Evaluating New Pitchers

A FEW TIPS FOR EVALUATING "NEW" STARTING PITCHERS WHO CRACK MIDSEASON ROTATIONS

If you've been handicapping Major League Baseball in recent days, you've been coming across several "new" starting pitchers who don't have a track record yet in the 2015 regular season. A variety of factors are in play:

*Some are finally healthy and ready to go after missing the first part of the season with an injury.

*Some are getting called up from the minor leagues because of injuries within a team's regular rotation.

*Some are getting bumped up from the bullpen because of injuries within a team's regular rotation.

*One (Santana of Minnesota) had to serve an 80-game suspension for violating the sport's drug protocol.

Many casual sports bettors make the mistake of assuming the worst when a pitcher they're not familiar with is listed on the Las Vegas board. They just pencil in a disaster...and figure out a way to either bet on the opponent, bet on the Over, bet on the opponent's team total to go Over, and so on. Sometimes this works. Actually, it works just enough to make sure squares keep losing money! They're right four times, wrong six times...as the strategy drains money from their bankroll.

It's important to remember that:

*Many of these new pitchers are able to get people out the first time through a lineup...and often the second time as well. By then, the manager yanks them after 90-100 pitches (five innings or so) for middle relief. And, given how strong many teams are in middle relief right now...these new pitchers are likely to get good results.

*Many of these new pitchers were doing well in the minors...and it's not that big a jump from the best minor leagues to the majors. Yes, they're likely to take a step backward statistically from what they were accomplishing. But, there's a lot of room to step backward and still be reasonably effective. It's not an automatic disaster!

*Many offenses are just going up and hacking these days...going through the motions as the dog days of summer have begun. Did you see all the 2-1 games over July Fourth Weekend?! Too many sports bettors forget how overmatched many Major League offenses are right now in a pitching era (strike zone is expanding, steroids are out of the game). "New" pitchers get to exploit the friendlier strike zone against hitters who aren't jacked up any more.

Are there spots where you should actually bet ON these new pitchers? Wouldn't you like to win six out of ten instead of losing?! JIM HURLEY uses the following guidelines:

*Respect "new" pitchers who are likely to have a "first look" advantage. By that, he means strikeout pitchers, lefties with awkward deliveries, very tall righties or righties who hide the ball well. Respect them even more if they're catching the opponent in tough visibility, or in a getaway spot where the opponent has to travel right after the game.

*Respect "new" pitchers who are playing in front of good defenses, who will be handing off to strong bullpens, or who are throwing for a team that's likely to give them run support. Remember, every bet is on a TEAM with that starting pitcher, rather than just the pitcher.

*Fade "new" pitchers (or pass the game) if they're just proven mediocrities with long track records of only getting garbage innings. These guys may be "new" starters for the 2015 season, but they're known quantities. It's okay to pencil in expectations based on their career norms. If this type of pitcher was any good, they'd already be in a regular rotation! A "new" call-up from the minors with high strikeout potential may be a great bargain...while a "new" starter filling an emergency role as an aging veteran from the bullpen won't be fooling anyone.

Something for you to think about as this dynamic continues throughout the summer. If you'd like access to the best baseball plays on the daily board, you can purchase those right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours.

We'll return WEDNESDAY for our next report. Here's what's ahead this week in the NOTEBOOK...

Wednesday: MLB TV Preview...St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs on ESPN
Thursday: MLB Series Preview...St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Friday: MLB Series Preview...Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles
Saturday: College Football Preview...Mid American "East"
Sunday: College Football Preview...Mid American "West"
Monday July 13: College Football Preview...Sun Belt
Tuesday July 14: MLB All-Star Break Report Card

Big week in the NL Central as the Cards face the two teams who are trying to chase them down. Then, our continuing weekend series of college football conference previews leads us into the MLB All-Star Break. The summer is flying by! Be sure you're riding the rocket to riches with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

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