitcher for SF so he should average 60 or better game score. His last start was a game score of 35, so he is progression ripe. He induces ground balls as his GB% is 58.9%. His sabermetric forecast is xFIP 3.44 and SIERA 3.52. He also does not put guys on via the walk, so they will need base hits to get on base. I expect a very good start from him today. WSH is starting Adon who is off of a great start (Gsc72). He is not an ace and is very hittable. SF should have little trouble putting balls in play. Not only will SF have hit opportunities, they should also draw some walks as don’s BB/9 is 5.28! His forecast metrics show 5.09 xFIP and 4.81 SIERA so Webb is a clear edge by a least 1.5 runs. I expect the #26th ranked WSH offense to be limited today by Webb and the #17th ranked SF offense to have plenty of opportunities. The money line is too high so I chose the RL.
The second selection is in HOU. I am wagering rotation #919 TOR KIKUCHI +115. Although Kikuchi is a pitcher that does allow hard hits (which could be damaging hits) he often gets groundballs. His GB% is 59%. He throws left-handed which could be major as HOU is ranked #26 vs LHP currently. I like the premises that HOU offensively is struggling and they will face a groundball pitcher. It limits the chances of extra bases hits. The wind could also be a factor here as it is blowing out to centerfield at 14.5-15mph. TOR does have power and could exploit Garcia in this aspect. Garcia is a flyball pitcher with his FB% at 63%. I like TOR to have more of the damaging hits. Kikuchi pitched for SEA which is in the same division as HOU, so there is a familiarity there. He was good and bad vs HOU in the past. Over his last 5 starts vs HOU, he threw 2 ace-like performances and 3 below-average starts. Garcia has yet to have a set back so he is regression ripe. WEBBIE ODDS suggest HOU -115 and the odds are -135. There is value on TOR today so I am in!