Using Pitch Arsenal Analytics for MLB Handicapping - Prediction Machine

Using Pitch Arsenal Analytics for MLB Handicapping

Giants v. Padres Baseball

"Betting on sports is far more complex than most people realize and I enjoy sharing some of the tools that have been most useful over the years."

Traditionally, most professional handicappers and winning sports bettors keep their secret sauce close to the vest. It’s rare for someone to be able to make a living betting on sports, so if a proprietary formula or system helps them accomplish that, you can understand the desire for secrecy.

I share that same philosophy, but I also balance it with a strong desire to educate the masses about sports betting. Betting on sports is far more complex than most people realize and I enjoy sharing some of the tools that have been most useful over the years.

For instance, I explained how Bart Torvik’s ratings have helped me gain a college basketball edge here. In May, we examined how key analytics in baseball such as xERA and BABIP can be used to enhance your MLB handicapping.

This article focuses on little-known data points that very few recreational bettors utilize. The pitch arsenal data found at has rich insights that can be useful while betting a variety of ways.

Here’s a disclaimer before we get started: Remember this technique is just one stat in the handicapping constellation. You shouldn’t expect to be a winning bettor by solely relying upon this technique and ignoring other data.

How it works

Imagine if there’s an MLB team that is middle of the road in batting average but is extremely good at hitting curve balls. Now imagine that same team is facing a starting pitcher who relies heavily on his curve ball and data says that pitch hasn’t been very effective in 2023. In this scenario you could get good value betting on this lineup while the public is just looking at more well-known trends like batting average and slugging percentage.

This type of data requires a little digging, but below are examples of questions that can be answered after the excavation: 

Are the Red Sox a good fastball hitting team?

How do the Pirates handle off-speed pitches?

How good has Patrick Corbin’s sinker been compared to last season?

How do the No. 1 – 4 batters in the Reds’ lineup fair vs. 4-seam fastballs?

How often does Clayton Kershaw throw his fastball?

How effective has Yu Darvish’s sinker been this season?

What is Mike Trout’s batting average vs. fastballs?

Who are the best teams in MLB vs. each individual pitch?

What types of wagers is this useful for?

YRFI / NRFI – I enjoy combining pitch arsenal data with batter vs. pitcher data before making prop bets on whether or not a team will score in the first inning. Once lineups are released, you’ll know who the first 3-4 batters are and thanks to this data, you’ll know if their strengths and weaknesses against each pitch the guy on the mound has. For eight more things to consider while betting YRFI/NRFI prop bets, click here.

Player props – This is my favorite application of these stats. You can look up which batters are the best vs. certain pitches and bet the “over” on their hits, HR, or total bases for the day depending on what you see. For instance, at the time of publication, Arizona’s Corbin Carroll absolutely crushes 4-seam fastballs. He’s hitting .373 with an .800 slugging % vs. them, while Philadelphia’s Nick Castellanos is hitting a ridiculous .448 with a .642 slugging % vs. 4-seamers. If these guys are facing a guy like Colorado’s Austin Gomber who has yielding a .377 batting average vs. his fastball, then I like our chances on over props. Likewise if a batter struggles vs. a particular pitch featured heavily by the starter you could bet the under, just be careful you could get burned by a bad reliever.

F5 bets – This data can be used for full game totals and moneylines as well, but it’s more potent for first 5 innings lines because the data from starters is guaranteed to be relevant, while data from bullpen pitchers may be moot if the relievers you researched don’t throw that day. So far in 2023, the Reds are a good fastball hitting team, so you may be able to get good value when they’re an underdog on the F5 line vs. a pitcher who relies heavily on his fastball.