Free MLB Picks for Friday, May 17, 2019
We had the NBA draft lottery this week, with the New Orleans Pelicans winning the right to draft one of the top overall prospects in years in Duke's Zion Williamson. He's presumed to be a can't-miss guy like Anthony Davis was when he went No. 1 overall in 2012 to New Orleans. It's just that Williamson isn't likely to be playing with Davis, who reportedly still wants a trade. We mention this because the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft is next month. Baseball's draft is a total crapshoot in part because high schoolers are eligible. Still, there are times when guys are considered can't-miss prospects. Bryce Harper in 2010, for example. Well, there's no guy like that this summer with the Baltimore Orioles picking first - no lottery in baseball. The guy most scouts like best is Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, but in the MLB Amateur Draft the most talented players don't always go first these days as the clubs like to have pre-arranged contract parameters set to save money and perhaps lure another draft pick later on away from his college commitment with a bigger bonus. The Orioles are expected to take Rutschman, high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. or Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn. None of those guys will debut until 2020 at the very earliest.
Mets at Marlins (+237, 6.5)
The Mets were hoping for the season debut of projected every-day third baseman Jed Lowrie this week from a knee injury, but the 35-year-old - so good last year for Oakland - has now suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain and will miss at least a few weeks. New York's Jacob deGrom (3-4, 3.26) looks back to his dominating self, allowing three earned runs over 21 innings in his past three, although he has just one win because of no run support. DeGrom is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Marlins. Miami's Trevor Richards (0-5, 4.46) has pitched well enough to win more than few games, but his team has lost all eight. He held the Mets to three runs over six on April 3.
Key trends: The Mets are 3-7 in deGrom's past 10 vs. the Marlins. The "over/under" is 12-3-2 in his past 17 against them.
Early lean: Marlins on runline and over.
Brewers at Braves (-120, 9)
There have been a handful of top prospects called up this week and the Braves have joined the fun in recalling third baseman/outfielder Austin Riley. He's projected as the team's future third baseman but isn't really needed there now and has just started playing the outfield. That's where he will get his playing time in the majors with Ender Inciarte struggling mightily and then leaving Tuesday's game with back tightness. He's on the injured list. It's young lefty Max Fried (5-2, 3.25) for the Braves. He allowed three runs over five innings with seven strikeouts in beating Arizona last time out. Fried has thrown three career innings vs. the Brewers. Christian Yelich is 2-for-5 off him. Milwaukee's Jhoulys Chacin (3-4, 4.57) has a 1.59 ERA over his past three starts with batters hitting .186 off him. Atlanta's Freddie Freeman is 5-for-13 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Brewers have won Chacin's past eight vs. the NL East. The under is 12-1 in his previous 13 on the road.
Early lean: Braves and under.
Cardinals at Rangers (TBA)
St. Louis will add the designated hitter for this interleague matchup in the AL park. Texas has put shortstop Elvis Andrus on the injured list after he left Tuesday's game with left hamstring tightness. Andrus is crazy overpaid but off to a fine start with a .325 average, 26 RBIs and eight steals. It's lefty Drew Smyly (0-3, 6.85) for the Rangers. Not sure how much longer they can put him out there as Smyly is killing the bullpen with his short outings. It's his first career look at St. Louis. The Cards' Miles Mikolas (4-3, 3.83) pitched 10 games with Texas in 2014 and was terrible so he then went to Japan for a few years. He's working on three straight quality starts this year.
Key trends: The Cards are 14-3 in Mikolas' past 17 on the road. The over is 13-4 in those.
Early lean: TBA as the Rangers haven't made Smyly official yet, but it should be him. Go over and Cards if so.
Royals at Angels (-135, 9.5)
The Halos already have one two-way player on their roster in Shohei Ohtani, although the reigning AL Rookie of the Year won't pitch this season off Tommy John surgery. Now they have another one after calling up first baseman and reliever Jared Walsh from Triple-A. He probably will only be used on the mound in a pinch as he had thrown just five innings this season in Triple-A but had a solid 3.60 ERA. L.A. starts Matt Harvey (1-3, 6.69). He hasn't lasted five full innings in his past two but was good in Kansas City on April 28 (7 IP, 1 ER). The Royals' Brad Keller (2-4, 4.47) allowed six runs over five in his last start vs. the Phillies. Keller has an American League-leading 32 walks. Mike Trout is 2-for-4 off him career.
Key trends: The Royals are 4-10 in Keller's past 14 on the road. The over is 6-2 in the Angels' past eight at home.
Early lean: Angels and over.
Twins at Mariners (-105, 9)
Very quietly, Twins catcher Mitch Garver (.329, nine HRs) is having a great season, but he has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain in his left leg suffered Tuesday night against the Angels when Shohei Ohtani slid into his leg at home plate. Clearly, Garver is going to miss a while longer than the 10-day injured list stint. Minnesota goes with southpaw Martin Perez (5-1, 3.11), who has been a fabulous free-agent signing. He allowed three runs over five Sunday vs. Detroit and took a line drive off his foot but apparently is fine. The Mariners' Mitch Haniger is a career .350 hitter against him in 20 at-bats. Seattle lefty Marco Gonzales (5-2, 3.18) hasn't won since April 26 and lasted just four innings in his most recent start in Boston. Only a few Twins have ever faced him.
Key trends: The Twins are 2-7 in their previous nine on the road vs. lefties. The under is 4-0 in Perez's previous four.
Early lean: Mariners and under.
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