Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:10 AM EST.
7:40 PM EST. Cincinnati’s 21-26 record is without question the most misleading record in MLB. They are an undervalued squad to be sure and the proof is in their run differential, which currently sits at +24. There is a massive correlation between winning/losing and run differential, as you can see below.
The Reds have also taken on new tendencies on the basepaths under first-year manager David Bell. Specifically, the team is averaging the seventh-highest stolen base attempts per game with a mark of 0.80, a relatively notable increase from last season’s middle of the road mark of 0.68. Recent call-up Nick Senzel has cooled a bit since homering three times in his first four games, but has remained active on the basepaths. He’s racked up an impressive five stolen bases early in his career without getting caught. Bell has reinforced the importance of the team stealing bases efficiently, recently stating, “I want to be aggressive and guys to have the freedom to read a situation and to attempt to take a base because it’s great when it happens. But I don’t like to give up outs by forcing it unnecessarily.”
Gio Gonzalez (LHP - MIL) is set to make his fifth start of the season, thus far he is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. On the surface that looks fantastic, however, he can thank his unsustainable 88% strand rate for his misleading surface ERA. Gonzalez has a 50% first-pitch strike rate so his BB/K split of 5/15 in 21 frames is in line for a correction too. Gonzalez is exhibit A for why you shouldn't pay for past results when warning signs are abound. That nifty ERA in 2017 was proven to be phoney, as hit rate normalized. This year, once his strand rate normalizes, his ERA will rise significantly. His waning ability to get strike one tells us the decline isn't over, especially as he struggles to reach 90 mph. Dude has good results but he’s very hittable and very beatable,
Sonny Gray (RHP - CIN) has gone six consecutive starts without throwing a dominant one after posting two in his first three starts of the season. He owns a terrible 5.49 ERA over his last five starts, and has a 12/8 K/BB over his last three. Despite his struggles, his skills paint a rosier picture (3.41 xERA, 9.8 K’s/9). Sonny Gray has struck out 26 batters over his last 25 innings with a supported 14% swing and miss rate. He’s also sporting an elite 55% groundball rate. The surface ERA’s of the two respective starters here provides us with this great opportunity to buy low and sell high and you’ll also notice that the Reds run differential is better than the Crews.
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Cincinnati +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)