Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
8:05 PM EST. If we’re betting the Rockies based on the doubleheader fade, we therefore must bet the Royals too based on the same strategy. However, we also like the favorable pitching matchup here in the Royals favor as well.
Hector Santiago is 4-2 after eight starts with a 3.80 ERA. At home, Santiago is 3-0 after four starts with a 2.59 ERA so his stock is high and that makes us instant sellers on this below average starter. Santiago’s career xERA shows he’s been pushing his luck for years, saved by higher than normal strand rates and for the last two seasons lower than normal hit rates. That doesn’t mean he won’t be lucky today but it means that he’s very hittable and overpriced because of it. Santiago comes in with a xERA of 5.22 at home, which is not close to his actual 2.59 home ERA. He’s a pitcher that does not own even one good skill. He’s walked 18 batters in 45 frames but his first-pitch strike rate is awful at 52%. He has a mere 32 K’s with a below average swing and miss rate of 7%. His career groundball/fly-ball rate split is 33%/48% and this year it’s almost identical at 34%/46%. Santiago’s WHIP over his last five starts is 1.58 and his first-pitch strike rate over that same span is 46%! One simply cannot combine this many fly balls with this many free passes and hope to succeed. He’s surviving on nothing but pure luck right now but when it inevitably runs out, things will get ugly fast.
Nathan Karns is another undervalued arm worth investing in. His skills so far in 2017 have been very strong with 9.2 K’s/9, 3.1 BB’s/9 and a 57% groundball rate. With his ability to induce groundballs and miss bats (12.1% swing and miss rate), he's someone who could sustain a sub-4 ERA after his 19% hr/f comes down. Nathan Karns is by far the superior pitcher here. His actual ERA of 4.46 is misleading and provides us with an opportunity to buy low. Karns’ 3.11 xERA reveals just how good he’s been under the hood and once again it is the reason we do not buy surface stats. Buying Karns is the right play.
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Kansas City -1½ +170 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.40)