The New York Mets have won six of their last seven games, but the advanced stats make us think the Mets belong in the “fade” bucket for our second-half baseball picks.
Jason's 2015 record as of July 16: 31-24, plus-7.36 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
There are two proper ways to make money betting on baseball. The first is to bet on undervalued teams. The second is to bet against overvalued teams. We've already identified three potential “follow” candidates for the second half of the 2015 regular season; now we look at the other side of the coin, the teams who have put more wins in the win column than their performance levels would suggest.
Once again, we turn to the Simple Rating System (SRS) at Baseball Reference to give us our performance reports. Sabermetrics can't solve all our problems, but these SRS numbers are both quick and free, so they're already giving us plenty of value with our MLB picks. First up: a team that was one of the best around back in April.
New York Mets (47-42, +4.42 units)
Not too long ago, the Mets were the kings of New York, starting the year off at 13-3. By the time late June rolled around, the Mets were down to 36-37. But they've found a second wind and gone 11-5 in their last 16 games. What can we expect in the second half? Judging by that –0.4 SRS, plenty of misery. New York also has a –2 run differential, and we're not sure if or when David Wright (spinal stenosis) and Travis d'Arnaud (hyperextended left elbow) are going to return from the disabled list.
Chicago White Sox (41-45, –4.71 units)
The White Sox have enjoyed some recent success of their own, winning nine of their last 12 games to climb back toward respectability in the AL Central. However, the Sox have a –0.5 SRS, the worst on the junior circuit, and their –73 run differential translates to an expected win-loss record of 34-52. At least everyone's relatively healthy, though. Chris Sale (2.21 FIP) could definitely end up winning the AL Cy Young. Too bad the Pale Hose are dead last in the majors in hitting at –3.7 WAR. They're the only team hitting at below replacement level this year.
Atlanta Braves (42-47, +2.63 units)
Smoke and mirrors can only get you so far. The Braves are tied for the second-worst performance level in the majors at –0.9 SRS, with a –38 run differential that would normally lead to a 40-49 record. Where did those two extra wins come from? Probably in 1-run games, where Atlanta is 17-14 this year. The Braves were swept in four games by the Colorado Rockies going into the All-Star break, but judging by these numbers, there's still room to fade Atlanta when you're making your baseball picks for the second half. That ever-growing injury list is promising, too. Looks like two-time All-Star Freddie Freeman (right wrist contusion) isn't healing as quickly as hoped. No rush, Freddie.