Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST.
1:10 PM EST. Just like yesterday, the Twins are not close to being good enough to be priced in this range and neither is their starter, Lance Lynn (RHP). Meanwhile, the Royals snapped a bizarre streak of their own last night, as they entered the game having not scored five runs or more in a game in 30 straight games. The last team to match that dubious distinction was the 1972 Texas Rangers. Anyhooooo, the Royals scored nine last night and there is no reason they can’t score a bunch more today.
Lance Lynn continues to get a lot of ground balls (52%) but a slew of them are getting hit hard and many of those are recorded as a hit (34% hit rate on groundballs). For most of this season, Lynn’s overall skills would green-light this turn against the seemingly hapless Royals but Lynn’s last two starts have been shaky as hell and bring the level of risk high enough to warrant a play on the Royals. We’ve pointed it out before that the Royals offensive woes are not as bad as they seem, as they do not strike out a lot (third fewest strikeouts in the entire league), which means that the ball is in play and therefore a correction to the good in their team batting average and OBP is long overdue. That correction started last night.
Burch Smith (RHP) has appeared in 24 games in relief for the Royals this year but has not started a game at this level since 2013. Smith was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in back-to-back years but did not sign. He signed instead with the San Diego Padres, who took him in 2011 after his junior season at Oklahoma. He was in the majors by 2013, going 1-3 with a 6.44 ERA in 10 games, seven of them starts. He then went to the Rays in 2014 as part of a three-team trade. Smith pitched only 5.1 innings in 2014 and none the next two years. He had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and a setback in 2016.
"Not a fun couple of years," Smith said. "In '14, they called it a UCL strain. In '15, I got the Tommy John and in 2016 a fractured bone tunnel, one of those holes they drill you for your ligament." In his first rehab start in 2016, he said the elbow did not feel good and he came off the mound. X-rays detected the fractured bone tunnel. "I didn't have to get bone surgery, just a lot of rest, just healing," Smith said. "Dr. (James) Andrews said I'm only the fourth case he's seen in nearly 5,000 Tommy John surgeries. It's pretty uncommon. I think it's just one of those things that happened."
Smith was healthy in 2017 and made six starts in the Arizona Fall League, where he struck out 29 and allowed only 12 hits in 20 innings. Royals’ scouts clocked one of his fastballs at 100 mph, and he was consistently in the upper 90s. When the Rays did not protect him by putting him on the 40-man big league roster, the Royals got him in the Rule 5 draft. It’s been a long and emotional journey for Smith but we like that he’s appeared in 24 games already covering 38 innings so the arm has been tested and it’s passed.
In 38 frames, Smith has 39 K’s. Smith shows three pitches: a plus fastball that sits easily in the 93-97 range, getting up to triple-digits in the past, an average changeup, and a below above average slurve. We’re not sure if Smith is projected to go deep into this game or if he’s scheduled for two or three innings, via a start by committee like the Rays have been utilizing. Either way, it boils down to the same thing, which is still that the horrible Twinkies cannot be priced in this range.
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Kansas City +186 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.72)