Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 11:45 AM EST and are subject to change.
Minnesota -105 over Milwaukee
8:10 PM EST. Trust us when we tell you that we do not like Dylan Bundy (RHP - MIN). Bundy has given up barrels at a high rate, which has contributed to his 4.71/4.55 ERA/xERA split. That said, Bundy's skills have been somewhat solid if you consider strike throwing solid. Dylan Bundy throws strikes and makes the batters hit their way on. That counts for something (see Zack Grienke and others). He’s only walked 17 batters in 80 innings this year while striking out 60. However, this wager is not about getting behind Bundy. A green rookie that can’t throw strikes and who is making his second start of the year after an extremely shaly debut cannot be favored here. The fact that they are has to motivate the Twinkies even more, no?
In today's game, high-end velocity rules the day, so when you see a starter like Ethan Small (LHP - MIN) with a four-seamer topping 92, the immediate reaction isn't "strikeout artist" but that's exactly who Small has been for a long time. 6'4" and 215 pounds, Small is athletic with a frame that'll eat innings. Stuff-wise, he's been a "deception/command" guy up the ladder who "lacks a plus offering" but it's safe to say that Small's change-up, a fringe-average offering at best at the time of his first-round selection by the Brewers in 2019, is now at least a plus offering. However, that fastball was Small's primary option at Mississippi State, where he would pitch solely off of it and was one of the leaders in K/9 in Division I, so the fastball works. Small has optimized his Vertical Approach Angle (VAA) as well as the functional spin on the fastball and he's able to move it all over the zone for an inordinate amount of swing-and-misses. He also varies his delivery timing, hides the ball well, and gets excellent extension down the mound. That, combined with knowing how to pitch, makes Small's profile more impressive than at first glance. However, he still lacks a dependable third offering, and as such, he's struggled with the walks as better hitters are more able to lay off his breaking stuff. His underlying metrics at Triple-A Nashville are fairly solid (56% grounders, 14.3% swing & miss rate) but he's also benefited from a low H% (24.1%). This is a mid-rotation starter at projection with the stuff to get there, but one that'll likely struggle making the jump with shaky command or a dependable third offering. He walked four and struck out four in 3 innings in his first start while posting a 6.75 ERA. We repeat, this is a two-pitch pitcher that cannot throw strikes. This is his second start.
Minnesota -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)