Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:00 PM EST.
10:10 PM EST. Pitchers aside for a second, the young Padres are 0-4 and the only team in the NL without a victory. While there is no need to panic, that first win becomes just so illusive for such a young team and sending out Tyson Ross (RHP) to help get them that first win is, for the most part, an exercise in futility.
Ross went 3-3 with a 7.71 ERA in 49 innings for Texas last season. His rehab from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery delayed his season until June. When he returned, Ross began to reclaim his elite groundball rate in the 2nd half but with zero hint of any strikeouts or control. Then, July blister issues piled on and he was banished to the pen for mop-up work in late September. History points to ceiling but getting there is another matter. With quality pitching so scarce, teams don’t give up on guys so easily but that’s what the pitching starved Rangers did with Ross. His spring numbers (6 walks, 11 K’s in 15 innings) don’t inspire much hope either. Ross enjoyed three fine seasons in San Diego between 2013 and 2015, posting sub-3.50 ERAs and huge groundball rates while whiffing more than a batter an inning. But this was before the onset of shoulder woes limited him to just 5 IP in 2016. Eventual off-season surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome robbed him of his velocity last year in Texas, and left Ross looking nothing like his former self, as he struggled to a 6.71 ERA in just 49 IP, with blister issues also complicating the rebound effort. He returns to the Padres working under an incentive-laden contract, and will battle for rotation innings in advance of SD’s big pitching prospect wave that could begin surfacing in the 2H. The Padres took a low risk gamble on him. To us, he’s a high risk.
Taken eighth overall in the 2014 draft out of the University of Evansville, Kyle Freeland spent two and a half seasons in the minors that included him missing time in 2015 with a shoulder injury, before being called up to start the 2017 season in the Rockies’ rotation. Freeland was whacked by a line drive during his September 11 outing against Arizona and was immediately replaced by Tyler Anderson. Although Freeland’s injury turned out to be more of a glancing blow, it figuratively knocked him from the rotation. At the time, however, Freeland lead the staff with 27 games started and 150 innings, but he went winless after July 30 and labored in his last four starts (16 IP, 12 ER, 2.19 WHIP) before getting replaced. Fast forward to right now and Kyle Freeland gets another shot. His fastball and sinker both have above-average sink. Freeland remains in the early stages of his career and a sample of only 156 innings is nothing. Although he has gotten soft contact at a 25.0% rate, which is the best in the league, we can probably still expect some regression on balls in play. However, since Freeland is a pitcher that relies on the groundball, his ERA will most likely not regress all the way up to his xERA, especially with strong infield defense behind him. The biggest issue for him to fix in order to sustain his success will be his walk rate. With his high fastball usage, Freeland has no excuse to continue to walk guys, and increased control should come as he ages. He walked just four batters in 18 spring innings and was tinkering with his pitch mix too. Tyson Ross is just not the type of starter to get behind with a struggling out of the gate team in a pick-em game.
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Colorado -104 (Risking 2.08 units - To Win: 2.00)