Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
Atlanta +124 over PHILADELPHIA
1:05 PM EST. Ian Anderson (RHP) has enjoyed immediate success at the major league level thanks to the combination of above-average strikeout rates and high groundball rates. A high strand rate has helped, too, but his xERA shows that regression would still likely leave him pitching very well. His swing & miss rates have been right around league average, so 2021's K% seems more sustainable than 2020's, but he also already has an elite weapon in his change-up, which he throws 31.8% of the time and which generated a 20.0% swing and miss rate in 2020, and is up to 21.2% in 2021.
For a young starter, Anderson has shown tremendous consistency, not only from season to season, but also from start to start. In 15 career MLB starts, he has only thrown one disaster, on May 8th, 2021, against the Phillies, and even then he only allowed three earned over 6 IP while walking 3 and striking out 7. The one weak spot in his skill set has been his control. He has consistently posted above-average BB% rates, and on occasion, that has been enough to drive his K-BB% down to a league average level (as is currently the case in 2021). The 23-year-old Anderson is just five years removed from being drafted out of high school, and already looks like he belongs in the majors. His control remains a concern, but even if he struggles with it from time to time, his combination of strikeouts and groundballs appears to be enough to keep his performance from veering too far off-track. Anderson has all the tools you want from a future rotation anchor and we’re glad to get behind him at prices like this.
Zach Wheeler (RHP - PHI) is dealing it at the age of 31. He’s Exhibit #84576 of What to Believe Edition. His velocity/xBB%/swing and miss remains rock solid, but Ks and GB have veered crazily from his norm. We checked out Wheeler’s spin rate and everything seems normal other than his sinker, where his spin rate is higher than it’s ever been. Wheeler uses his sinker/slider 18.4% of the time, which is second to his fastball. Zach Wheeler is putting up Cy Young numbers this year and we have to wonder if it’s legit. Regardless, this bet is more about backing the value on Anderson and the Braves.
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Atlanta +126 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.52)