MLB Daily Betting Model, 5/9: Is Chris Bassitt Bound for Success with the Athletics?
John E. Sokolowski, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Chris Bassitt
- Sean Zerillo's MLB model helps to find edges in betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game and First 5 (F5) innings.
- He analyzes the full slate of games on May 9 with his model below, and highlights Reds-Athletics (3:37 p.m. ET) and Rangers-Astros (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.
Wednesday had a lot of great moments, including this ridiculous game-saving home run robbery by Jackie Bradley Jr. (“JBJ”):
Jackie Bradley Griffey Jr. has returned. pic.twitter.com/CloRlwR5wI
— Mark Dondero (@MarkDondero) May 9, 2019
I like the side-by-side of JBJ and Griffey above because it shows you the level of difficulty on last night’s catch. Griffey had multiple seconds to camp under his ball, time his jump, and snag the ball with his forehand.
JBJ made his catch on a dead sprint turned into a leap, with his backhand at full extension. This is a 10/10 on the difficulty scale, and arguably the catch of the season:
However, something else occurred that is ever rarer than a pulled-back walk-off home run.
Clayton Kershaw gave up an opposite-field home run on a curveball. How often does this happen? Well…..
Only one other Kershaw curveball to be hit for an opposite field HR – by Kris Bryant in 2015
— Corey March (@marchmadness26) May 9, 2019
It was a bit of a hanger from Kershaw, but the one-handed follow-through by Ronald Acuña Jr. is preternatural.
This is your daily reminder that the 21-year-old outfielder is a still-improving generational superstar.
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 0-4 against full-game moneylines, and 1-2 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My actual picks went 3-3. I was up 0.11 units for the day.
It was another positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 28 and 10 cents respectively on my two Pirates F5 moneyline bets (-112 and -130 to -140), 22 cents on the Mariners F5 moneyline (+122 to +100), 20 cents on the Mets moneyline (+133 to +113), and a penny on the Nationals F5 line, but lost 22 cents on the Blue Jays F5 line (+100 to +122).
On Deck for Thursday, May 9
The model recommends three full-game moneylines and two moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Thursday.
As of writing, the 4% trigger threshold officially marked the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Texas Rangers as the full-game plays. It also likes the Pirates and Rangers as F5 plays.
I’m happy to back the Pirates for a third straight day, though I will only be playing them in the F5 part of the game. Their bullpen is completely taxed after a 13-inning game on Sunday, and just 8.0 combined innings from their starters over the past two days.
They also blew a 6-2 lead yesterday, surrendering seven runs over the final two innings in a 9-6 loss.
I’m more excited to play the Rangers, in both halves of their game, with their best pitcher on the mound against a division rival.
I told you to back Mike Minor on the road at Seattle on April 27, and he turned in a career-high 13 strikeouts over seven innings in a 15-1 victory.
On May 3, the lefty dominated again (8 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K) against the Blue Jays, lowering his ERA to 2.40 with a 48:14 strikeout to walk ratio over 48.2 innings pitched.
Minor isn’t quite in Ace territory, he owns a 3.48 FIP and a 4.08 xFIP, but his whiff rate (11.6%) is roughly where it was out of the bullpen with the Royals two seasons ago, even though his arsenal has undergone serious changes.
Minor earned a 2.62 FIP in 2017, throwing his fastball and slider a combined 79% of the time. He’s lowered that combined usage to 58.6% in 2019, putting his slider (15.7%) behind both his changeup (25%) and curveball (16.3%).
His opponent, Wade Miley, has overhauled his own arsenal, throwing his cutter 52.5% of the time this season after increasing its usage from 12% in 2017 with Baltimore to 42% last season in Milwaukee.
Perhaps as a result, Miley has thrived on a low BABIP (under .240) for the past two seasons – but his xFIP (4.71) says that his 3.20 ERA is due to regress, as he’s striking out less than 14% of hitters (5.26 K/9).
The Rangers have the better arm on the mound, and Minor has been able to go deep into games – mostly avoiding the Rangers self-destructive bullpen. They also have the highest scoring offense in baseball (5.9 runs per game), though they have performed much better against right-handed pitching than against lefties (121 vs. 98 OPS+).
That’s one reason that I also like the Under 9 in this game. I have the total projected at 8.0 runs, and played the Under last night, but have also considered buying out of the bet at plus-money after seeing some sharp action on the Over.
I also played the Arizona Diamondbacks at open at plus-money, as Luke Weaver is dominating with his changeup, but the line has now settled in closer to what I consider to be fair odds, and I no longer see any value on that game at current prices.
One game that I don’t show any edge on that I still like is on the Oakland Athletics at home against the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s only a small sample size of 2019 data, but I love what I have seen from Chris Bassitt.
Over 25 innings pitched between Triple-A and the major leagues this season, Bassitt has a 31:8 strikeout to walk (K:BB) ratio; significant considering that he’s only averaged 7.39 strikeouts per nine innings with a 2:09 K:BB ratio over his 208 major league innings.
He feels healthy for the first time in three years after Tommy John Surgery, his velocity is up from last season (92.8 mph to 93.9 mph) and his swinging strike rate (12.7%) blows away both his 2018 (6.8%) and career (8.1%) results.
Chris Bassitt is super interesting. Small sample caveats, but can't get much better than his two starts.
FF (+10% usage): 16.7% SwStr👀
3 pitches > 20% SwStr
CU: Career 53 wRC+
CH: Career 0 wRC+#FantasyBaseball
— BatFlip Crazy (@batflipcrazy) May 2, 2019
As the proud owner of an (extremely grumpy) Basset Hound, I’m required to bet on her favorite pitcher and almost-namesake. I’ll pass along your complaints to her (she will send some back, I’m sure) if the pick doesn’t work out.
Bets (So Far) for May 9
- Arizona Diamondbacks (+105) Game Moneyline
- Oakland Athletics (-143) Game Moneyline
- Pittsburgh Pirates (+125) F5 Moneyline
- Texas Rangers (+135) F5 Moneyline
- Texas Rangers (+151) Game Moneyline
- Under 9, Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 5/9
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.