Yankees vs. Rays Odds & Pick: Blake Snell Is Undervalued on Friday Night

Credit:

Rob Carr, Getty Images. Pictured: Blake Snell

  • Check out BJ Cunningham's preview of Friday night's Yankees vs. Rays matchup.
  • He analyzes the odds to identify whether there's any betting value before making his pick.

Yankees vs. Rays Betting Odds

Yankees Odds -106 [Bet now]
Rays Odds -110 [Bet now]
Over/Under 8 (-118o/-104) [Bet now]
First Pitch Friday at 6:40 p.m. ET

Odds as of Friday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


After losing six of their last seven games, the Rays now find themselves four games behind the Yankees in the AL East. They’ll send their young ace Blake Snell to mound to face a loaded Yankees lineup.

New York sends Masahiro Tanaka to the hill in hopes he can turn things around from his first start.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.


New York Yankees 

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs

The Yankees have been mashing the ball through their first 12 games, as they lead MLB with a .352 wOBA and 131 wRC+. They’ve been crushing home runs left and right, with 24 already on the season. Aaron Judge has led the Bronx bombers with 7 HRs and .493 wOBA, which ranks second in MLB.

New York obliterated left-handed pitching last season, compiling a .355 wOBA and 123 wRC+. Snell is going to have to be on point with his full arsenal of pitches Friday to shut down this lineup.

Yankees Projected Starter

Masahiro Tanaka, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Masahiro Tanaka had a rough 2019 posting a 4.29 xFIP, which is the worst mark of his career. He has a full arsenal of pitches, but his slider and split finger were his only two effective pitches last season, as everything else got crushed.

Other than his slider, none of his pitches generated a high whiff rate, which also led to his lowest K/9 rate of his career.

The slider was the one pitch the Rays struggled with in 2019, with -19.3 weighted slider runs. Look for Tanaka to utilize his slider a lot against the Rays lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays 

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs

Tampa Bay has gotten off to a slow start offensively with a .297 wOBA and 96 wRC+. They were especially poor against Boston earlier this week with only 5 runs on 13 hits. Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle have been carrying the Rays offensively to begin the season, as they are the only two with wOBAs over .400.

Tanaka should provide the Rays with a good opportunity to get their offense back on track Friday.

Rays Projected Starter

Blake Snell, LHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Snell was a strikeout machine in 2019 posting a 12.36 K/9, which ranked 4th in MLB for starters. That led to an xFIP of 3.31, which ranked 10th in MLB. He’s a CY Young caliber pitch with crazy good stuff, so the Yankees will have their hands full on Friday.

Snell is predominately a fastball pitcher, but he’s got a great one. He averages just over 95 MPH with the heater and does a fantastic job with location, producing a 27.2 whiff rate in 2019.

After that he mainly goes to his curveball and changeup, which have sick movement. His curveball was almost untouchable in 2019, producing a 54.5% whiff rate and a .174 batting average against. As you can see it has some nasty break.

Bullpens

This will be a battle of the two best bullpens in American League, but Rays have the best bullpen in MLB, so they have the advantage in this series.

Projections and Pick

The Yankees lineup is no joke, but the Rays have a significant advantage in the starting pitching and bullpen matchup. Based on my projections, I think there is value in backing the Rays up to -111.

Pick: Rays -111 or better

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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