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Betting/Fantasy Notebook: Oneil Cruz, Riley Greene Arrive, Jon Berti Emerges and Yankees, Mets Roll

Top prospects make their mark, a veteran making waves on the bases and dominance in the Big Apple.

It was another fun weekend in MLB. Let’s hit some highlights!

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Oneil Cruz

He’s Here

In case you didn’t notice, Oneil Cruz has arrived.

Cruz, MLB.com’s No. 22 prospect, announced his season debut with a 2-for-5, two-run, four-RBIs game to lead the Pirates to a 12-1 rout against the Cubs.

The Statcast darling impressed by immediately setting records.

His infield assist throw while fielding a Wilson Contreras groundout was clocked at 96.7 mph. That’s the fastest-thrown ball of any infield assist this season and the third-fastest in the Statcast era (since 2015).

He also clocked the three-fastest sprint speeds by a Pirate this season—yes, all in his first game—and the hardest-hit ball this season for the club (112.9).

If Cruz is somehow on your waiver wire, you can’t hesitate.

Cruz has +700 odds at SI Sportsbook to win National League Rookie of the Year, behind only Padres starter MacKenzie Gore (+350). The rookie competition is thin in the NL, and 7-1 odds looks awfully good to me.

Lovable Losers

The Pirates’ thrashing of the Cubs reminds us, yet again, how far the Cubs are from that 2016 World Series win.

The Cubs have allowed an average of 7.44 runs per game since June 1. It’s safe to say, stream your hitters vs. the Cubbies and stack against them in DFS.

If you’re looking at the slate on SISB, here’s another fact: In 12 of their 13 June losses, the Cubs have lost by more than the run line.

Riley Greene

Eye of the Tiger

Speaking of terrible teams, another young prospect had a great major league debut this weekend. Riley Greene impressed Saturday for the Tigers going 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. Greene, MLB.com’s No. 2 prospect, had been set to start the season with Detroit before breaking his foot in spring training.

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Greene has +4000 odds to win the AL Rookie of the Year at SI Sportsbook and is even behind teammate Spencer Torkelson (+2800). He’s got ground to make up to catch Jeremy Pena and Julio Rodriguez, but no one is really running away with it yet.

Age is But a Number

We’ve talked a lot about the young studs—also keep an eye on Jarren Duran, CJ Abrams and Alex Kirilloff—but let’s give it up for an old guy: Jon Berti.

Berti, 32, is a light hitter but he has good defensive flexibility. He’s always had trouble finding regular playing time, but it seems he’s settled in at third base for the Marlins—at least for now—and is now a reliable threat in his most dangerous way: on the bases.

Berti has stolen 16 bases since nabbing the job May 27. He’s a perfect 14 for 14 in the June, and he’s now tied for the MLB lead for extra bags with 18.

What a difference three weeks can make … and better yet? He’s still available in 50% of fantasy leagues and he can play anywhere inside the diamond.

New York Yankees starter Gerrit Cole pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 20, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

New York, New York

Finally, if you wondered if either of the New York teams are slowing down—the answer is NO. The Mets and the Yankees are combined 95-41.

It’s a great time to be a baseball fan in Gotham.

Is there a Subway (World) Series on the way? It’s looking like a very real possibility.

The Mets have +333 odds (second to only the Dodgers) to win the NL pennant, while the Yankees are the AL pennant favorites at +188 odds.

The Astros (+260 for the AL pennant) will play five games versus the Yankees and four games versus the Mets for their next nine contests. My guess is the Astros are about to get exposed and the Angels and Rangers could have a window of opportunity to make some moves in the AL West. But, then again, this is baseball—anything can happen.

Get out your popcorn. 

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