Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:15 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. After opening the season with eight scoreless innings in relief last season, Cody Reed (LHP) struggled after that with his control being particularly problematic, as reflected in his 19 BB in 17.2 innings for the season. He was subsequently sent down to try to iron out his control issues in Triple-A, and spent the rest of the season there but still walked far too many batters (61 BB in 107 frames).
A raw-tools bet by the Royals in the second round of 2013, Reed broke out in a huge way across two levels in 2015 and saw himself packaged alongside Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb for Johnny Cueto. At 6’5” and 220 pounds, Reed has an ideal pitching frame and features two pitches that get plus-plus grades in his mid-90s fastball and mid-to-high-80s slider. The fastball can touch 97 and shows solid late life while coming in with good deception because of a low, three-quarters arm slot. The slider is a true out-pitch for him, which similarly showcases biting, sweeping tilt. When he’s throwing strikes, he’s tough as shoe leather. Even in those 17 frames last year at this level, Reed’s BAA was just .183 and that’s when being behind in the count so frequently. We’ll now wipe the slate clean for Reed and hit the reset button and see what happens. As a dog against Ben Lively, he and the Reds are worth a wager.
Ben Lively went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA over 89 innings and covering 15 starts for the Phillies last season. Lively’s contact-heavy profile was aided early by pinpoint control and HR avoidance. He survived his first six MLB starts (3.72 over 39 IP) in pretty good shape on paper but wasn’t as fortunate in the second half, as his control and hit % ticked upward and HR began to hurt. Ben Lively has a history of putting up weak strikeout numbers and a weak groundball rate. Among pitchers with at least 75 innings in 2017, only two had a lower K-rate than Lively. His groundball rate last year was 36% and it was 24% in his first start this year. Pitching at a hitter’s park, do you really want to spot a price with a starter who strikes out few while giving up hard contact and fly-balls so often? Those under the hood numbers scream with warnings. Injuries to Jerad Eickhoff and Mark Leiter have opened up a rotation spot for Lively but of all the starting pitching options at the Phillies disposal, his skills make him the least likely to stick, thus it is best to cash in now while the opportunity is available.
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Cincinnati +115 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.30)