Submitted by Wayne Root on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 12:00 PM
The last time we were together I talked about the issues that the New York Mets would likely be enduring through the rest of the season. Today, it’s time to move crosstown to talk about the red hot New York Yankees.
I had planned on holding off on the Yankees for a bit, hoping their improved play would set up some value spots for my clients. But, the team has taken the baseball world by storm the last several days, dashing any hopes of that. If anything, the team is likely to be overpriced moving forward because there’s no way any Major League team could keep playing at this pace!
*The Yankees are now 21-9, a pace which would yield 113 wins over 162 games
*The Yankees are 20-5 over their last 25 games (after a 1-4 start)
*The Yankees are 12-3 at home, and there’s no way to keep that up
*The Yankees just swept the defending World Champions at their park in big TV games!
This cat is out of the bag in a way that could drive the moneyline prices of the Bronx Bombers up to the high levels of their peak years. When the Yankees MATTER, a ton of New York money hits the betting markets. That’s always been true…it’s just been awhile since the Yanks were playing at this level.
The trick for smart handicappers is to figure out how to ride the Yankees until the line catches up, and then start going the other way during the inevitable cooldown.
Right now, the Yankees have won six in a row. Gamblers know it’s stupid to bet on streaks to end because you could lose several times before it finally does…only to get that one victory at the end of the run. You either ride the streak until conclusion if you’re already on it (a potential string of wins before one loss). Or, you go on a game-by-game basis trying to evaluate if the Vegas line has properly captured the reality of the game.
One shortcut is to try to evaluate the “true” quality of the Yankees. It’s very unlikely they’re a 113-win team obviously. That’s historically great. Are they a 100-win team? Probably not. If this group is destined to win the AL East, we’re probably looking at a 90 or 95-win team. You have to make a best guess at that, then make sure the market is pricing them daily like an 88-win team, a 92-win team, a 97-win team, or whatever. In their best seasons during the Jeter era, they were often priced about 4-5 wins too high because of public interest. Be ready for that development later this season.
Another shortcut is to look over the stats of their key players to determine who’s most likely to regress. Doing that with starting pitchers is ideal because starters key the daily moneyline prices.
Yankees Starting Pitchers
Michael Pineda: 3.12 ERA, 0.98 WHIP
Luis Severino: 3.41 ERA, 0.91 WHIP
Jordan Montgomery: 3.81 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Masahiro Tanaka: 4.36 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
C.C. Sabathia: 5.45 ERA, 1.52 WHIP
Those first two hurlers jump off the list. Not so much because of their ERA, but because both have a WHIP below 1.00. No way either of those guys can do that for a full season. The ERA’s of Pineda and Severino will rise as nature takes its course in this sport, and their tendencies to allow home runs will become more painful with those extra guys on base.
Tanaka’s numbers aren’t too far out of line from realistic expectations for 2017. He’ll need continuing run support to keep winning (a 5-1 won-lost record currently). Sabathia is in real trouble (still), and might not even be a Major League caliber starter any more given his peripherals.
My best advice to do-it-yourselfers is to keep an eye on regression for Pineda and Severino, and then to fade Sabathia if his pricing gets too caught up with overall Yankees hype.
You longtime readers know that I follow the New York sports teams very closely even though I’ve lived out here in Las Vegas for many years. I was born in Mt. Vernon, New York, and grew up a true S.O.B. (son of a butcher!). Those “roots of Root” often play a big role in my handicapping. But, I’ve proven over decades that I beat all sports from all directions on the map.
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The NBA playoffs are really heating up now that Golden State (still looking unbeatable) and Cleveland continue their likely runs to a third straight championship series. And, baseball’s busy schedule always allows you to win seven days a week.
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