Ride Jimmy Nelson's 2017 Success at Plus Odds for Your Sunday Baseball Picks

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Mark Lathrop

Sunday, July 9, 2017 2:04 PM GMT

Jimmy Nelson has made changes to the good this year, and Masahiro Tanaka has made changes for the worse. Our resident sabermetrician, Mark Lathrop, breaks down each pitcher coming into their Sunday MLB matchup.

Milwaukee Brewers vs NY Yankees

In this detailed write up on Jimmy Nelson by Jeff Sullivan he outlines the changes in the 6’ 6” right-hander’s delivery that has made him a near ace this year for the Milwaukee Brewers. The improvement is real and drastic, and the league hasn’t caught up to the changes yet. One of the points that Jeff makes is that Nelson has simplified his delivery, a good sign that these changes can be permanent. His statistical results tell the story, with an FIP improvement from 5.12 in 2016 to 3.12 in 2017. At 7-4 on the year, Nelson is also one win away from matching his entire total in the 2016 season of 8.

These kinds of jumps are rare, so it is important to ride them for your sports picks while the betting public is not in tune with the situation. Nelson’s K/9 rate has jumped from 7.03 to 9.69 year over year, and his BB/9 rate from 4.32 to 2.16. That’s a K-BB% of 13.6%! His measure of improvement alone would rank him in the top 30 in the league, and his mark is in the top 12. His .332 BABIP shows there is room for luck-based improvement in his results as that is 29 points over his career average. Nelson is a ‘bet on’ candidate in most situations on the mound.

He’ll face Masahiro Tanaka in this matchup at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka is having an off year, although I’ve been able to back him in some spots. His increase of a 3.51 FIP to a 4.90 FIP this year are almost mysterious other than his HR/FB% ratcheting up to 22.1% this season. You need to look at the changes in his results per pitch to see the big picture:

Batting Average Allowed by Pitch Type (Ordered by the rank of pitches thrown in 2016):

 

In this detailed write up on Jimmy Nelson by Jeff Sullivan he outlines the changes in the 6’ 6” right-hander’s delivery that has made him a near ace this year for the Milwaukee Brewers. The improvement is real and drastic, and the league hasn’t caught up to the changes yet. One of the points that Jeff makes is that Nelson has simplified his delivery, a good sign that these changes can be permanent. His statistical results tell the story, with an FIP improvement from 5.12 in 2016 to 3.12 in 2017. At 7-4 on the year, Nelson is also one win away from matching his entire total in the 2016 season of 8.

These kinds of jumps are rare, so it is important to ride them while the betting public is not in tune with the situation. Nelson’s K/9 rate has jumped from 7.03 to 9.69 year over year, and his BB/9 rate from 4.32 to 2.16. That’s a K-BB% of 13.6%! His measure of improvement alone would rank him in the top 30 in the league, and his mark is in the top 12. His .332 BABIP shows there is room for luck-based improvement in his results as that is 29 points over his career average. Nelson is a ‘bet on’ candidate in most situations on the mound.

He’ll face Masahiro Tanaka in this matchup at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka is having an off year, although I’ve been able to back him in some spots. His increase of a 3.51 FIP to a 4.90 FIP this year are almost mysterious other than his HR/FB% ratcheting up to 22.1% this season. You need to look at the changes in his results per pitch to see the big picture:

Batting Average Allowed by Pitch Type (Ordered by the rank of pitches thrown in 2016):


As you can see, Tanaka has had to make huge adjustments in his pitch mix to try to find something successful. His slider and curveball are the only pitches in his arsenal that have any positive outcomes this year, and he barely throws his curveball. He’s basically abandoned his fastball as it is getting crushed with a 31.6% line drive rate. His sinker, his most thrown pitch in 2016, is associated with a 36.4% HR/FB rate this year. Hitters are focused on hitting pitches lower in the zone, and that is where Tanaka has lived his entire career.

The Moneyline out on this game is at -142 on the Yankees is quickly moving and has already gone up to -153 at Pinnacle. I believe this is the wrong side to be on and will grab Milwaukee on the Moneyline at plus betting Lines when this line move starts to reverse itself.

Free MLB Pick: Milwaukee Brewers ML (+143)Best Line Offered at Pinnacle

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2017 MLB Record, 132-121-7, -0.15 Units