Today's Free Picks for
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Cleveland -1½ +125 over Minnesota
7:10 PM EST. After six starts, Shane Bieber has one victory, two losses and a 4.13 ERA. There is nothing eye-opening about his average start but there’s lots to like. For one, he has a strong BB/K split of 9/29 in 33 innings. He’s pitching deeper into games and his pitching IQ (the way he sequences) is also very good. Shane Bieber is just 27 years old. He looked like a sure Cy Young contender when he dominated in 2020 before he landed on the IL with shoulder issues. We don’t know if he’ll ever return to his 2020 level but his improving metrics and past history demonstrates what he’s capable of with remarkable clarity. He’s still very good.
Devin Smeltzer (LHP - MIN) is a 26-year-old lefty that will make his season debut here. Smeltzer appeared in one game last year, seven games (six in relief) in 2020 and appeared in 11 games (six as a starter back in 2019). That’s his MLB history and you can throw in a 4.83 MLB xERA. He has started five games at Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate this year (St. Paul’s) and posted a 6/18 BB/K split in 22 innings with a 3.86 ERA.
Smeltzer, a feel-good story player who has transcended great personal difficulty, comes in with a limited profile. 6’3” and 195 pounds, he is another one of the Twins pitching prospects whose only plus tool is the command and/or control of an otherwise pedestrian repertoire. Smeltzer’s fastball is his poorest graded pitch, sitting high 80s and generally graded below average. As is the case with pitchers whose fastball struggles to keep hitters honest, he can get tagged by the longball. Devin Smeltzer has never been able to stick at this level. He’s starting today because the Twinkies need bodies and in case you need it, guess which MLB team leads the majors in OPS versus lefties? If you said the Baseball Team, you would be correct.
Cleveland -1½ +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)