Kansas City @ Oakland
Kansas City +113 over Oakland

Posted at 1:30 PM EST. Odds subject to change.

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Kansas City +113 over Oakland

9:40 PM EST. Angel Zerpa (LHP - KC) doesn’t figure to go deep into this game, as he’s a swingman with just five appearances this year covering 13.1 innings. His only start was last time out when he went four full against the Mariners and allowed just one run on five hits while striking out six. 

Zerpa remains in much the same pitcher purgatory he found himself in post his previous call-up in that while there are some building blocks, there isn't much of a fastball to hang a hat on and thus he's stuck in an up-and-down loop until something breaks. '23 has seen him dealing with some injuries, which have limited Zerpa to only 40 innings between the minors and majors.  

He's utilizing both a four seam fastball and two seamer with the four-seamer showing some impressive qualities (13.3% swing and miss rate). The two-seamer has a low swing and miss rate of  (7.1%) but is resulting in a lot of weak contact (82.1 average exit velocity, 61.1 grounders%). Zerpa's previously advertised above-average command has also regressed considerably, walking 13 in 26.2 IP, though how much of that has to do with injury rust remains to be seen. With Kansas City looking over what they have in their system, Zerpa looks like he's going to get some burn even if he's probably some distance from being ready. However, this wager is not about getting behind Zerpa. It’s about taking back a tag on Kansas City in a very winnable game. 

There's danger in trusting small sample sizes, but since the All-Star break, the opposition has been frustrated by the results against Kansas City. It's part breakout by the team's best player and part players settling into their new lineup spots while being pesky during plate appearances, along with aggressive running on the basepaths.

After a rough start this season, the hitters in Kansas City continue showing life since the All-Star break, hitting for more power and average, and being very aggressive in stolen base attempts. There's more going on than just improved statistics, however, as slight lineup tweaks have fueled strong results so far in the second half. Should this all continue, the Royals will provide some sneaky value. 

Here’s a simple comparison between the two halves: 

Kansas City (first half): 337 runs in 91 games, ranked 29th among all teams with a 3.7 runs per game average; 79 weighted runs created plus metric, ranked tied for 29th.

Kansas City (second half): 153 runs in 31 games, ranks 10th among all teams with a 4.9 runs per game average; 110 weighted runs created plus metric, ranks 11th. 

Surprised at seeing the Royals averaging almost five runs per contest? Join the club. It starts with improved on-base statistics, which are compared here by season halves:

Kansas City (first half): .290 weighted on-base average (wOBA), ranked 29th; .665 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), ranked 29th

Kansas City (second half): .334 weighted on-base average (wOBA), ranks 9th; .785 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), ranks 8th

More players are reaching base with more extra-base hits, moving their offense into the top-10 in the league since the All-Star break. But there's more: 

Kansas City (first half): .232 batting average (26th); .371 slugging percentage (28th); 78 home runs (tied for 28th); 76 stolen bases (6th)

Kansas City (second half): .279 batting average (tied for 2nd); .465 slugging percentage (5th); 41 home runs (tied for 11th); 41 stolen bases (1st)

Not only have the Royals been producing the most stolen bases, they rank first in weighted stolen base runs in the second half, which estimates the number of runs a player contributes by stealing a base compared with the average player. They will not transform into a lineup like the one over in Atlanta, but from a profit potential perspective, there's value worth mining the rest of this season.

At the time of this writing, Oakland had no pitcher listed and there was no line but Oakland will be favorerd and there isn’t a single pitcher on the A’s that would deter us from making this wager.



Our Pick

Kansas City +113 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.26)