Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
8:05 PM EST. When we saw that the Rangers acquired Matt Moore back in December, this is what I wrote in a note to myself that I keep during the off-season:
The Rangers acquired Matt Moore (LHP) from the San Francisco Giants on Dec. 15, in exchange for RHPs Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz. The Rangers also received $750,000 of international bonus pool money (whatever that means). Texas is gambling on a return to at least 2016 form for Moore. In truth, the lefty hasn't even posted league-average skills since his scintillating 2011 debut. At least in 2016, in his first full season back from TJS, Moore's fastball rebounded somewhat and he got some swings and misses (11%). Both those took a step back in 2017, however, as did Moore's walk rate. Add in a bit of hit rate misfortune, and his ERA ballooned in response. Now, Moore moves from one of the better home parks in baseball for pitchers to one decidedly more hitter friendly. Unless there's a flaw in his delivery or approach that the Rangers have seen and can fix, it's seems unlikely that Moore recaptures his past effectiveness in Texas.
In his season debut against Houston, Moore lasted just four innings after surrendering seven hits, one jack and four runs. However, there were some good signs. Most notably that he did not walk anyone while striking out six Astronauts (!). His xERA in his first start was 3.53 but he was the recipient of some hit % misfortune. We’re not saying that Moore is back from the dead but as a pup at home against Marco Estrada, count us in.
Marco Estrada (RHP) carries ERA risk in his away (5.43 away ERA in 2017) start at Texas, as his 50% fly-ball % can lead to some home runs. In 10 innings at TEX in 2017, he struck out 12 hitters while allowing seven earned runs. Chances are he’s not going to strike out anything close to that. Estrada is coming off another one of his patented lucky performances against the Yankees back in Toronto in his season debut in which he went seven full and allowed just four hits and three earned runs. However, his swing and miss rate was a lousy 5%, his fly-ball rate was a lousier 55% and his xERA was 6.03 on the heels of his 88% average fastball velocity. Against New York, Estrada walked three and struck out two. Marco Estrada is a disaster waiting to happen because his profile from top to bottom is horrible. He does not have even one skill that is appealing…..No groundballs, no K’s, he is constantly behind in the count and he rarely induces double plays because almost all of his balls are hit to the outfield. Yeah, he can win but you would be hard pressed to find a starting pitcher in baseball with fewer skills than Estrada and now that profile is road chalk?
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