Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST.
1:00 PM EST. Based on the starters alone, this game offers up the most value on the board. That doesn’t mean that New York will emerge victorious but it’s a bet that has to be made because these two starters are not in the same class. The price suggests that Jose Urena is the superior starter but nothing could be further from the truth.
Urena’s strikeout to walk ratio isn’t even 2-1. He’s walked 56 batters while whiffing 104 in 152 innings. It’s a rare day when Urena makes it past the sixth inning and or even finishes the sixth inning. At first glance, it would appear that he has made substantial gains vs. LHB in 2017, but that's not the case. The difference is largely due to a fortunate 22% hit rate. His command vs. LHB has been poor but once again, he has benefitted greatly from a combination of hit %, strand % and hr/f luck, as evidenced by the wide disparity between ERA and xERA. Despite the vastly improved surface numbers (3.68 ERA), Urena is pretty much the same pitcher he has been. Unless he can discover a way to generate more strikeouts, refine his command, and make some strides against left-handed batters, his ERA figures to eventually move toward his 5.98 xERA. This is a grossly overpriced pitcher with little upside.
Rafael Montero is a rock-solid pitcher with filthy stuff but his surface stats say otherwise. Montero is a high-upside starter who has struggled to produce any value in 2017 because of poor fortune. Montero has posted a sub-4 xERA in August and September along with a decent skill foundation: 9.2 K’s/9, 3.9 BB’s/9, 47% grounders, 14% swing and miss rate and 67% first-pitch strike rate. Montero has 106 K’s in 106 frames. His 59 walks look troublesome but we’ll refer back to his outstanding 67% first-pitch strike rate and not put much emphasis on it. What that tells us is that he’s getting ahead in the count and then he tries to nibble or throw the perfect pitch to get the batter out. Many young pitchers fall victim to that strategy but Montero‘s control is too good to be walking that many hitters so a dramatic decrease in walks is on the horizon. Montero will enter 2018 as an intriguing speculative target that will be high on our radar, just like he is now when offering up such tremendous value.
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N.Y. Mets +136 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.72)