3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/19/19
Player props can be useful in a variety of ways, from taking advantage of them straight up (to the tune of cold hard cash) to measuring a player's potential to produce in daily fantasy baseball. High odds for a hitter bombing a home run or a pitcher tallying several strikeouts is something worth considering in building your FanDuel lineups. And that's a two-way street.
While you can use those odds in fantasy, you can also utilize our fantasy projections and a variety of other tools to help make money on betting everyday player props.
For the purposes of this article, we are using the odds provided at FanDuel Sportsbook to pinpoint three spots where value can be had on those players likely to go yard and over- or under-perform their expected strikeout total.
Please note that betting lines and our game projections may change throughout the day after this article is published.
Khris Davis WILL Hit a Home Run (+240)
On Thursday, Khris Davis and the Oakland Athletics agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $33.5 million. The 31-year-old slugger was set to hit free agency after this season, but the A's felt the need to lock down their big bat. After all, Davis has mashed a league-leading 143 home runs dating back to the beginning of the 2016 season, his first one in the Oakland clubhouse.
Last year, Davis hit 48 dingers, making it three straight seasons with 40-plus and marking a career-high to that point. It would appear that he's not satisfied, having bashed 10 home runs so far this season, putting him on pace for nearly 80 while averaging a home run every 8.2 plate appearances. And while he has become known as a lefty-killer, Khrush has already managed five home runs against right-handed pitching, and including last season he owns a .316 isolated slugging (ISO) on a 43.6% hard-hit rate and 48.8% fly-ball rate in that split.
That should all play well against Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who enters play today with a sparkling 1.99 ERA, but the advanced metrics tell a different story. His skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) sits at 4.10 -- higher than last year's 4.04 -- and he's allowing hard contact at a 41.9% rate. He has upheld a high ground-ball rate (56.7%) though, and has yet to give up a home run through 22 2/3 innings.
However, Davis' swing is made for success against Stroman, and he has seen him well in a limited sample size. According to Baseball Savant's Zone Charts, Davis -- against righties -- has hit 26 home runs down in the zone since 2016. In six at-bats against Stroman, he has three hits and one home run, along with three walks and an average exit velocity of 91.5 miles-per-hour on his five batted-ball events.
Hunter Renfroe WILL Hit a Home Run (+450)
Much like Davis, Hunter Renfroe has become a go-to name when going up against southpaws. He absolutely destroys them, sure, but he is no slouch versus same-sided pitchers. Without the platoon advantage, he boats a .236 ISO on the combination of a 40.7% hard-hit rate and 40.5% fly-ball rate, resulting in 39 home runs in roughly three seasons in the Majors.
Including this year's early numbers and those from 2018, Renfroe has improved that ISO to .272 against righties, coming on a 49.0% hard-hit rate and 38.3% fly-ball rate. He has a home-run-to-fly-ball rate of 26.6%, which jumps to 36.4% despite the pitcher's park that is Petco Park.
Anthony DeSclafani, whose home park in Cincinnati is anything but friendly to pitchers, will look to take advantage of an opportunity like this, but if this year's numbers are any indication he'll have to make some serious changes against the Padres. In his three starts this year, the 29-year-old has a 7.43 ERA and 4.42 SIERA, held up by 2.70 home runs allowed per 9 (HR/9), as well as hard-hit and fly-ball rates exceeding 40%. Righty bats have sent out two homers in 34 total batters faced, and while the batted-ball stats aren't terrible, last year DeSclafani was hit hard 41.9% of the time in the split.
Tonight, our models project DeSclafani to give up the second-most home runs in his outing, at 1.02, and we have Renfroe accounting for 0.32 of those. For reference, that is second behind only Aaron Judge, who is at much shorter odds (+250). The higher return is appealing enough, and it makes Renfroe a bit of a DFS sleeper at home tonight.
Carlos Correa WILL Hit a Home Run (+600)
On Friday night, the Houston Astros stay in Texas to take on the in-state rival Texas Rangers, who deploy lefty Drew Smyly. Smyly hasn't pitched quite as bad as his 7.15 ERA would suggest, but a 5.37 SIERA isn't very promising, nor is a 58.3% hard-hit rate or 41.7% fly-ball rate. Through 11 1/3 innings, he has allowed two balls to leave the yard, so it won't be surprising to see more than one Astro hit a homer.
No one can fault you for going with Alex Bregman or any one of their top bats, but Carlos Correa has some long odds, and ones worth targeting in this matchup. For starters, righties have both home runs against Smyly, coming on a 58.8%(!) hard-hit rate. And as for Correa, he -- in a limited sample -- has a 72.7% hard-hit rate against southpaws, turning that into a .595 weighted on-base average (wOBA), yet absent a home run. The 24-year-old has had his issues, but in a more healthy 2017, Correa converted a 43.2% hard-hit rate into a .217 ISO and .445 wOBA against left-handed pitching.
Lefties or not, Correa has had fun hitting in the environment at Globe Life Park. Since his first full season in 2016, he's mashed four home runs and a .536 ISO with a 60.0% hard-hit rate over 30 plate appearances. His ISO leads all Astros in that split, ahead of even George Springer and his five dongs in the heat of Texas.
Speaking of the weather, while it is only expected to be in the high 60s in Arlington, the wind is blowing out to right at 12 miles-per-hour, and the park was already seventh in both total park factor and home run factor for right-handed hitters.
Correa is projected for an OK 0.20 homers, but all the splits point to a nice return of $600 for every $100. He is fifth on team in home run odds but ahead of everyone, save for Tyler White, in our projections.