Money MLB Pitchers: Low Risk, High Return
by Robert Ferringo - 05/04/2007
In baseball, momentum is as good as the next day's starting pitcher. Well, that's just as true for those of us who make a living wagering our gold on the game as it is for those who make their way within the diamond. But there's an advantage us moneymen have over managers: we can pick tomorrow's starter. Believe me, that's quite a comfort compared to the plague that is Tony Armas Jr. or Julian Tavares.
Pitching pays in baseball betting. That's no grand claim. And if you want the best arms you've got to pay for them, whether you're a general manager or a gambling guru. However, the premium has to be placed on value, and that means being able to identify under priced or underrated hurlers that you can consistently back and turn a profit.
With this idea in mind, I present to you the Grand Poobah of money starters for the 2007 Major League Baseball season - Chris Capuano.
I'm not going to lie - I'm starting to feel like the Brewers ace is family. That's right: the left-handed Capuano is the clear-cut No. 1 on the National League's best team right now, not Ben Sheets. The Brewers have won eight of Capuano's last nine starts - including all six this season - and he's allowed more than four runs just seven times in his last 40 outings. However, Capuano has yet to be nailed with a price tag greater than -149 this season and has only been instilled as that large of a favorite five times in those 40 games.
As a result, Capuano had generated the highest profit of any pitchers in the Majors this season and is on his way to earning my unfailing loyalty. The guy has become an automatic play, especially against teams in the bottom half of the league against lefties. He has a 24-15 career mark in games before the Fourth of July and absolutely dominates the Cubs (8-2 overall). Oddly enough, Capuano is just 2-6 against the Pirates. But that's a minor blemish for a guy who is establishing himself as one of the National League's best.
Trust me: if you see Capuano's name with a number lower than -140 next to it you should play it and not even think twice. Personally, I'm 3-0 (+8 Units) on Cappy to this point in the season and kicking myself for not hopping on those other three times. I'm certain he'll go through a cold spell at some point this year, but I have a feeling that if we get on his arm every time out we're still going to come out on top.
You know what you're going to get with guys like Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Brandon Webb. You're going to get a quality start and a great opportunity for a victory. However, you're also going to get shackled with prices in the -200 range. So here are five other starters that have been even more effective at a fraction of the price:
Aaron Harang (5-1, +453) - This is one of my personal favorites because this massive fireballer isn't treated like an ace by the oddsmakers. The Reds have won eight of his past 10 starts, yet he's only been posted as a favorite of more than -155 on one occasion. He's 30-21 in his career on the road and 31-18 against divisional opponents. That includes a dominating 10-3 mark against the Pirates.
Mike Maroth (5-0, +592) - There was a time that Maroth was the jewel of the Tigers' staff. However, last year's injury opened the door for the Bonderman-Verlander-Robertson Show so now Maroth has been bumped to the back page. He's a subtle lefty and because of his spot in the rotation he's matched up against an inferior foe. He is 8-3 in his career against Cleveland but 0-6 against Boston.
Jae Seo (4-2, +510) - I saw Seo a lot when he pitched for my Mets and I always liked him. When he's on he has solid late movement and can keep the ball low in the zone. When he's off, he hangs a couple fastballs and it's trouble. The good news is that he's always posted as a dog. The bad news is that this gravy train is likely to derail pretty soon so get while the gettin' is good. Play on him against small-ball teams.
Ramon Ortiz (4-2, +251) - Well, this took a big hit after the Devil Rays shelled him last Thursday. However, other than that he's been the Twins' No. 2 man. He's allowed three runs or less in five of his six starts. One trouble spot is that he's just 8-11 in his career in domes. Since Minnesota rolls under the roof if that's an issue Ortiz could become a "play on" as a visitor and "play against" as a host.
Mark Hendrickson (3-0, +318) - The large lefty is consulting with a sports psychologist and whatever they've been talking about has been working. Hendrickson looks poised and confident on the mound, posting a 1.30 ERA in 27.2 innings of work. I love the way he's throwing right now, but let's see how he holds up after he gets knocked around once or twice.
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