MLB Betting Preview | Pitchers to Buy, Fade This Week, Including Shane Bieber & Framber Valdez

MLB Betting Preview | Pitchers to Buy, Fade This Week, Including Shane Bieber & Framber Valdez article feature image

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Framber Valdez (Astros)

The daily grind of betting MLB can be grueling, but one of the ways you can attempt to gain an edge is by looking ahead at pitching matchups worth targeting.

As you know, a starting pitching matchup is the most integral part of assessing a game from a value standpoint.

While most sportsbooks don’t post lines until approximately a day in advance — once starting pitching matchups are confirmed — if you’re on top of the ball, you can jump on pitchers with value before the markets adjust post-opening and create positive ROI.

With that, here are five pitchers I’m either going to be looking to buy or sell this week based on their projected matchups.

Alex Faedo, Detroit Tigers

Projected Start: Tuesday vs. Texas Rangers (Martin Perez)

The Alex Faedo breakout season is finally here. After battling Tommy John surgery and struggling in limited action in 2022, the former first-round pick has looked extremely sharp in the month of May. 

Faedo has a three-pitch arsenal and while he’s not an overpowering arm, his command is excellent. The right-hander has a 25.6 K-BB rate and induces soft contact at a high rate. Opponents have just a .223 xBA against Faedo, who's due for some positive regression. 

Across his four starts, Faedo has a 4.15 ERA. Expected indicators sit in the low-to-mid 3s. He’s been quite unlucky with a 65.8 LOB% and a 20.0 HR/FB rate, both of which should regress positively given Faedo’s tendency to limit hard contact and near-30% strikeout rate. 

His lone blip this season has been that home run bug. He’s given up at least one home run in all four starts, and it’s the main way opponents are able to plate runs against the right-hander. 

Faedo looked extremely sharp against the White Sox last week. He struck out 10 across six innings while giving up two runs on three hits.

I expect that success to continue on Tuesday when he faces Martin Perez and the Texas Rangers. 

We should grab a nice plus-money price with Faedo in an opportunity to also fade an overvalued Perez. The left-hander has seen his strikeout rate drop while his xBA (.278) and xERA (4.61) have taken a step back from 2022. 

Perez enters with back-to-back starts where he gave up just two runs over seven innings, but given his necessity to pitch to contact and 79.7 LOB%, I expect negative regression in the coming weeks. 

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Guardians

Projected Start: Wednesday vs. Baltimore Orioles (TBD)

How the mighty have fallen. 

It seems like every week we discuss the luckbox that has become Shane Bieber. His velocity has dropped year over year, and the end result has been a drastic decline in his strikeouts.

He went from being one of the most elite swing-and-miss pitchers in 2020 (41.1 K%) and has since seen that number dwindle in 2021 (33.1%), 2022 (25.0%) and now 2023 (16.8%)!

The byproduct has been a ballooned xBA (.293) and xSLG (.453) from previous years. He’s no longer the same pitcher he once was despite a 3.04 ERA.

That’s a bit misleading and looking at expected metrics, his xERA sits nearly two runs higher (4.90) than actual. His xFIP is not too far behind (4.36). 

I would expect Bieber’s LOB% to not remain above 80 this season given his decline in velocity and increase in hard-hit rate. He’s getting out of jams despite both a decreased ground ball and strikeout rate. Opponents just haven’t been able to make him pay. 

Grayson Rodriguez was demoted to Triple-A — if you follow me, that’s a huge sigh of relief — and there’s not a starter named to face against Bieber on Wednesday in Baltimore.

But this is a great spot to fade the right-hander, whether it’s a ML or TT play. 

Similar to Framber Valdez last week against Oakland, we should be able to find value in fading a big name like Bieber, who has taken a step back once again in 2023.

It’s only a matter of time before he begins his decline. 

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Shane Bieber (Guardians)

Framber Valdez, Houston Astros

Projected Start: Thursday vs. Los Angeles Angels (Reid Detmers)

I wrote about Valdez last week, and we cashed on the Oakland Athletics team total despite some inability to convert with runners in scoring position.

But I’m back, and I will be fading him once against on Thursday against the Angels. 

Watching nearly the entirety of that Astros-A’s game proved one thing to me: Valdez is lucky to not have been hit harder. He gave up a ton of hard contact — albeit, often without anyone on — and was able to find his way out of jams with chases out of the zone or soft contact from the lowly Athletics. 

