Today’s slate features a team that, as of the writing of this introduction, has a 7.8 implied Vegas total. How rare is that? Before 2019, pretty rare – from 2014 to 2019, it happened twice – on July 10th, 2016 (The Rockies had an implied total of 7.8 against the Phillies) and on August 28th, 2017 (The Rockies had an implied total of 7.9 against the Tigers). This year it’s already happened five times, including twice outside of Coors! The five games were the Yankees hosting the Blue Jays on June 25th (7.8 implied total), the Astros on the road in Coors against the Rockies on July 3rd (7.8), the Rockies hosting the Giants on July 17th (with the record high implied total of 8.2), the Rockies hosting the Marlins on August 17th (with an 8 implied total), and finally the Red Sox hosting the Orioles on August 18th (7.8 implied total). If you expect me to try to do a statistical analysis on these games to see any pattern, well that’d be remarkably silly, as the sample size of 7 games would limit any study to be statistically meaningless. If you open the range of implied total up to say, 7.5 or above you may get a sample size of note, but there are people way smarter than me who have already done such analysis. It shouldn’t take advanced analysis to know you want to play the bats on a team with a 7.8 implied total. Especially when they aren’t priced that high, which is the case today. But I’ll get to that in the picks. But before I do, let me say that by the time I went back to proof-read this introduction, the implied total had risen to 8.1 (which means there’s only two other instances since 2014).
On to the picks…
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Gerrit Cole, P: $12,000 – Cole is the best pitcher on the slate now that Scherzer is on a pitch count. Cole strikes out a nice and tidy 35.7% and only walks 7.1% with both of those numbers being better this year than last (37.3% strikeouts and 6.3% walks). While the Rays don’t strike out a ton, the other top options on the slate aren’t in strikeout spots either and aren’t the strikeout pitcher Cole is. If you can get here, you should.
Anthony Desclafani, P: $7,600 – The Marlins are hot garbage fire. The end. But in all seriousness, Desclafani vs righties is pretty good, he strikes out 24.6%, walks 4.3% and gets 49.2% groundballs. The Marlins are projected to bat 7 righties who strike out 26.8% of the time. For $7,600, that will do.
Boston Red Sox – At this point in the season, you don’t need any convincing to play Boston Red Sox hitters, in Coors with an implied team total of 8.1, at quite affordable prices for who they are and what they can do (Betts at $4,500? Devers at $4,600? Come on now). The thing you should be aware of is Peter Lambert gets groundballs vs righties at a pretty decent clip of 53.8%. Mookie’s 33.1% groundball rate is the best on the team followed by Andrew Benintendi (if he plays) with a 38.4%. Considering Benintendi’s sub $4,000 price, he might be the best value play of the elite guys on the team. If Benintendi is not playing, Bradley’s $3,000 price tag is quite attractive since Lambert is below average at groundballs vs lefties (40.2%). The initial targets should be Betts and the lefties, but if you find a way to get Betts, JD, Bogaerts and Devers in an 8.1, it’s not wrong.
Sub $3,000 Players in Coors – Neither Brock Holt, 2B ($2,800) nor Yonathan Daza, OF ($2,500) are such crappy hitters that it justifies being below $3,000 in Coors when both teams have quite high totals (the Rockies are at 5.9 and the Red Sox were previously discussed). I just felt these two deserved a special section due to their comically low prices. Also, I’d like to remind everyone Brock Holt hits from the left side of the plate, and that means that Lambert’s extremely good ground-ball ability to righties (referenced above) is not applicable.
Matt Adams, C/1B: $2,900 – Asher Wojciechowski achieves the trifecta vs lefties, he struggles to get swings and misses (19.6%), walks them (11.2%) and doesn’t get ground balls (31%). Matt Adams (.339 wOBA and .262 ISO) is here to bash baseball for cheap. Juan Soto (.462 wOBA and .262 ISO) is the best play here but he’s also expensive and you may not be able to jam in Red Sox and Cole and another expensive bats.
Mitch Garver, C/1B: $3,400 – Ross Detwiler is an extreme groundball (55.9%) strike thrower (6.1%). We want to find the guys who can put the ball in the air vs him and that one is Mitch Garver and his 30.2% groundball rate vs lefties. He also can hit OK vs them with a .368 wOBA and a .234 ISO. I’m fine with any of the Twins here, but for a 6.1 implied total, you can’t really find any primo plays. Nelson Cruz (.415 wOBA and .368 ISO) is a good play, but his groundball rate is a tad high at 42.6%. Miguel Sano (.343 wOBA, .271 ISO and 39.1% groundballs) is fine, but not spectacular. I will note that Marwin Gonzalez (.338 wOBA, .180 ISO and 40.61% groundballs) is pretty cheap at $2,700 and batting 4th and isn’t a complete disaster.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Might be some rain in New York and 92 degrees in Colorado, which is good for hitters last I heard.
Doing Lines In Vegas
Scherzer’s most likely on a pitch count, so I’ll take the Orioles at +348. Hey, they beat Verlander at like +500, so by standard gambling laws it’s a lock they’ll also win against a pitch-counted Scherzer at +348 right? It’s a can’t miss bet!