Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST.
7:10 PM EST. The narrative on Patrick Corbin (LHP - WAS), after signing with the Nationals for six years and $140 million, is that he's a risky bet due to losing 1.6 mph of fastball velocity in 2018, and because his breakout was the result of an extreme spike in slider usage that may not be physically sustainable. Well, after 11 starts, one would be hard pressed to find another starter with better underlying numbers than Corbin.
There are few sliders in the game better than Patrick Corbin's. Inducing chases off the plate over half the time and boasting a near 30% swinging-strike rate is flat out absurd, especially considering he threw over 1,300 of them across 2018. Corbin has not only struck out 81 batters in 73 frames but he has an outstanding batted ball profile over his last five games of 52% grounders, 14% line-drives and 33% fly-balls. He has great command too. Corbin is a bargain here because the Nats are losing market credibility fast and because Cincinnati’s starter has posted some pretty sweet numbers of his own.
Tyler Mahle (RHP - CIN) sported a 3.83 ERA in 92 innings in the first half of 2018, but was shellacked to the tune of a 10.18 ERA in 20 second half innings before being shut down with shoulder tenderness. An injury to Alex Wood opened the door for Mahle to begin 2019 in the starting rotation and through 56 innings, he owns a 4.15 ERA and 59 strikeouts. However, he’s starting to trend the wrong way, so buyers beware. Mahle hasn’t been able to get hitters to chase pitches outside the zone, as illustrated by Statcast’s Chase% metric, where his 23% mark is well below the 28% MLB average. Opposing batters posted a .291 BA, .518 SLG and 7 HR against Mahle’s slider in 2018, so he replaced it with a curve that he only threw about 1% of the time in 2017-18. Mahle spoke this spring about working on his offspeed pitches during the offseason, but he is still heavily reliant on his four-seam fastball, throwing it 62% of the time and mixing in the curve (23%), change-up (13%) and cutter (1%) with just one of his offerings yielding a swing and miss % above 10%. His secondary pitches are not doing the trick and MLB hitters destroy those that rely too heavily on a fastball. Mahle was hit hard in his last outing and we would not be a bit surprised to see a similar fate here.
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Washington -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)