Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 4/30/16
Time flies when you’re having fun, as the old expression goes. I start having fun on Opening Day of the baseball season, and sure enough, time is absolutely flying for me. I can hardly believe we’re already about to complete the first month of the campaign.
While scanning some team data from the first month, one set of numbers caught my eye. I knew this was happening but when I started looking at the stats in black and white, it became somewhat mind boggling. There are some phenomenal team K rates existing right now.
The Phillies and Red Sox pitching staffs are recording better than 10 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched. The Mets, Rays and Yankees staffs are all better than one K per inning. There are a mere three teams, the Tigers, Rangers and Brewers that are registering less than seven K’s per nine innings.
This is amazing stuff. I’m not sure what the conclusion is, but I’ll offer up a couple of ideas. One is obvious. Bigger than ever arms. That’s pretty much a given. The other is more subtle.
I’m not necessarily arguing against the philosophy of selective offensive approaches, with an emphasis on forcing opposition starting arms to eat up their pitch counts as quickly as possible. But while that might make all kinds of sense when facing aces, I’m not so sure it’s a great idea when facing the back end of the rotation guys. I think I’d rather be aggressive against those types and try and knock them out of the game.
Instead, I’m seeing ultra-patient attacks even against marginal starters. I think that’s a bit counterproductive. Even back end starters own the upper hand when they can get ahead in the count, and I don’t see the gain in almost surrendering a strike or two early in the count to inflate the number of pitches and hopefully wear these guys out. That’s particularly true if that #4-5 starter is backed by a powerful bullpen.
A good example is the Orioles. Their starters are really average, and in a couple of cases that’s a generous assessment. But that Baltimore bullpen is flat out nasty. If I’m the other team, I don’t want to see those guys as once they arrive on the scene, I’m in trouble. So I’m going to try and go first-pitch hunting when I can against the starters. Continuing to give them strike one and frequently strike two just isn’t smart the way I see it.
In any event, that’s the one argument I forgot to make when disputing Joe Girard’s opinion that shifting needs to be outlawed. Shifting has little to do with outs being made when there’s not even much contact, and that’s the real issue in play currently.
Just 1-2, -0.7 last night, but this has been a really good month overall. Also, I have one NHL series play in action and got that off on the right skate last night as the Stars nipped the Blues. I’m on three baseball games so far for Saturday.
I’m going to come up with something new for the May special, and will probably have that set on Monday. That leaves two more days to grab the guaranteed 30-day offer that’s on the drop down menu. For all the info on how it works, shoot me an email at email@example.com.
The Brewers made it really interesting at the finish line after getting no-hit for the first eight innings against the Marlins. Funny game sometimes. Miami was sitting some guys in addition to the suspended Gordon last night, but Adam Conley was sensational. Plus, Milwaukee made the least out a bases loaded, none out opportunity when it was still a ballgame. Great job of getting g ahead of the market on this game, but certainly not the right result. Today’s play will be in direct opposition to popular opinion.
TIGERS (Zimmermann) @ TWINS (Duffey)
Take: TWINS +120
One of the the starting pitchers in today’s Tigers-Twins game is featuring the following: Highest BB rate since his rookie season, although it’s still a very good walk rate. Lowest K rate of his career. Lowest velocity of his career. An unsustainable strand rate. A 0.0% HR/FB rate. That’s the weird combination of numbers pertaining to Jordan Zimmermann.
Look, facts are facts. The guy has made four starts, he’s 4-0 and he’s allowed one earned run. It’s not easy to look at those numbers, see that Zimmermann is facing a last place team today, and simply click the submit button with the line being as apparently inexpensive as it is.
But I won’t be playing on Zimmermann and the Tigers, and in fact I’m going to try the Twins today. Zimmermann’s analytics scream regression, and the truth is it might well have started for him last time out. He got the win, but three runs crossed the plate (two unearned) and Zimmermann only recorded one punchout in his 6.2 innings of work.
The other side of the pitching coin is a guess, pure and simple. I liked what I saw out of Tyler Duffey in his late 2015 debut in the bigs with the Twins. Duffey has a knuckle curve that can be unhittable at times from his 3/4 arm angle. He has to command his other average offerings, no question about that, and he did not do so in his 2016 debut last Sunday. And the Detroit hitters faced him twice last season, so the element of surprise won’t exist here.
I can’t say I’m loaded with confidence regarding Duffey, who has to show late ’15 was not a fluke. But the key for me here is why the price here was set to guarantee overwhelming action in terms of ticket percentage on Detroit, and I believe the guys who set the numbers are seeing the same things I am as far as Zimmermann goes. In fantasy baseball terminology, Zimmermann looks like an ideal “sell high” candidate. As far as wagering goes, I’ll try and “buy low” with the betting line as an indicator and I’ll play the Twins today.