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Texas +187 over N.Y. Yankees
1:05 PM EST. One has to wonder how many young pitching prospects Coors Field has chewed up and spit out over the years, but if one were to stand out, Jon Gray (RHP - TEX), now 30, might be the best or at least the most high profile example. Gray was the #3 overall pick by the Rockies way back in 2013. Gray navigated that thin, skunky mountain air for seven seasons showing some real promise at times. He posted an excellent ground ball rate in 2019 (50.4%) and consistently racked up the strikeouts (ranging from 8.85 K/9 in his rookie season to 9.48 K/P in his final year in Denver), with the only exception being the pandemic shortened 2020 season. His last season with the Rocks may have been his best, posting an xERA of 3.95, which in Denver might as well be 1.95.
This past offseason, Gray moved on for sunnier pastures in Arlington. So far, on the surface, it may look like Gray is struggling in his new digs with an ERA of 7.50, but that surface number does not do him justice. Gray’s xERA is 3.78, which is his lowest since 2017. His walks are down a tick, but most importantly, his strand rate is a very unlucky 45.5%. When that strand rate inevitably corrects to something normal, his surface ERA will also correct to the good.
For the Yankees, Nestor Cortes (LHP - NYY) will take the bump and he stands in sharp contrast to Gray, as a barely drafted (round 36, 2013) journeyman, who is on his third team (although it’s his second stint in New York) since 2018. In 2022, Cortes looks pretty good on the surface for the Pinstripers, but it does not take long for one to pick him apart. A weak groundball rate of 32.2% is an alarming number. His fortunate 86.2% strand rate is unsustainable. With the Rangers being the third most disciplined hitting team in all of MLB, Cortes’ might be in for a little tougher outing. It also doesn’t hurt that the Yanks have a big series with the Blue Jays on deck starting tomorrow.
Texas +187 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.74)