Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/28: Can Willie Calhoun Spark the Rangers?
David Berding, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Willie Calhoun
- Sean Zerillo's MLB model helps you find edges when betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game and first five (F5) innings.
- He analyzes Sunday's slate of games, including how to bet Rangers-Athletics.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
After a strong start to the 2019 season, the Texas Rangers (53-52) offense has cratered in July with a 79 wrC+ (27th), including a split that ranks 29th vs. righties (66 wrC+). They are 7-14 this month and have been outscored by 36 runs.
They recently placed Joey Gallo on the IL with a broken hamate bone, and the slugger will be out a minimum of six weeks. He could potentially miss the remainder of the 2019 season if the injury, which is in the wrist and often saps power, doesn’t heal as desired.
To provide the team with an offensive boost, the organization recalled Willie Calhoun from Triple-A, and the young outfielder finally has a clear path to playing time and the chance to flex his own bat in the middle of the Rangers offense.
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 0-0 against full-game moneylines and 0-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
Shortly after publishing, the Nationals replaced Joe Ross with Matt Grace – canceling my three Dodgers wagers as no action, and when I recalculated the fair odds all value disappeared from the game.
My analysis on Ross wasn’t wrong – he entered with a 2-0 lead in the third inning and ultimately gave up seven runs in less than five innings
My plays went 1-5, and I finished down 2.25 units for the day.
It was a slightly mixed day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I lost four cents against the Phillies moneyline (+118 to +122) and gained 26 cents against the five totals that I played, including 14 cents (+100 to -114) on Gerrit Cole’s strikeout prop.
MLB Betting Model for Sunday, July 28
Today, the model recommends four full-game moneyline and four moneylines for the first five-innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Giants, Marlins, Rangers, and Royals as full-game plays. The model also likes the Giants, Rangers, and Royals, in addition to the Orioles as F5 plays.
Let’s start with Willie Calhoun and the Rangers. Standing 5-foot-8, 187 pounds, Calhoun doesn’t look like a power hitter in the mold of Joey Gallo (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), but he has 65 grade, or between plus and plus-plus raw power (Gallo is a rare 80).
Gallo is also a far superior defender – with the ability to play scratch defense in centerfield, whereas Calhoun has moved from second base to a corner outfield position in a concerted effort to hide his glove.
Calhoun was the highlight prospect sent from the Dodgers to the Rangers in the Yu Darvish trade two seasons ago.
Calhoun’s bat was major-league ready when the trade was made, but the Rangers have given him sporadic playing time at the MLB level, leading to Calhoun being disciplined for acting as a malcontent.
Where Calhoun separates himself as a power hitter, in general, is with his bat-to-ball skills. His swinging-strike rate is 6.6% in 2019; Gallo’s career mark is 18.6%.
Calhoun’s home run power is all to his pull side, but if you look at his minor league hit distribution, he’s a spray hitter who goes to all fields:
Compare that to the notorious pull-heavy Gallo, and his base hits at the major league level:
Calhoun had more walks (31) than strikeouts (24) at Triple-A before his recent recall and had just 235 strikeouts against 185 walks in the minors overall.
With an excellent spray hit tool, and big raw pull power, it’s only a matter of time before Calhoun turns into a feared MLB hitter:
At the plate, he looks a bit like Jose Ramirez when Ramirez bats from the left side.
The Rangers seem likely to deal Hunter Pence, and potentially Mike Minor within the next few days and I think July has been a bit of an offensive blip.
So long as Calhoun, Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara, and Shin-Soo Choo stick around, the Rangers offense should continue to hit right-handed pitching for the rest of the season.
Bets (So Far) for July 28
- Miami Marlins (+134) Game Moneyline
- San Francisco Giants (-114) Game Moneyline
- Texas Rangers (+182) Game Moneyline
- Washington Nationals (+110) F5 Moneyline
- Under 9.5 (-120), Astros at Cardinals
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 7/28
Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover the full game and First 5 moneylines and over/unders. A sample of one of the sheets is below.