Vegas Watch: Three pitchers who are better than they look

May 27, 2008 |
Vegas Watch: Three pitchers who are better than they look

Jacob Wheatley-Schaller is a guest writer for who writes a popular sports betting blog, Vegas Watch.


Last week, I looked at some pitchers who haven’t pitched as well as their records may indicate.  This week we’ll head to the other end of the spectrum, to guys who have gotten some bad breaks thus far.


Barry Zito


Yes, really.  Look, I’m not trying to argue that Barry Zito is a particularly good pitcher, or that the Giants are going to win more often than they lose when Zito pitches. But he is not this bad. 


Think about it - what seems easier than betting against San Francisco when Zito pitches? The team can’t score, and he’s terrible, so how can they possibly win? 


The problem with that line of thinking is that everything I just said is very public knowledge and already built into the line. Take Friday, for example. Seventy three percent of bettors were on the Marlins when they faced Zito. Do you think the oddsmakers aren’t aware that it isn’t 2002 anymore? 


I think they are. And they also know that the public perception of Zito is even lower than his actual skill level right now. He’s not going to be winning any more Cy Youngs and he certainly won’t be worth his contract, but he’s also not going to continue having a win percentage of .111 or a BABIP of .332.


Aaron Harang


After his dominant performance in Cincinnati’s marathon loss on Sunday night, Harang has struck out 72 batters in 78.2 innings while walking only 19.  He gives up too many homers  - always has - but that’s still good for a 3.32 ERA. 


Despite this success, his record is only 2-6, making him one of the unluckiest hurlers in baseball thus far. The Reds have managed only 3.27 runs per game in Harang’s 11 starts, while averaging 4.73 runs in their other 40 games.


The fact that he’s something of a “name” starter at this point, having won 16 games in each of the last two years, limits his value, but his unfortunate luck has likely caused him to be somewhat overlooked.


Brett Myers


On May 26, Myers has already allowed 15 home runs. That’s pretty incredible.


Despite getting his fair share of ground balls, Myers has always allowed way too many homers, averaging 1.33 per nine innings in his big league career. It’s never been this bad though.


His fly ball rate of 33 percent is actually down from the last couple years, yet his HR/9 is way up. This is caused by a HR/FB ratio of 21.4 percent. Although this number has always been quite high for Myers — his career rate is 15.3 percent - the current level is ridiculous and completely unsustainable. Add to that a BABIP of .336, and we should expect Myers, who is currently 2-6 with a 5.79 ERA, to see improved results from here on out.


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