Monday MLB Picks: How Our Staff Is Betting Giants vs. Rockies
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Chi Chi Gonzalez
With Monday being a common off day in Major League Baseball, only 18 teams will be in action tonight (and perhaps even fewer if Mother Nature has something to say about it).
But of those 18, three have caught the attention of our baseball crew as value plays this evening. Here are our best bets for the Monday slate.
Odds as of 1 p.m. ET.
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.
BJ Cunningham: Phillies +1.5 (+125) vs. Yankees
Arrieta has taken a big step back since joining the Phillies. The reason for that is his sinker is a lot less effective than it used to be.
During his breakout season in 2015, Arrieta was dominant with his sinker, allowing only a .191 BA and a .236 wOBA to his opponents. Fast forward to 2019, and he allowed a .304 BA and a .366 wOBA against his sinker. However, his changeup and curveball were pretty effective in 2019, with a wOBA against below .275. He’ll have to use those two pitches more in 2020 if he wants to get back to some semblance of his 2015 season.
The Phillies have played only four games this season, but they have a wOBA of .367 and 133 wRC+ in those games (those games were against the Marlins so take that with a grain of salt).
Gerrit Cole has been great to begin the season, allowing only four earned on five hits over 11.2 innings in his first two starts. He’s also struck out 12 batters in those first two starts, mainly on his fastball.
Cole is obviously one of the best pitchers in baseball due to his amazing combination of velocity and control. He averages 97.1 mph on his fastball and can top out at over 100 mph. In fact, his fastball rated out as the best in baseball last season (weighted Fastball runs).
His curveball and slider are also some of the best off-speed pitches in the game, producing a whiff rate over 30% and holding opponents to under a .260 wOBA in 2019.
The Yankees offense has been good to start the season, with a .340 wOBA and 121 wRC+. They’ve also been beating up on two of the worst pitching staffs in the league over the past week (Orioles and Red Sox), so keep that in mind.
I have the Yankees projected at -194 in this game, so I think there is some value on the Phillies. I am going to back the Phillies run line of +1.5 at +125 and would bet it down to +115.
Collin Wilson: White Sox Moneyline (-108) vs. Brewers
Due to COVID-19 and a 10-day DL stint, Brett Anderson will make his season debut for the Brewers. Anderson was dealing with a finger issue that may see his pitch count limited against a White Sox team that has been white hot against lefties. The White Sox rank fourth in wRC+ and wOBA against Southpaws along with a BB/K rate in the top 10 of MLB.
Carlos Rodon gets the nod for the South Siders coming off a disastrous start against the Indians. Because of multiple walks and a high Indians BABIP, Rodon went only 3.2 innings. His xFIP at 4.70 was much lower than his initial ERA, as the 27-year-old lefty should improve location through his second start. Look for the White Sox bats to get into the Brewers bullpen early, giving Rodon plenty of room with which to work.
Stuckey: Giants Moneyline (+118) vs. Rockies
I’m not sure if Cueto is all the way right, but I can’t not fade Chi Chi Gonzalez at this number in Coors. The Giants offense has actually impressed me at the plate so far this year.
Neither team has a good pen, but I’ll take the Giants’ relievers by a slight margin. And Chi Chi will probably have a very short leash which means we could see a lot of the awful Rox pen. Good sell-high spot on Colorado here.