Today's Free Picks for
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N.Y. Yankees -1½ +100 over Minnesota
7:40 PM EST. Chris Archer (RHP - MIN) is not a great option most of the time. He can barely survive four innings or get past 75 pitches. He’s completed five innings once in 10 starts this year and that came against a Detroit team that owned a terrible .197 BA and .535 OPS on the road. This is a starter that pitched 19 innings all of last year because of injuries (forearm/hip). This year we’re seeing a serious fly-ball spike. He throws a change-up about 11% of the time between his fastballs and curveballs. He has ditched his sinker, which is notable. Chris Archer comes in with a 5.10 xERA and he’ll now bring his fly-ball profile to face a Yankees’ team that feasts off of fly-ball pitchers. Personally, I’ll have a bunch of parlays working with Yankees -3½ +230.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Nestor Cortes (LHP - NYY) was just a guy. Some back-of-the-roster filler, a pitcher in his mid-20s who was already on his third organization in three years. We had previously described him as a pitcher who absolutely needed deception and the disruption of a batters’ rhythm to succeed.
Cortes was fringe in every sense of things, and also posted a 6.72 ERA over 79 MLB innings from 2018 through 2020. Cortes also gave up 11 hits and 2.7 homers per nine innings, too, so it’s safe to say the ERA wasn’t misleading in aggregate.
And now here he is in 2022, an anchor in the Yankees’ rotation—a seemingly key piece for the organization that originally drafted him back in 2013, lost him to the Rule 5 draft, had him returned, then traded him to the Mariners before re-signing him as a free agent a season later. Cortes has gone from that life to one as one of three pitchers to log at least 11 strikeouts in multiple games in this young campaign, along with Shohei Ohtani and Eric Lauer, and had a no-hitter going against the Rangers into the eighth inning recently.
Cortes’ success didn’t just begin this spring, either. He thrived as a reliever for a month from the end of May through June last season, allowing just two earned runs in that time while striking out 25 over 17.2 frames. The Yankees slotted Cortes into the rotation in July, and he responded by continuing to pitch notably well: sure, the numbers weren’t quite as good as they had been in relief, but they got a 3.07 ERA out of him over 14 starts, and while the homer rate was still a tad high, it was also down a dinger per nine from where it was in the before times.
The long ball has been a non-factor in Cortes’ first six 60 innings, with just four allowed so far, and the strikeouts have only gone up in ways no one scouting his performances just a few years ago would have ever dreamed of. The lefty has punched out 68 batters in 60 innings with 14 walks issued. He's using a cutter more and getting a lot of whiffs with the pitch while allowing a .137 BA against. The ratios and strikeouts will fall off a bit, but Cortes has been outstanding and it’s legit. It’s also worth noting that the Yankees own the Twins and have so for years.
N.Y. Yankees -1½ +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)