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$FML's MLB Best Bet for Monday Night - 4/3

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Minnesota Twins (3-0) at Miami Marlins (1-3)

If infield shifts are banned, then offense should improve going forward, right? It’s a small sample… but Opening Weekend data supports the theory.

Batting Average on Balls in Play

  • 0.290 last season
  • 0.310 opening weekend

Not insanely different yet, but the gap is expected to widen… which begs a question.

Which pitchers benefited most from the shift in the last 3 seasons?

Identifying and categorizing these pitchers might help predict regression candidates. I ran the analysis using FanGraphs data. Here’s what I found:

$FML Data

Turns out that 3 of the top 13 impacted SPs are on the bump today (Mahle, Walker and Berrios).

Here’s why I narrowed in on Mahle…

  • Opponents’ 0.367 avg vs. him (without shift) ranks 8th highest out of 194 SP w/ 100+ IP L3 seasons
  • He struggled to adapt in Spring Training (opponents hit 0.324; 10 earned runs in 17.2 IP)
  • 0.309 lifetime weighted on base average (wOBA) allowed vs. current Miami roster
    • Notably, his expected wOBA in those plate appearances was 37 points worse (0.346)
    • The expected wOBA calculation considers quality of contact allowed (exit velocity & launch angle)
    • Differences might indicate he got lucky thanks to the shift (consistent with our baseline analysis)

Miami’s offense was TRASH last year, but the 2023 version? Sneaky upside…

  • Added American League batting champion Luis Arraez from Minnesota
  • Added recent World Series finalist and veteran slugger Juan Segura from Philly
  • Jorge Soler is finally healthy, and that dude can RAKE
  • Jazz Chisholm’s also finally healthy, and he’s an ON-BASE MACHINE who can also hit for power
  • Team posted a 42.6% hard-hit rate vs. RHP on Opening Weekend (3rd best in MLB)
  • Miami’s also well-positioned to capitalize on friendlier stolen base environment (as one of the league’s speediest teams)

Everybody knows the Marlins scored the 3rd fewest runs last season. Betting their Team Total to go ‘Over’ every game would’ve produced a net loss of 35 units. Pathetic, I know. Miami also struggled to score Opening Weekend. These two things are giving us a discount in the Team Total market at a time when: (1) advanced stats suggest Miami deserved to score more runs last weekend, and (2) the season-long scoring outlook is brighter than one might think (at least in my opinion).

$FML's Best Bet:

Too Long / Didn’t Read: I’m buying the dip on an improving Marlins offense vs. a pitcher who might be overrated in pricing models right now due to rule changes.

  • Marlins Team Total First 5 Innings Over 1.5 (-130) (Draftkings)
$FML Best Bet
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