Today's Free Picks for
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-105-110 -110 SportsInteraction -104
Posted at 12:30 PM EST and odds are subject to change.
The best price here is at Pinnacle with the A's at +106
Oakland +106 over Washington
4:05 PM EST. Oakland at Washington on a Thursday in early September should pack ‘em in, no? In terms of motivation, we have to give the edge to the A’s, who will be going to bat for a rookie making his MLB debut. Everyday players like to rally around that. Enter Ken Waldichuk (RHP - OAK).
Ken Waldichuk’s best production of his career was rewarded this year with getting traded from the Yankees to the worst organization in baseball in the Athletics. Thus, you gotta feel for the guy, but it's not like Oakland can't use him and no pitcher's complaining about facing fewer AL East lineups over a season. 6'4" and 220 pounds, Waldichuk has two knockout pitches in his fastball and change-up, with more projection on everything still in the tank. Both pitches flash above plus, with the fastball having optimum shape, spin, and flat approach angle with big-time carry at 94 mph. The change-up might be even better long-term, as his delivery is all arms and elbows making it harder to discern from the fastball, with a near 12-mph velocity delta off it with almost screwball-like action, and get this... his command of the pitch is advanced for what are a fair chunk of wildness variables on the offering. Waldichuk rounds out the repertoire with a slider, a pitch that he's changed up a bit with a fringe-average grade that his delivery hides well, with more projection on it the more he uses it. There is a curveball in here but it's now just a change-of-pace offering.
Waldichuk does drop his release point on his slider and change-up versus the fastball, which better hitters may be able to pick-up on, but right now he's been dealing without much issue beyond a slightly elevated walk rate (9.1% BB%). Currently, he's using the slider almost 2-to-1 versus the change-up so it does look like he's intentionally working on his breaking ball versus just getting pure outs with his change-up and that may help explain the increased walk rate. Across two levels and organizations this year, Waldichuk has posted a very decent 18.3% line-drive rate, 43.3% grounders, an excellent 34.5% K% and 15.7% swing and miss rate, .210 oppBA, 31.2% hit rate, and 3.53 xERA over 95 innings. His above-average swing-and-miss across all three offerings, with his low oppBA says that he more than projects in the rotation, though a chunk of scouts still see him more in the bullpen, where his repertoire would play up in leverage. Some guys can maintain a more loose delivery and so far Waldichuk has thrived. We've got him pegged as a starter to watch closely despite the organization he's now tethered to. It certainly means that ample MLB innings are on Waldichuk's menu.
Wagering on a dude making his MLB debut can be risky to be sure but this is a risk we’re absolutely willing to take because Paolo Espino (RHP - WAS) is not worthy of being favored over anyone. This well-traveled, 35-year-old swing-man brings with him a poor swing and miss rate of 8.7%, a 4.84 xERA, zero wins in 14 starts and 20 relief appearances, a fastball that tops off at 88 MPH but is usually in the 85 to 86 MPH range, a 34% groundball rate and a WHOP (1.48 last five games) that keeps getting worse. Paolo Espino has been an underdog of +200 or more in 74% of his starts this year. He was favored once and the Nats lost that game, 6-2.
Oakland +106 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.12)