MLB: Can you trust these money-making MLB hurlers?



MLB: Can you trust these money-making MLB hurlers?




Each baseball season, we learn by following who are the best pitchers in baseball. We’ve become conditioned to look for names like Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett, Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, C.C. Sabathia and others. Most years, pitchers targeted for greatne

2009-06-24

Each baseball season, we learn by following who are the best pitchers in baseball. We’ve become conditioned to look for names like Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett, Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, C.C. Sabathia and others. Most years, pitchers targeted for greatness also put it all together and this year we have seen Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley and Dan Haren to name a few become dominant, with bright futures ahead of them.

With success come overvalued money lines, as oddsmakers smell opportunity and will make sports bettors pay to play on their favorite pitchers with proven track records. A big time pitcher like Halladay has 10-1 record and Toronto has won 10 of his 14 starts, yet baseball bettors have walked away with a mere +2.7 units of profit backing the Blue Jays chucker.

A far simpler method of seeking tidy sums of money is to follow what pitchers have brought in the most money. For example, does it make sense to take the Top 5 pitchers in units won and bet those toeing the rubber and their respective team’s until they prove they are not worthy of our money? Or are these pitchers such a crap shoot, that from start to start they are unpredictable as to what type of outcome they will provide?

Here is a look at the best five pitchers in the game and what their prospects are in terms of future playability.

At the ripe old age of 29, Matt Palmer (6-1, 8-2 team record, +9.1 units) made his way onto major league roster in San Francisco and started three games for Giants with 0-2 record and ERA of 8.53 last season. Palmer made his way south to join the Los Angeles Angels and was ticketed for more minor league duty. The Angels pitching staff was a quandary in the spring and Palmer showed enough to be a starter. Working with pitching coach John Butcher, Palmer became more consistent in throwing strikes and has been hitting his spots while changing speeds.

Palmer has kept the Halos in games and has been the beneficiary of good offensive outings, as Los Angeles has scored four or more runs in all but one of his starts. Palmer has been up to the pitching challenge, having faced the ace of opposing team in seven of his 10 starts. You can’t help but wonder if the right-hander is enjoying his proverbial 15 minutes of fame. Right-hand hitters are batting just .223 against him; however history is not on his side arriving in the bigs so late in his career.

Betting- Consider mostly home starts at -125 or less

Josh Johnson (7-1, 12-3, +8.9 units) is mountain of a man at 6’7, 230 pounds for Florida. The 25-year old is blossoming into quite a pitcher, be it relative obscurity. Johnson’s fastball of 92-96 looks faster because of his size and downhill angle. He’s become proficient of going up the ladder (low pitches early in the count and moving up later) and has power slider. His mental makeup comes thru, as he and the Marlins are 5-1 on the road and perfect 5-0 as underdogs. Night vision goggles required for opposing hitters, with 1.74 ERA after dark.
Betting – Strong play as present time

In the last few years, if you wanted to make money, it was bet against the Giants with Matt Cain (9-1, 11-3, +8.2 units) pitching. The 24-year old former first round pick, either received little run support, or had one bad inning that resulted in too many 5-4 or 3-2 losses. He’s been everyone’s favorite play against pitcher, until this season. With a reduction of weight in the off-season, his four-seam fastball is more in the mid-90’s and tailing two-seamer has been lower in the strike zone, resulting in fewer fly balls. He’s better than 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio for the first time in three years and has more pitched games with two or less walks then in the past. Still has big upside, if he keeps command and wants to thrive as strong No.2 with Lincecum.

Betting – Terrific play as favorite with San Fran 9-1.

To give you an idea of how long Tim Wakefield has played Major League baseball, the year he came up “Aladdin” was the top grossing movie (1992). Back then, Wakefield probably messed around throwing a knuckleball with his teammates in jest. In about six weeks, Wakefield (9-3, 11-3, +7.9 units) will be 43 years old and he’s been a god-send for Boston with an ineffective Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Smoltz finally making the active roster. Nothing has really changed for Wakefield’s fluttering pitch, other than the fact he’s seen Red Sox hitters pound out six or more runs in nine of his 14 starts.

Betting – Red Sox are 7-0 at Fenway with Wakefield tossing, nonetheless hard to support at much more than -160 at home.
Here’s a rarity, Jason Marquis (9-4, 10-4, +7.3 units) admits he likes pitching at Coors Field. The traveled right-hander took the right attitude and embraced pitching in the Colorado Mountains and he along with newfound teammates are 5-2 at home or on the road. Granted his ERA and WHIP are decidedly higher at home, but that is to be expected. Since being hammered in the middle of May by Houston (nine runs), Marquis has surrender four or less runs in last seven starts. He’s been much more effective during the day with 2.93 ERA compared 4.33 under the lights.

Betting – Other then 2005, when Marquis was 15-7 in St. Louis, little reason to believe he will keep pitching this well unless the Rockies score seven runs a game. He is however worth a look as underdog with 6-1 mark. (Rockies record)

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