But this year, there’s a bit of concern for the southpaw.

Last season, he was able to limit barrels (5.8%) and hard-contact (.330). Opponents had just a .227 xBA, too. But this year, despite an uptick in velocity, Valdez has taken a step back across the board. 

The end result is a career-worst barrel rate (8.9%), xBA (.256) and xSLG (.412). His ERA is 2.38 while his xERA sits over a run and a half higher at 4.02. 

Valdez is a great pitcher that doesn’t walk many batters despite consistently living outside of the zone with his curveball. But there’s major concern considering his average exit velocity on balls in play sits at 92.4 mph (bottom 4% of all pitchers). 

The Angels rank seventh in wRC+ against left-handed pitching and have a nice matchup at home against Valdez. This is a more well-rounded lineup that sits inside the top 10% in walk rate against lefties, too. 

Depending on the price, I will be looking to back the Angels against Valdez in some way, whether it’s a TT over or a F5 ML pick.

I’ve continually backed Reid Detmers over the last few weeks and continue to buy into the left-hander’s step forward in 2023. 

The betting tools used by the pros

Best bets & signals for every game

Projections from proven pros

Profitable betting system picks

Pablo Lopez, Minnesota Twins

Projected Start: Thursday vs. Cleveland Guardians (Tanner Bibee)

Despite his ERA jumping above four for the first time since 2019, there’s plenty of reasons to buy into Pablo Lopez being struck by positive regression in the next month. 

In the right-hander's first season with the Twins, he's seen his strikeout rate jump seven percent, and he ranks in the 90th percentile of all pitchers in chase rate. His xBA (.216) has taken another step forward, too.

A big reason for this change could be the introduction of his sweeper. It’s been his best swing and miss pitch (40.4%), sitting around the mid-80s and thrown a quarter of the time. It has replaced his cutter in a five-pitch arsenal.

All expected indicators point toward Lopez bouncing back next month. His xERA (3.56) sits over a half-run lower than actual (4.11) and his xFIP is just shy of that mark (3.70). 

He’ll face off with Tanner Bibee, a rookie that hasn't looked the part in his first month plus. The right-hander has been lights out, giving up more than two runs just once in his six starts this year. He enters with 19 2/3 innings of four run ball on 11 hits and 19 strikeouts. 

Bibee does everything you want in a pitcher. He limits hard contact and barrels. Opponents have just a .217 xBA against the right-hander who has great command — he’s walked one batter or less in all but one start — and has a 25% strikeout rate. 

His slider-changeup combo is lethal and generates the majority of swings and misses. So long as those pitches are working and Bibee is generating chases, he’s hard to overcome with a mid-to-high 90s heater. 

Both of these pitchers have been extremely impressive to me and while the numbers may not have followed suit with Lopez, I expect positive regression in the coming weeks.

If the game opens close to a PK, I will look toward the Twins' way. Otherwise, an under may be the move between two strong arms. 

Dean Kremer, Baltimore Orioles

Projected Start: Friday vs. San Francisco Giants (Logan Webb)

If you’ve followed me this season, Dean Kremer has slowly put himself alongside Bryce Elder as the luckiest pitchers in baseball. 

The right-hander has a 4.58 ERA through two months and has logged five consecutive starts of 5+ innings and three or less runs.

I’m expecting that to change against a Giants offense that crushes righties (6th in wRC+ vs. RHP). 

Kremer’s xERA (6.47) is nearly two runs higher than actual and he ranks in the bottom 10% of all pitchers in hard-hit rate (48.9%), xBA (.301) and xSLG (.547). He doesn’t generate consistent swings and misses and is often barreled. 

Even last season, Kremer ran on luck. While his strikeout rate has slightly improved this year, he ranks 14th in chase rate. His command can at times become an issue, too. Yet despite all that and his inability to induce soft contact, Kremer has been able to mitigate damage. 

He’ll match up with Giants ace Logan Webb on Friday night. That’s a perfect buy spot for the Giants, who’ll likely open as short favorites.

If not, a F5 TT over is probably in play. Webb has been extremely impressive once again, with a .229 xBA and a strikeout rate that has jumped to a career-best 26.9%. His walks have been cut down, too. 

There’s not much to add about Kremer. He’s been fortunate thus far and after a strong May, he’s on my short list of consistent fades in June. 

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.