Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/26: Can Jakob Junis Dominate With Slider vs. Indians?
Denny Medley, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jakob Junis
- 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 Friday's slate of games, including how to bet Royals-Indians.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
If you don’t like betting on losing clubs, you might have some difficulty finding value on Friday’s board – as my projection only recommends betting on five teams, and four of them are the Marlins, Orioles, Royals, and White Sox.
One team that won’t make my card is the Detroit Tigers – who are now 8-36 since the start of June, with a -114 run differential (-2.59 average margin). As they expect to trade Matt Boyd, Nick Castellanosgid-66244 and Shane Greene within the next week, things could only get worse.
So, this happened early Friday morning:
While you were sleeping, Stevie Wilkerson became the 1st position player ever to record a save.
Every pitch was slower than 60 MPH. pic.twitter.com/8lm2VGvz63
— MLB (@MLB) July 26, 2019
None of these pitches (average 54.3 mph) would have warranted a speeding ticket on an American highway, but Wilkerson got the job done in his third pitching appearance of July.
With both teams burning through their bullpens, and the Angels using Friday’s probable starter Griffin Canning for two innings, Baltimore is in a good spot to make it two in a row on Friday.
I originally bet Baltimore at +194 against Canning, but the Angels have yet to announce a new pitcher, and that bet will, unfortunately, be marked as no-action.
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 1-1 against full-game moneylines and 0-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 3-2, and I finished up 0.81 units for the day.
It was a slightly negative day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained eight cents against the Red Sox moneyline (+107 to -101), but lost six cents against the White Sox moneyline (+135 to +141) and five cents against the Rangers moneyline (+170 to +175).
MLB Betting Model for Friday, July 26
Today, the model recommends two full-game moneylines and three moneylines for the first five-innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Marlins and White Sox as full-game plays. The model also likes the White Sox, in addition to the Cardinals and Royals as F5 plays.
Let’s begin with the Royals and Jakob Junis, who returns today from paternity leave following the birth of his son on Wednesday.
If Junis is focused and well-rested, there is clear value in backing the Royals righty on Friday. He has a fun pitch usage graph – notice how his slider overtook his fastball in 2018:
Junis has thrown his slider 47% of the time in 2019, the most for a starter by over 7% – more frequently than Clayton Kershaw (39.6%), Chris Sale (38.9%), Mashiro Tanaka (37.7%), and Matt Boyd (37%).
Kershaw (87 mph) has the fastest slider velocity in the bunch, while Sale (79 mph) has the slowest. Junis (81.7 mph) is on the lower end of the scale, but it doesn’t make the pitch any less effective:
Jakob Junis, 10Ks in 18 Seconds.
Also tied the all-time record for the highest percentage of Ks by Slider in a 10 strikeout game…with 100%. pic.twitter.com/fj3qczezcc
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 16, 2019
Junis ranks fifth in total slider value (+13.1), but he does drop to 15th on a per pitch basis (+1.38), more comparable to Luis Castillo (+1.42), Walker Buehler (+1.30), or Shane Bieber (+1.22) in terms of quality than Max Scherzer (+3.85) or Justin Verlander (+3.04)
His weakness is the longball, allowing a 1.55 HR/9 rate on a 15.3% HR/FB rate in 394.2 career innings, and he’ll need to continue on his current trend of increasing his ground-ball rate — from 40% in 2017 to a high of 45% this season.
Dylan Cease will make his fourth career start for the White Sox, and though he has been up and down (15 H, 9 BB, 17 K in 16 IP), I do like what I have seen from Cease.
He’s getting strike one nearly 70% of the time, using his 95-98 mph fastball to attack hitters before dropping in some wicked secondary stuff:
#WhiteSox No. 3 prospect Dylan Cease notches the first two strikeouts of his #MLB career in a 1-2-3 frame in the 2nd inning of his @MLB debut. Follow/watch live: https://t.co/GJDiVI9cRt pic.twitter.com/gaJprtMK78
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 3, 2019
The curveball is eye-catching, but the sharp slider is the better pitch, and his changeup is already an average offering.
Cease is more than good enough to miss bats in the zone. But in order to get batters to chase at his breaking stuff, he’s going to need to harness his fastball command.
He already has a true four-pitch mix and despite his smaller size (six-foot-two, 190 pounds) Cease has a live arm worth keeping a close eye on:
Cease, Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, and Yoan Moncada are the start of a promising young core in Chicago.
Bets (So Far) for July 26
- Chicago White Sox (+141) Game Moneyline
- Kansas City Royals (+110) F5 Moneyline
- St. Louis Cardinals (+100) F5 Moneyline
- Under 9 (-115), Houston at St. Louis
- Under 9 (-115), Texas at Oakland
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 7/26
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.