MLB Betting: Using The OPS To Determine Buy And Sell Teams

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, June 24, 2016 2:57 PM GMT

Friday, Jun. 24, 2016 2:57 PM GMT

The stock market phrase says “buy low and sell high”. That is exactly what we are looking to do with my approach to finding value, using the OPS numbers for batting and pitching. 

The research is rather simple. In the chart below, I list the batting OPS and inverted pitching OPS numbers (remember, lower is better for the pitching OPS), then combine them into one number. I rank these OPS numbers, then compare them to the team’s W/L records for the season. When there is a difference of more than 6 positions in the rankings of the teams, they become either a BUY (play on) or SELL (play against) team. The chart below will list all the numbers, then I will conclude the BUY/SELL ratings. The teams are listed by their records at the beginning of the week after each team has played approximately 70 games of the season.
 

W/L

Rank

Team

W/L

Rec

Batting

Rank

Batting

OPS

Inverted

Pitch Rank

Inverted

Pitch OPS

Comb

Rank

Comb

OPS

1

Cubs

47-22

5

.784

1

.403

1

1.187

2

Texas

46-26

11

.750

17

.264

13

1.014

3

San Francisco

45-27

17

.726

5

.311

10

1.037

4

Washington

43-29

12

.748

3

.343

4

1.091

5

Cleveland

40-30

14

.739

7

.309

7

1.048

6

Baltimore

40-30

2

.786

21

.237

11

1.023

7

Boston

39-31

1

.836

8

.292

2

1.128

8

LA Dodgers

40-33

26

.692

2

.364

5

1.056

9

KC Royals

38-32

16

.734

15

.268

18

1.002

10

NY Mets

37-32

21

.715

4

.332

8

1.047

11

Toronto

39-34

9

.761

9

.289

6

1.050

12

St Louis

37-33

3

.785

6

.309

3

1.094

13

Miami

37-34

15

.737

10

.284

12

1.021

14

Seattle

36-35

7

.767

11

.280

8

1.047

15

Detroit

36-35

6

.768

23

.235

17

1.003

16

Houston

36-36

18

.723

13

.272

19

.995

17

CWS

35-36

25

.698

14

.271

20

.969

18

Colorado

34-36

4

.784

26

.224

15

1.008

19

NY Yankees

34-36

24

.698

18

.257

22

.955

20

Pittsburgh

34-37

10

.755

27

.208

21

.963

21

Arizona

34-39

8

.762

19

.247

14

1.009

22

Tampa Bay

31-38

13

.741

16

.267

16

1.008

23

LAA

31-40

20

.717

22

.236

23

.953

24

Milwaukee

31-40

19

.721

28

.193

26

.914

25

San Diego

30-42

28

.683

20

.243

24

.926

26

Philadelphia

30-42

29

.639

25

.234

29

.873

27

Oakland

29-41

27

.689

24

.233

25

.922

28

Cincinnati

28-43

23

.703

30

.166

30

.869

29

Atlanta

24-46

30

.634

12

.273

27

.907

30

Minnesota

22-48

22

.704

29

.175

28

.879

 

The first thing to note is how accurate these combined OPS numbers of batting and pitching are when ranking the teams by W/L record. Thus, when they diverge from their true order it is a key indicator that an adjustment is about to take place. Let’s start by looking at (3) SELL teams, all of whom have been red hot in recent weeks, thus making them ripe for an adjustment. Remember that at the end of each season, approximately 90% of the 30 MLB picks and teams will be playing .400-.600 ball. Understanding this is of key importance, and aids in the confidence that these adjustments will be made. 

 

SELL teams:

Texas Rangers
The Rangers lead the MLB in one run games at 17-4. That’s a major reason in and of itself that there will be an adjustment. They enter their game on Friday on a recent 15-3 surge; yet another reason to expect an adjustment. With the #11 batting rank and #17 pitching rank, their combined OPS is just 1.014, 13th best in MLB. But as a whopping 11 positions worse than the #2 record in baseball at 46-26, the above factors are a clear SELL sign for the Rangers.

 

San Francisco Giants
The Giants are obviously the hottest team in MLB betting, as after Thursday’s 5-3 win vs the Pirates their recent surge is now 30-9, including 11-1 recently in which they’ve averaged nearly 6 RPG. Atop of the rotation with three great starters makes them tough to play against, but the batting is just 17th in MLB for the course of the season, and their overall rank is #10, 7 positions higher than their #3 ranking. It is an even numbered year, so San Francisco may well go on to capture the World Series, but for right now they are a definite fade, as a short term adjustment is about to happen.

 

Kansas City Royals
The defending champion small ball Royals keep on doing it with smoke and mirrors. It was good enough to win the title last year, and after a slow start, they are now challenging Cleveland for divisional superiority. But their numbers, which are each bottom half and a combined #18 in MLB, say their #9 ranking is “faux” and not “fo’ real”. They’ve proven the last two years that they have a winning formula, but my rankings say that unless they improve dramatically, they will return to the middle of the pack this season. 

 

BUY teams:

St Louis Cardinals
There is little doubt in my mind that St Louis is ready to make a run. Should you doubt it, consider the 3 game sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley to begin the week. Further evidence can be seen in a 23-12 road record. For how long is a 15-21 home record of a team who has won 50 or more home games forever going to last? The OPS numbers confirm their BUY sign. As the #3 batting and #6 pitching add up to the #3 overall ranking, 9 positions ahead of where their 12thranked record has them. This “fo’ real” team is about to surge. Keep an eye on them!

 

Arizona Diamondbacks
Reminiscent of the record of St Louis is that of Arizona, who is 21-15 on the road but struggling at home with a 13-25 record. Chances are good that the home record begins to even itself out, and that Arizona has a mini surge. Their lower 3rd W/L record is significantly worse than their #14 overall ranking, buoyed by the #8 rank in hitting. As the pitching returns to health and the home/road record begins to even, Arizona is a team to keep your eye on. The 10-3 recent record indicates the uptick may have already begun. Let’s hope we don’t come to the party too late. Key will be the turnaround of the Arizona starters’ OPS numbers at Chase Field.

 

Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have been a peripatetic team as they caught fire with a 9-2 run when I formally added a BUY sign on them in early June. But a recent 7 game losing streak has flashed the BUY sign again. They now have the 22nd best record, but have a combined ranking of 16, including the 13th ranked batting OPS. This has been an outstanding road team with a .803 batting OPS when away from Florida, yet a sub .500 record on the road. The pitching is better than it has shown to date.

 

Seattle Mariners
The 7th ranked batting OPS combines with the 11th ranked pitching OPS for the #8 combined ranking. Yet they are struggling to stay above .500 after a 6-15 slide has left their backers wondering. Certainly the return of King Felix will be a major aid. Standing 6 positions lower than their ranking is an indication Seattle is ready to snap out of their slump and turn it around. 

 

There you have it, my late June BUY and SELL rankings for teams after approximately 70 games. If history is any indicator, there’s a lot of profit to be made BUYING and SELLING these teams. Also take these numbers into account when you take a look at MLB odds.

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