Expert MLB Wagering Advice: Underrated Pitching Staffs that Could Bring Big Profits
Everyone knows that teams like Houston, Cleveland, St. Louis and others like them are going to have strong rotations that will lift their teams. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out, and that's not an opinion that is going to generate profits on its own. What is much more interesting, though, is looking at rotations that aren't so obviously strong but which could be successful - or at least more successful than many might think. Here are three rotations on teams that aren't going to be very good. In each case the rotation could be the best part of the team, and that could provide some nice betting opportunities in spots.
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Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates took a swing last year, grabbing Chris Archer from the Rays at the deadline to try and get back into the playoff chase. It didn't work out, and Archer did not pitch like the ace that they hoped he would be - just as Tampa Bay long hoped. But with more time in this system, and no need to be the ace, he could settle in and show what he can be when he is at his best. Jameson Taillon has been slow to develop but had a strong season last year and finally looks like he could be the true ace - which will take pressure off Archer. Taillon relied more on a slider last year as the season progressed, and it was very effective. More of that would be a good thing. Trevor Williams, aside from having a great first name, showed a lot last year in his second full season in the bigs and was particularly good in the second half. And Joe Musgrove set a Major League record as a rookie, throwing 21 straight strikes last year. He obviously knows how to locate a ball, and he is very efficient. The fifth spot will likely see a few guys try it out, but young Mitch Keller, the team's top prospect, definitely has a bright future and will likely get a chance to own the spot. There is a whole lot to like with this group - sadly a lot more than there is at the plate.
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds were aggressive in the offseason trying to get back on track with a rebuild that has been a very long time coming. And I am mostly not optimistic about it. They have invested much more hope and importance in Yasiel Puig than seems like a good idea to me. But while I am not confident about a lot of things, what I do like is what they have done to their rotation. They got rid of Homer Bailey, which was very much needed. And while losing Matt Harvey isn't great, it's not like he's a dominant starter who can't be replaced. In exchange for Bailey they got Alex Wood. He was an all-star in 2017, so his upside is high. Last year he was less impressive, but he is still valuable and effective. And he's only 28, so a return to form is quite possible. Joining him are two more very interesting guys. Sonny Gray was a good pitcher in Oakland who just didn't fit in in New York. The Yankee way got into his head and did dark things. Cincinnati is very different from New York in basically every way, so this should be a positive change for him. And Tanner Roark hasn't been great the last couple of years, but he is still better than what Cincinnati has had, and there is upside along with a change of scenery, too. And they kept around Luis Castillo from last year, and he was quite solid. The fifth starter is more of a question at this point, but that top four is at least interesting and potentially much more than that. It will be fun to watch.
Toronto Blue Jays: This is the least convincing of the three teams here, and probably the one with the most potential to disappoint on the mound. But the upside is here. Marcus Stroman has shown ace stuff at his best. He has struggled with injuries and attitude along the way, but the upside is significant. He is playing angry right now because he thinks the team is disrespecting him. That could be just the fuel he needs. If nothing else, he could be playing hard to increase his value in a trade - but that would help Toronto. Aaron Sanchez is a very talented pitcher who has been derailed by blister issues. He seems to be on top of it and could deliver a lot if he stays healthy. Clayton Richard and Matt Shoemaker were added in the offseason. Neither is going to win a Cy Young or anything, but both can be useful. And the team added Clay Buchholz late. He has had an odd and often disappointing career, but he has been an all-star twice. And after missing most of 2017 to injury, he was really strong in his 16 starts in Arizona last year. Beyond those five, they have plenty of young guys - Joe Biagini, Ryan Borucki, Ryan Tepera, and prospects Nate Pearson and Sean Reid-Foley, among others - who could jump in and seize and opportunity. The downside is real with this rotation, and the young and questionable offense may not help out enough, but there is at least a chance that this rotation could surprise.
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