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  • Writer's pictureMason Dalley

Best Bet 7/19/2023

Detroit Tigers(-1.5) @ Kansas City Royals

DK +120

FD +115

BSB +115

Best Bet Season Record: 2-3

David Berding, Getty Images

Eduardo Rodriguez is having the best season of of his professional career. For years and years in Boston his advanced numbers drastically outperformed his traditional numbers. See the fangraphs chart below for reference.

The difference between his ERA and FIP can be attributed to Fenway Park and it makes sense why he left in free agency. He was sick of no foul ground and playing in the ballpark that generates the 2nd highest positive Park Factor in all of MLB. He took his very solid stuff to the ballpark with the 6th lowest Park Factor in all of MLB, Comerica Park in Detroit. His first year in Detroit was bad, and it looked liked it would be another bad post-Dombrowski signing for the Tigers.

In 2023 it's looking to be quite the opposite. 2.70 ERA/3.27 FIP/ 76.2 IP/26.8% K%/6% BB%/1.00 WHIP is outstanding. Rodriguez is avoiding hard contact at an elite level, ranking in the 86th percentile in HardHit% and denying traffic with the 85th percentile BB%. It's a winning combination for a pitcher. The biggest reason for his breakout is the command of his two best bitches, his Sinker and his Cutter.

These two pitches combined have been devastating to opposing batters. Thrown at a combined rate 32.3%, he has induced an opposing batting average of .136 and a Slugging% of .256. Opposing batters have not been able to touch these fastballs, and for good reason. He hammers the bottom right hand quadrant of the strike zone which prevents solid contact. Eddy Rodriguez has met his projections, and its been awesome to watch.

Now, betting on ERod means betting on Detroit, which I understand doesn't elicit confidence, since its the Detroit Tigers and they have Javy Baez, who is the worst qualified player in all of MLB this year. I'm here to tell you, that they've been perfectly fine after an abysmal start. Since starting 2-9, they are perfectly mediocre 40-42. They're 7-5 in July so far, and most importantly, they perform well against bad teams. They have a 22-15 record against teams that are below .500. ERod is just so happening to be taking the bump against the 27-68 Kansas City Royals.

The Kansas City Royals are incredibly bad. They seemingly have a plan but aside from a stellar partial season from Vinnie Pasquantino and the progression of Bobby Witt Jr., there has been nothing to be excited about. Today they are trotting out Ryan Yarbrough, a sometimes starter, sometimes reliever, is one of the worst pitchers in all of MLB. I cannot deny that he isn't elite at inducing soft contact, he is, 99th percentile in all of MLB in fact, but his 5.29 ERA/4.61 FIP/1.27 WHIP is not good. The WHIP isn't even from walks, it's from the fact that he has a 4 pitch mix and half of the mix, his CUTTER and CHANGEUP, have a batting champion level induced BA of .328. He is destined to get BABIP'd to death whenever he pitches.

Now, Detroit's offense isn't great on the whole. There are guys who have been so bad, that it torpedoes the team stats. They do have some guys at the top of their lineup who are actually very good. OPS+ is a stat used to show how a batter compares to the league wide OPS any given year. It's useful when needing context to show that a season in the raised mound era can have the same impact as a season the steroid or juiced ball era. The Tigers have 4 bats with an OPS+ above 100, and another 3 at 90 or better. The lineup really isn't that bad with the exception of Javier Baez. Kerry Carpenter and Riley Greene are having breakout seasons while Matt Vierling and Jake Rogers are showing to be positive everyday players. Spencer Torkelsen has also begun to figure it out at the MLB level. After and abysmal April, Torkelsen has put up OPS+ of 126,102, and 110 in May, June, and July respectively, so that's another good bat in Detroit's lineup.

All in all, Detroit has been trending in the right direction for a rebuilding team, while Kansas City is continuing their tank for the foreseeable future. Even if you don't fully believe in the team, believing in Eddy is enough for me. The Tigers are only 6 games back in the central after all.

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