Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 11:20 AM EST and are subject to change.
Washington +115 over Cincinnati
6:40 PM EST. We had been playing the Reds frequently since they’re 4-22 start because they were grossly undervalued but now that they’re favored, it’s time to switch gears, at least for this one.
Graham Ashcraft (RHP - CIN) has started two games since his call up and has posted a 1.69 ERA over 11 frames. It looks very pretty on the surface but underneath, it’s not pretty at all. He has just 4 K’s in those 11 innings. He has walked four also. Given his mostly-exclusive reliance on two pitches – mid-90s cutter and strong slider – some see an eventual move to the bullpen. Ashcraft is all about power, but that heat is derived from a max-effort, jerky delivery. This has resulted in inconsistent control and spotty fastball command. The Reds have worked with him to continue the development of his rarely-used change-up, but it hasn’t ascended into a reliable offering. Two-picth pitchers are disasters waiting to happen.
Ashcraft has avoided disaster because of a high 84.6% strand rate and a low .212 BABIP. The league averages for those two luck-driven stats is 74.3% and .270 respectively. His swing and miss rate is also very low at 4.8%. This is a starter with extremely misleading numbers, which will continue to provide us with opportunities.
Speaking of misleading numbers, Joan Adon has a 6.08 ERA after 10 starts. He’s also 1-8. On paper, Joan Adon looks like this: 1-8 with a 6.08 ERA. That is going to stick out to a market hungry for something simple but we’re urging you to look closer because Joan Adon has filthy stuff. Buy low my friends.
Adon has reworked his mechanics in order to throw more strikes. Manager Dave Martinez had noticed the right-hander’s mechanics were off during a recent start, so Adon and pitching coach Jim Hickey got together for a bullpen session. Hickey worked to help Adon slow down and solidify mechanics (like staying in his legs) that would get results.
Adon accomplished that goal. He threw 54 strikes out of 84 pitches, including seven first-pitch strikes, and he did not walk a batter all night. It marked his first game without issuing a walk this year, after walking five batters in each of his prior two starts. “I’ve been working on it this whole week,” Adon said via interpreter Octavio Martinez. “And after the bad start last time with my control and command, with the five walks, it feels good to be able to command the zone today and actually throw a lot more strikes.”
His Zone% in that start (May 17th) was 49%. Only one other time it was over that (55% on April 19th) and he threw over six shutout innings with five strikeouts and two walks. His last game, Adon went six again and allowed six hits and zero earned runs. His groundball rate in his last five starts is an elite 57% (62% last game). Joan Adon is a pitcher to put on your radar. As an underdog here, he and the Nats are very worthy.
Washington +115 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.30)