Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
7:10 PM EST. Robert Stephenson is a work in progress but things are getting progressively better. Stephenson is another high risk/reward pitcher because he has filthy stuff but he loses the plate from time to time. If he’s hitting the strike zone with his pitches, he’s a tremendous bet and that’s the risk here. Stephenson has walked 28 batters in 42 frames but has also whiffed 41 over that same span. In his last start, his first-pitch strike rate was 63%, which is great progress but a small sample. Stephenson’s 15% swing and miss rate reveals his upside but with an 0-3 record in three starts (he appeared in 14 games out of the pen) to go along with his 6.64 ERA, his stock is very low. Stephenson was tabbed a top prospect in 2015. Across his 10 final starts in the minors that season, he boasted a 2.36 ERA and had limited hitters to a .288 (!) slugging percentage, all while maintaining his torrid strikeout pace (10 K’s/9). Fast forward and Stephenson will need to prove he can consistently control and command his plus-combination of mid-90s heat and wicked curve but there is no question that he posseses the stuff to dominate. His 4.67 xERA is below average only because he walks too many but that mark is still two full runs lower than is actual ERA. If Stephenson is throwing strikes, this ticket will cash and if he’s not, it still might cash.
Julio Teheran has been walking a fine line between upper-tier starter and guy you want to avoid at all costs. The question now becomes how do we know which Teheran will show up today? Well, we don’t really know but there are some indications that tip us off. Teheran’s inconsistency has been driven nearly entirely by some massive struggles against left-handed batters. He has a 5.95 ERA, 6.44 xERA and a 1.72 WHIP against them. Cincinnati will possibly send six lefties (Barnhardt, Gennett, Votto, Hamilton, Schebler and Winker) to bat against Teheran with only Zack Cosart and Eugenio Suarez batting right. If Bryan Price (Reds Manager) decides to use Adam Duvall’s right-handed bat instead of Winker or Schebler’s left-handed bat, we can live with that too. All told, Teheran has been miserable against lefties and that’s enough to prompt us to step in.
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Cincinnati +122 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.44)