Make Underrated Maeda & Dodgers Your MLB Pick vs. Diamondbacks

Charles Stark

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

When handicapping and making MLB Picks it's good to take a solid look at the underdogs. Today Arizona is the underdog at Los Angeles and odds makers have made the Dodgers a pretty strong favorite. Where is the value in this National League West matchup?

The Market
The MLB Odds makers have made Los Angeles a -158 favorite like at Heritage Sports. For one of my MLB picks today I'm going to back the Dodgers as the favorite because of starting pitcher Kenta Maeda. He is still a little bit off the radar but in my opinion is one of the best pitchers in the major leagues.


Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks come in hitting .260 as a team which ranks 13th in the major leagues and have Patrick Corbin on the mound with a 3.78 career ERA. The Diamondbacks have had a tough start to the year and come in with a record of just 2-5. However, three of those losses were to the Chicago Cubs who looked to be the best team in the National League.

They have a decent lineup of course led by perennial All-Star Paul Goldschmidt but they have not done much at the plate in their last three games scoring a total of just eight runs in those contests. Right now the big issue with them offensively would be their strikeout to walk ratio where they rank 16th in strikeout percentage and 29th in walk percentage.

Starter Patrick Corbin has made a decent come back from Tommy John surgery but has struggled a little bit against the Dodgers recently. Last year against Los Angeles he gave up six earned runs off of 13 hits in 10 innings pitched. He did however have a pretty good outing in his first start of the year giving up four earned runs in seven innings off of three hits but unfortunately three of those hits went out of the park.

Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers come in ranking first in the major leagues in plate appearances and are averaging six runs a game which ranks fifth. Kenta Maeda gets the start for Los Angeles on the first of a three game series and I'm really high on him this season. I've been watching him pitch for the last several years for the Hiroshima Carp and he has been absolutely lights out.

The big debate in Japan when Masahiro Tanaka got signed with the New York Yankees was that Maeda was probably better than him at that time but was locked into his contract with Hiroshima. Now he gets his chance the start for one of the best-known franchises and I'm sure he will make the most of this opportunity as long as his arm stays healthy. He hits his spots, has a really nasty slider and for guys that have not had a chance to face him I doubt they will have a lot of success.

Of course this is not Japan and I expect for eventually players to knock him around a little bit but I also expect for him to be one of the top 10 pitchers in the league by the end of the year. At the plate the Dodgers have been knocking the ball all over the place averaging almost 11 hits per game which ranks second in the major leagues and 16 total bases which ranks them eighth. Sometimes it's okay to take a favorite in major league baseball and today that case will be made with the Dodgers.

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MLB Pick:  Dodgers -158
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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