MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Monday, June 17, 2024

Cal Quantrill #47 of the Colorado Rockies
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 14: Cal Quantrill #47 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during the first inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on May 14, 2024 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

I got tricked yesterday. That’s on me. I thought the Pirates would go with Daulton Jefferies on the mound, but he never entered the game. When I made the bet, he was the listed starter, but I assumed we’d get an opener before him. We got Josh Flemming, who threw four innings, which was enough to get into the Pirates bullpen.

Today, we call upon an old friend in a spot I love for Colorado. You know the saying in baseball: “Always a day early.”

These picks are available on BetMGM. Code “JustBaseball” for a first bet offer up to $1500.

2024 Record: 62-74 (-14.00 U)

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies @ 8:40 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: James Paxton vs. Cal Quantrill

If you’re new to my writeups, you may not know we went on a historic run backing Cal Quantrill in 2022. We made 11 units backing him start over that year, as the books continued to underrate him. He was banged up in 2023, and once he joined the Rockies, I’ve had difficulty finding spots to back him. This is the one, and the price is fantastic.

Genuinely, the Rockies have the pitching advantage in this game. This isn’t my biased brain talking; the numbers back this up. We all see that Quantrill’s ERA is superior, but his SIERA, FIP, xFIP, and xERA are all lower than Paxton’s. Paxton’s SIERA, in particular, is concerning, sitting at 5.74.

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Why is Paxton predicted for so much negative regression?

For one, he’s not striking anybody out anymore. What used to be a strikeout rate in the mid-20s has fallen to 13.8%, which puts him in the fourth percentile. He needs to get whiffs inside the zone and get hitters to chase outside the zone. His high walk rate is also an issue, sitting at 12.6%, a career-high which puts him in the 11th percentile.

Coors Field will be an issue when you allow free passes without striking anyone out. If he was keeping the ball on the ground, maybe I wouldn’t be as excited to fade him today, but his ground-ball rate sits in the 37th percentile.

Lastly, his pitch mix has fallen well below average beyond ERA predictors or similar numbers. Paxton used to throw in the upper 90s with his fastball, but it’s dropped to 93.4 MPH this year. Just last season, it was 95.2 MPH. All his pitches are down in velocity and spin, garnering fewer swings and misses.

The Rockies at home have a great offense against left-handed pitchers. They have a .823 OPS this season in this spot, which is the third-best mark in the majors. It’s inflated due to the run environment, but if we look at wRC+ (park-adjusted), they have a 102 wRC+, above the league average. Even if we take out the home aspect, the Rockies have the fifth-highest Hard-Hit rate against lefties in baseball.

The Dodgers get a tougher matchup in Cal Quantrill. Quantrill has impressive numbers against the Dodgers. Through 79 PA, the Dodgers have posted a .290 xwOBA, the lowest on the slate among any pitcher with at least 35 PA against that current roster. He did allow four earned runs in 4.1 innings to the Dodgers, but that was a lineup with Mookie Betts in it, who is out with a fractured hand.

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Shohei Ohtani, Will Smith, and Teoscar Hernandez are a combined 7-31 (.225) against Quantrill. Freddie Freeman will be the guy to watch, as he’s 6-12 against Quantrill. If we can avoid a huge Freddie day, we should be okay.

The Dodgers offense is excellent, and they have enough significant bats to pile on, but they are in their lesser split against righties. They have a 129 wRC+ against lefties and a 118 wRC+ against righties.

Since June began, these offenses have been closer than you might expect. Against righties, the Dodgers have a 124 wRC+. Against lefties, the Rockies have a 121 wRC+. I know they just burned us against a lefty yesterday, but they have an excellent track record of hitting left-handers.

In 2017, when the road team’s money line was greater than -120, and they were throwing a left-handed starter, the Rockies were 67-52 (56%). We also get the Rockies in an advantageous spot, as they just played a home series, facing an opponent coming in without an off day. This season, they are 3-1 in that spot, beating the Guardians, Rangers, and the Diamondbacks. Historically, this is a spot where the Rockies improve on their 14-19 home record.

This also hit a saved system called “Fade the Public,” which doesn’t come up as often as you might think. It only comes up when a favorite gets north of 90% of the money, and the underdogs’ line is between +120 and +180. It’s hitting at a 45% rate, worth a 10% ROI this season. It’s only for underdogs, so it’s been profitable despite not hitting 50% or higher.

The first five line is appealing, but the systems say to trust the entire game. I am also a Cal Quantrill veteran, and he’s a winner. Remember that the Rockies won the series’ first game at Dodger Stadium this year. They will sneak up again and win this one. Take the Rockies to +135.

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The Pick: Rockies ML (+150) Risk 0.5 Units