Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:45 AM EST.
4:10 PM EST. Cam Bedrosian (RHP - LAA) gets this start and he’s not likely to go more than one or two innings because he’s a career reliever and has been since he broke in back in 2014. Prior to this year, his last 237 innings pitched all came in relief so there is not a lot to discuss here. Like the Rays, the Angels will be employing a start by committee strategy here and we’ll live with whatever the pitching staff delivers because this wager is all about fading one of the most overpriced and overrated starters in the game.
Jon Lester (LHP - CHC) managed to finish 2018 with a 3.32 ERA to go along with 149 K’s in 182 innings despite displaying shaky skills and his worst xERA since 2007. Through 53 innings in 2019, he owns a 3.59 ERA with 50 K’s. On the surface, it would appear that he’s been good again this year but in actuality he’s been awful and it’s getting progressively worse with each passing month. It all works in our favor because the prices on Lester are inflated. Win or lose, Lester is a great fade and will be until the market catches up to how ridiculously overpriced he is.
Lester’s underlying metrics remain underwhelming. His subpar swing & miss rate of 9% hasn’t rebounded and it doesn’t back his current strikeout rate of 50 K’s in 53 innings so expect some pullback there. His velocity has slipped even further and is now the lowest it has been since 2007. He has posted improved control (13 walks) in 2019, but neither his first-pitch strike rate nor a 37.2% ball% support the gains. A fortuitous strand rate has given his ERA artificial luster, as evidenced by his xERA of 5.04. Lester’s actual ERA is is complete mirage due to the fact that it doesn’t take into account first-pitch strike rate/swinging strikes and the lack of support for both. ERA also doesn’t take into account strand rates or batting average on balls in play. ERA’s are not a true indication of a pitcher’s skills or in Lester’s case, lack thereof. We have been sounding the warning about Lester’s declining skills since back in March of 2018. Given that he’s now in his age-35 season with a ton of mileage on his arm, there is no sudden revitalization here, only regression and the Angels are the perfect team to expose him because they are the best team in baseball in putting the ball in play.
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L.A. Angels +147 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.94)