Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 5:00 PM
Within the past few days, the Toronto Blue Jays have acquired National League hitting star Troy Tulowitzki, and proven American League ace pitcher David Price for a roster that was already performing at a very high level at everything except winning close games.
Though the Jays wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if the season ended today, these moves are shaking the market in terms of Futures prices and game-day lines. And, when you dig a little closer into baseball math, you can see why.
If won-lost records were based on the “normal” distribution of run production, the AL standings would have looked like this entering Thursday’s games according to the Baseball-Reference website…
Kansas City 57-43
LA Angels 56-44
NY Yankees 55-45
That’s right…Toronto should be leading the league! Well, according to statheads anyway. They’d tell you that “the numbers say” that the best team in the American League just added Troy Tulowitzki and David Price!
I’ve been doing this a long time. And, I’ve been very careful about adding the ramblings of arrogant statheads into my handicapping mix. They’re wrong a lot more often than they’ll admit. The Blue Jays definitely are a talented team that just got more talented. I will point out to you students of my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping though that…
*There is skill involved in winning close games. It’s not all good luck or bad luck that decides nailbiters. Teams with shaky bullpens in particular have trouble winning the tight ones. That’s not bad luck. That’s bad roster design. Toronto is 10-22 in one-run games. That was telling statheads that the Jays were a budding superpower. It was telling KELSO STURGEON that they weren’t ready yet to be a budding superpower.
*Stat methodologies tend to overrate teams who run up the score when things are going good. This is a big deal in football handicapping (particularly in the colleges). It will show up sometimes in baseball with good offensive teams who play home games in hitter’s parks. If they run into a starter who doesn’t have his stuff…they may turn what would have been a 5-3 win into a 10-3 win. Big deal. Superfluous runs. You don’t get to use any of those extra runs the next time you’re in a nailbiter against a pitcher who does have his stuff. There’s a decent chance that adding Tulowitzki and Price just means Toronto will win bigger blowouts when things are going well. That’s not the same as being a true championship contender.
I can assure you that I’ll be watching the Toronto Blue Jays very closely in the coming days. If the team does start to play with a swagger…I won’t be afraid to lay odds or -1.5 runs with them in the right spots. They can win blowouts where that -1.5 hurdle is easy to clear vs. weak opposing pitchers. But, if Tulo has trouble adjusting to playing closer to sea level in the superior league amidst a pennant race, while the prior pre-trade pitching staff continues to have its ups and downs…then we’ll see some great places to fade Toronto instead. This is a team with a losing record vs. opponents who are at .500 or worse!
Let’s look at what’s immediately ahead for the Jays. I encourage you to pay very close attention to what you’re about to read…
This weekend: huge series vs. Kansas City that begins Thursday night
Monday-Thursday: huge four-game series vs. Minnesota (big week!)
Friday-Sunday August 7-9: at the first place New York Yankees (!!!)
August 11-13: vs. Oakland
August 14-16: vs. NY Yankees
August 18-19: at Philadelphia
August 21-23: at LA Angels
August 25-27: at Texas
That’s enough for now. You can see that the next several days are VITAL for the Blue Jays. They can really make a statement against current playoff teams Kansas City, Minnesota, and Yankees. They can pass Minnesota for the final Wildcard spot by the end of that series if things break right. On the other hand, they can really fall off the pace if things go poorly during this adjustment period with the new players. Tough to chase down Minnesota if you can’t handle them head-to-head on your home field.
It’s a bit of an exaggeration to say “the season is NOW” for the Jays. September is going to be tough too! Big divisional matchups with the Yankees and Orioles loom in the last month that could derail the Jays even if August goes well. I’ll say it this way. Toronto could lose their chance to matter in this next month. They’ll have to close strong over the full two months to be a scary October threat.
If you’d like some help finding the best baseball games to bet each day, my personal service selections can be purchased right here at this very website with your major credit card. We’re building our bankrolls with baseball now, and will be attacking football in very short order. Questions about extended service can be answered personally by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping will be back with you early next week for another discussion. You can be sure that August will be football heavy with the start of the NFL Preseason. Don’t forget that the Hall of Fame Game is a week from Sunday! Pay close attention to that Royals/Jays series this weekend. I’ll see you again on Monday.
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