MLB Daily Betting Model, 5/28: Can Zach Plesac Win His MLB Debut Against David Price?
Troy Taormina, USA Today Sports. Pictured: David Price
- Sean Zerillo's MLB model helps you find edges when betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game and First 5 (F5) innings.
- He analyzes the full slate of games on May 28 with his model below and highlights Indians-Red Sox (7:10 p.m. ET) and Astros-Cubs (8:10 p.m. ET) as potential edges.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
Opening Day was officially March 28, which means that we’re basically two months deep into the Major League Baseball season.
I already need a nap:
Ok, I’m up. Time to stretch:
Joey Votto is a national treasure 😂 pic.twitter.com/nP1cuL5XPu
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) May 28, 2019
And now let’s take some practice swings:
If anyone sees any of those Monstars from Space Jam running around let me know, they stole something from me pic.twitter.com/pu86JTATWy
— Joey Votto (@EvilJoeyVotto) May 23, 2019
Ok, good to go.
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 1-2 against full-game moneylines (with the Marlins beating Max Scherzer as a +255 underdog) and 1-1-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My tracked plays went 3-3, and I was down 0.22 units for the day.
Monday was a slightly positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 25 cents on the Rangers F5 spread (-130 to -155) 5 cents on the their F5 moneyline (+105 to +100), and 15 cents on the Mets F5 spread (-110 to -125).
However, I lost 7 cents on the Cleveland moneyline (+158 to +165) and 3 cents on the Mets F5 moneyline (+135 to +138)
On Deck for Tuesday, May 28
The model recommends two full-game moneylines and one moneyline for the first five innings (F5) on Tuesday.
As of writing, the 4% trigger threshold officially marked the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros as the full-game plays. It also likes the Minnesota Twins as an F5 play at over 3%.
I’ll grab all three plays, and will also take the Tampa Bay Rays against the spread at plus-money against yet another lefty starting pitcher.
For $100 flat bettors, Tampa Bay remains the most profitable team in baseball on the runline since the beginning of the 2018 season: 122-89, +$2,811, 13.3% ROI. The next closest teams are the Twins (5.9%) and the Yankees (5.5%), with nearly a $1500 profit gap between them and the Rays.
Though Tampa Bay has a better offensive split against right-handed pitching in 2019 (7th in wOBA, 4th in wRC+ vs. righties; 21st and 17th vs. lefties), they are still 10-4 against the spread vs. lefties (5-2 as either a favorite or a dog), and 39-22 (+$1,141, 23.6% ROI) dating back to last season.
The Twins showed a 3% edge on the F5 moneyline line when I played them, but it was the highest F5 edge so far of the day so I’m designating it as a recommended play.
They’re the most profitable team on the F5 moneyline in 2019: 35-14-4, +$1,563, 29.5% ROI. The next best teams are the Rays (18.2%), Athletics (16.6%), and Brewers (13.4%).
Martin Perez has started throwing a cutter one-third of the time since joining the Twins this offseason, which has apparently unlocked something in his skill set.
His swinging strike rate is up from 7.25% from 2017-2018 to 11% in 2019, raising his strikeout rate to 8.7 batters per nine innings (career 5.69).
Perez is still walking too many batters (four per nine innings) but his FIP (3.70) and xFIP (4.36) suggests that while he is not on his way to a Cy Young caliber season (even at 7-1 with a sub 2.95 ERA at present) he is still probably in the midst of a career year.
I shouldn’t have to fight you too hard to take the Astros at home at a reasonable price. I’ve previously argued my case for Corbin Martin, and Jon Lester is a pitcher who sharp bettors typically tend to fade.
After a strong beginning to his 2019 campaign, Lester has given up 12 runs and 17 hits over his last 8.1 innings pitched.
Martin is coming off of a couple of rough outings of his own and needs to show better command of his fastball and changeup tonight, but he should get a slight confidence boost by forming a battery with his former minor league teammate Garrett Stubbs, who will be making his major league debut.
Lastly, I’m taking Cleveland at a big price at Fenway Park. Cleveland’s fair odds are probably closer to +150 (or 40%) for this game tonight, but the public sees David Price going up against some no-name rookie and immediately backs Boston.
You should know more about Zach Plesac. The 24-year-old was drafted out of Ball State in 2016, falling to the 12th round after Tommy John surgery ended his senior year prematurely.
As is typical for pitchers recovering from Tommy John, Plesac started to regain in his form (and confidence) in his second full season after surgery. He pitched to a 3.79 ERA and a 132:37 strikeout to walk ratio over 26 starts (144.2 IP) between High-A and Double-A in 2018.
He made it impossible for the Indians not to promote him (especially with Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger currently sidelined) over nine minor league starts in 2019: 57.1 IP, 1.41 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 7 BB, 56 K. He walked one batter over three starts in Triple-A.
Plesac doesn’t have a dominant arsenal. He sits around 93-94 mph with his fastball but has touched 97 mph in 2019, and he has a plus changeup. His two breaking balls are fringy offerings at present.
Pleasac has good command and trusts the defenders behind him to make plays. He threw a 74-pitch complete-game shutout in 2018, in a game that lasted two hours and two minutes.
Eat your heart out, Greg Maddux.
Bets (So Far) for May 28
- Cleveland Indians (+194) Game Moneyline
- Houston Astros (-125) Game Moneyline
- Minnesota Twins (-130) F5 Moneyline
- Tampa Bay Rays (-1.5, +115) Game Spread
- Over 8.5, Kansas City at Chicago
- Under 10.5, St. Louis at Philadelphia
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 5/28
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.