Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeSportsPartner Content | Blue Jays betting trends: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. generating lift-off

Partner Content | Blue Jays betting trends: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. generating lift-off

The first batch of MLB all-star voting results was revealed this week, which gives us a perfect opportunity to talk about the Toronto Blue Jays’ brightest star.

Of course, we mean Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who owns a 1.048 OPS this month. If your mind first drifted to Alejandro Kirk, don’t worry — we’ll mention him, too.

As Toronto enjoys Thursday’s off-day, check out our Blue Jays betting trends, with notes on Vladdy, Captain Kirk and others.

Blue Jays betting trends

Guerrero Jr.’s ground ball phenomenon

Hitting the ball very hard is a good thing. As we know, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. does that a lot, evidenced by his 55.7% hard-hit rate (99th percentile).

But not all hard-hit balls are created equal. When Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went into a bit of a funk — by his standards — in May, his average exit velocity stayed sky-high.

His ground ball rate, meanwhile, climbed to a concerning level. Check out his month-to-month splits:

Month Ground-ball% Hard-hit% wRC+
April 43.3% 53% 144
May 56.4% 54% 95
June 49.2% 60% 193

As you see, Vladdy righted the ship in June. He’s cleared the multi-base prop in 12 of 21 games, with eight home runs in that span.

What’s especially encouraging is that Guerrero isn’t lifting the ball into the air just for the sake of avoiding grounders — he’s crushing line drives. Despite the considerable drop-off in GB%, his average launch angle in June (5º) is only marginally higher than his season average (4.8º), per Baseball Savant.

Again, Guerrero’s offensive baseline is consistently buoyed by his propensity to mash. But now that he’s back to mashing at favourable launch angles, he’s even more dangerous.

The unluckiest Blue Jay

Matt Chapman slogged through his worst offensive output in 2021 (101 wRC+), and he’s been worse in that regard (94 wRC+) this season. But that’s not entirely his fault.

Based on the expected stats tallied at Baseball Savant, we can see that Chapman has been the unluckiest Blue Jay of the bunch.

Read more: How to bet on the Blue Jays

His .304 wOBA is 50 points behind what Savant expects the third baseman to have, based on contact quality. And his .382 slugging percentage is a whopping 105 points behind the expected mark. Both of those disparities are the widest margins among nine qualified Toronto hitters.

May was a particularly frustrating month for the first-year Blue Jay:

Statistic Actual Expected Difference
wOBA .264 .387 -.123
SLG .286 .511 -.225

If you backed Chapman on the prop market, only to watch a month full of lineouts and warning-track what-ifs in agony, we’re sorry.

On the bright side, Chapman has fared much better this month (130 wRC+). And his expected stats in June have been, well, expected:

Statistic Actual Expected Difference
wOBA .355 .353 +.002
SLG .464 .485 -.021

If Chapman’s true self in 2022 resembles his June output, with a hit in 10 of 15 games and 15 total runs scored, bettors will be able to nab value with him on a matchup-by-matchup basis.

Do we have a lucky Blue Jay? Anyone?

Sticking with Baseball Savant’s expected stats leaderboard, none of the Blue Jays appear to have four-leaf clovers growing at their lockers or a rabbit’s foot under their helmets.

George Springer is the closest we come, with a .489 SLG compared to a .444 xSLG. He’s the only qualified Toronto hitter with a slugging percentage that exceeds Baseball Savant’s expectation.

That’s encouraging for a team that ranks first in hard-hit rate (44.1%), first in expected batting average (.272) and second in average exit velocity (90.3). Statistically, there are no flukes in this group.

Certainly not the 23-year-old Kirk, whose all-star voting lead among catchers is damn near 700,000 ballots. Kirk was slow out of the gate, but he’s been absolutely ablaze since mid-May.

Games 1-30 .253 .327 .308
Games 31-59 .355 .460 .634

His .379 wOBA is 18th among all big-leaguers, and Baseball Savant has his xwOBA at .399. Imagine that … for as excellent as Kirk has been, at least one metric suggests he hasn’t hit his peak.

The late-game lowdown

Consider the Blue Jays’ record in the first five innings (F5) compared to their record overall:

  • F5 record: 29-27-13
  • Overall record: 39-30

In trying to figure out what this means, we first turned to the bullpen. Has the relief corps been stout enough to take the credit here? No, not really.

Toronto’s bullpen entered Wednesday ranked 22nd in ERA (4.32), 24th in fWAR (0.5) and 26th in FIP (4.23), before yielding another four earned runs in three innings. Jordan Romano, Adam Cimber and Tim Mayza have been a nice back-end trio, but the allotment as a whole doesn’t create an advantage.

Instead, the Blue Jays’ late-game edge comes from the batter’s box. From the sixth inning onward, Toronto often swings its way back into games or finds a way to pad a lead.

Stats (6th inning onward) Value MLB rank
BA .258 2nd
wOBA .330 2nd
wRC+ 113 3rd

To make use of this info, bettors might consider placing moneyline wagers on the full game more frequently than on F5. Alternatively, folks interested in live betting may consider capitalizing on an early Jays’ deficit in hopes of a comeback in the final frames.


Jordan Horrobin writes about sports betting for NorthStar Bets. NorthStar Bets is owned by NordStar Capital, which also owns Torstar, the Star’s parent company. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanHorrobin

Disclaimer This content was produced as part of a partnership and therefore it may not meet the standards of impartial or independent journalism.

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