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The former #2 pick in the 2010 draft, Jameson Taillon has been quietly showing signs of delivering on that promise over the last two seasons.
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB picks column for Sunday, July 1st. The Angels offense sure took its time to wake up in Baltimore on Saturday, but the heart of the order finally delivered in the 8th inning off of the Orioles' bullpen to win 6-2 and win us our daily pick for Saturday. Tyler Skaggs was solid once again, bouncing back from a shaky first inning to keep the O’s to 2 runs over 5 innings - we might have to wager on him and the Halos again soon.
For Sunday’s pick, we’re looking at a matchup with two teams we haven’t featured much so far - the Pirates and Padres (Dads, for short) will be finishing off a three game set in lovely San Diego, CA. We haven’t bet on a Padres game since way back on April 4th, and not one of the 109 games we picked this year have had the Pirates involved. However, we like to think that we’ve got our eye on the whole league, and the line being offered in this one just doesn’t look right. Let’s get into it.
Pittsburgh Pirates (Taillon) at San Diego Padres (Ross)
While neither of these teams figures to be in contention this year - the Pirates have slid 8.5 games back in the Central and the Padres are 12 games back in the West - the two starting pitchers in Sunday’s game represent a real positive development for both clubs. For Pittsburgh, 26 year-old righty Jameson Taillon is taking small but real steps forward in delivering on his promise as the former #2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. For San Diego, Tyson Ross has become a real trade piece out of nowhere after signing as a minor-league free agent.
Taillon’s 2018 season doesn’t appear very special at first glance - he’s 5-6 with a 3.96 ERA for a fourth place team. However, there are subtle signs that Jameson is headed toward better production later this season - for one, his FIP is down in the mid-threes for the second straight year. Second, his walk rate has decreased since last year without sacrificing any strikeouts - his K rate is actually identical to last year’s, a solid 8.42 per nine. Taillon is the type of post-hype sleeper we like to bet on, as his results should start to catch up to the talent and hype.
Meanwhile, Tyson Ross's career appeared to be in jeopardy after a terrible showing with Texas last season, posting a 7.71 ERA in 49 innings for a Rangers team that was desperate for arms. Ross’ signing with the Padres the offseason went under the radar, as the minor league deal appeared to be a total flier for the team for whom Ross had some of his more productive seasons. However, Ross has been shockingly effective in 16 starts for the Dads this year, with a 3.32 ERA that harkens back to the solid run Ross had from 2013-2015 in San Diego.
While it’s a nice story, we certainly think the Padres should be fielding offers for Ross soon, as it’s quite likely this level of success won’t last. Ross’ BABIP is quite a bit lower than league average and far below his projected rate, and his LOB% is quite a bit higher than his career and projected rates - these are things that pitchers don’t have much control over, and Ross has been on the happy side of luck in both. Control has always been Ross’ main issue (3.79 BB/9 career), and while he’s been able to keep the wildness under control enough so far, it’s likely to creep up as a problem once again.
Both of these teams projected to be toward the bottom of the offensive ranks in the preseason, and while the Padres have ended up about where they were expected to be (28th in wRC+), the Pirates have been surprisingly competent, ranking right about league average. The loss of Andrew McCutchen has been offset by bounceback years from Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, and a surprising contribution from Francisco Cervelli, who is unfortunately out with a concussion after a very productive start. I’d still call them a bottom 10 offense, but they should be better than the bottom 3 offense they’ll be facing off against on Sunday.
We hope you’re having a good weekend - we know it’s been great for all of our readers that took our 4-1 parlay in Saturday’s Free World Cup Picks that paid out in France’s victory over Argentina. Be sure to check in tomorrow for our picks - you don’t want to miss out on another one like that.
Enjoy your Sunday everyone - let’s get a win!
Bet the Pirates +102
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