Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
1:05 PM EST. Last season, Marcus Stroman (RHP) basically had the same season as 2016, skills-wise, with strand % fortune the only real difference. That's why we say "Buy skills, not stats." By skills, he's a mid-3s ERA pitcher. which ain't bad but with his pedestrian K-rates, the ceiling is low. Stroman continues to possess one of the more unique collections of skills in the game. He can keep the ball on the ground at a high rate and has generated a good command in each season. However, he has struggled with shoulder inflammation this spring, and the 3.09 ERA he posted in 2017 was aided by an 80% strand rate that we can't expect will repeat. Even if healthy, he's more of a 3.75-ERA pitcher than a 3.00-ERA one. Buy when he’s being offered a price but looking for profit when he’s favored is a mistake.
A disastrous 2016 campaign coupled with a preseason lateral injury sent Sonny Gray's (RHP) stock tumbling entering last year. He only made 12 starts last year and didn’t dominate so he’s still far under the radar. Hell, even C.C. Sabathia got a start this season before Gray but pay no attention to any of that because we’re screaming out that Sonny Gray is all the way back. Gray's uptick in strikeouts in those aforementioned 12 starts jumps off the page, and it was supported by a career-high swinging-strike rate. The jump in whiffs can mostly be attributed to Gray's sinker (career 7%; 13% in 2017). That sinker and Gray's four-seam fastball account for 64% of his pitches. They've produced a combined 58% groundball, making Gray's ability to keep the ball on the ground a formidable asset. Gray brushed those preseason concerns aside with the best skills of his career that went largely unnoticed. He continues to induce ground balls in bunches, and he's now pairing them with a nice spike in whiffs and strikeouts. In 14 spring inning, Gray allowed eight hits and struck out 16 batters. The betting line says Stroman is better than Gray. He’s not. We get the vastly superior team and perhaps the AL’s most undervalued pitcher to start the year at a price and we’re not going to miss it. Incidentally, after three games, the Jays are batting a combined .172.
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N.Y. Yankees +102 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.04)