Royals vs. Angels Odds, Preview, Prediction: Top KC Prospect Makes Debut vs. Los Angeles (Monday, June 7)
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Jackson Kowar
- The Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels begin a series on Monday in Anaheim.
- Jackson Kowar will make his MLB debut for KC against the struggling Dylan Bundy.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down the matchup and makes his betting prediction below.
Royals vs. Angels Odds
|Time||9:38 p.m. ET|
With only three MLB games on the slate, Royals vs. Angels is one of the few games for baseball fans to choose from tonight.
Kansas City heads to Los Angeles with a bit of a surprising 29-28 record as most people did not expect the Royals to be over .500 after two months of play. The Royals sit third in the AL Central and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
The Angels, on the other hand, are 27-32 and in fourth place in the AL West. Los Angeles continues to be without superstar Mike Trout and it looks like we will get an MLB postseason without baseball’s best player for the seventh straight year.
Kowar Set For Kansas City Debut
Monday night will mark the MLB debut for right-hander Jackson Kowar. The 24-year-old is Kansas City’s No. 4 prospect and has dominated Triple-A this season. In six starts for the Omaha Storm Chasers, Kowar is 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA. He has allowed just three runs and tallied 41 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings.
Kowar, who was teammates at University of Florida with fellow Royals pitcher Brady Singer, was just named Minor League Baseball’s Triple-A Pitcher of the Month. Kowar throws his fastball in the upper 90s and has a dominant changeup, which is his go-to pitch. He has also pitched much better this season than in the past thanks to the improvement of his curveball, which was his focus at the alternate training site last year.
Kansas City’s offense is very top-heavy and has been middle-of-the-pack this season. The Royals rank 14th in runs per game and 18th in OPS, however they are ninth in batting average. Over the last two weeks, Kansas City has been hitting the ball really well, ranking eighth in OPS and second in batting average. They have scored the second-most runs in the league over the last two weeks.
The top of the Kansas City lineup in Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi have been the stars as expected. When they are hitting the ball, good things happen for the Royals. 31-year old catcher Salvador Perez also continues to produce, clubbing 14 home runs this season and leading the team in hits, RBI and home runs.
Can Angels’ Offense Prop Up Bundy?
On the other side of Kowar’s debut will be right-hander Dylan Bundy. The thing about Bundy is — he is not very good. In 10 starts this season, Bundy is 0-6 with a 6.49 ERA. He posted a 9.70 ERA in his last five starts and has allowed at least four runs in four straight games.
Teams are batting .259 with a .354 wOBA against Bundy this season. While his expected numbers are slightly better at .239 xBA and .316 xwOBA, they still aren’t great by any means. Teams are hammering Bundy’s sinker and changeup this year, batting better than .300 with an wOBA of more than .400 against both of those pitches. In his 10 starts this year, he has allowed a home run in seven of them, and has given up seven long balls in the last three games.
Obviously losing Trout is devastating for the Angels’ lineup, although the offense has not totally fallen off a cliff. Since Trout’s injury, the Angels rank 13th in average, 12th in wOBA and 10th in wRC+. They were top 10 in all categories before the Trout injury, but haven’t been horrible without him.
The biggest story this season has been Shohei Ohtani. LA’s designated hitter has hit 16 home runs and leads the Angels in runs and RBI. Jared Walsh is also having a breakout season, batting .301 with a .924 OPS and 13 home runs. Justin Upton has also been red hot over the last couple of weeks.
While it can be scary to bet on a guy making his MLB debut and Kowar is a big unknown at the MLB level, Bundy is known, and he’s not very good.
Los Angeles has lost seven of Bundy’s 10 starts this season. He has allowed at least two runs in every single start and has surrendered 21 total runs in his last four starts. In 38 plate appearances against Bundy, Benintendi is batting .344 against him with a home run and Perez and Soler have both taken Bundy deep as well.
Even if Bundy pitches decent, the Angels’ bullpen ranks 27th in ERA this season and defensively, the Angels lead the league with 45 errors and have the worst fielding percentage in the league.
I think Kansas City can win this game, and will likely bet them as +135 underdogs. However, I feel the best bet here is on the Royals’ team total against Bundy and the Angels’ bullpen.
Pick: Royals Team Total over 4 (+100) (or over 3.5 to -125)