3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/23/19
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.
Edwin Encarnacion WILL Hit a Home Run (+310)
Edwin Encarnacion versus a lefty has been a recipe for success for some time. For his career, the 36-year-old slugger owns a .374 weighted on-base average and .230 isolated slugging (ISO) with the platoon advantage, coming on a 35.3% hard-hit rate and 47.1% fly-ball rate. Last year, his ISO fell to .167 in the split, but his batted-ball stats were very good in the form of a 44.4% hard-hit rate and 50.0% fly-ball rate.
It is admittedly a small sample, but the Seattle Mariners' designated hitter is 4-for-10 with two home runs against southpaws this season. He owns a 50.0% fly-ball rate and has yet to strike out against them.
Through his first four starts, Margevicius has been very good, turning in a 3.60 ERA and 3.57 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), leading the Mariners to a relatively low total of 3.73 runs. But the rookie has allowed three long-balls in four outings, and all three have been to right-handed bats. He's also been hit up for a 42.9% hard-hit rate and 37.% fly-ball rate in the split, the latter coming in lower than each of his two minor league stops a year ago.
Given Margevicius' tendency to give up gopher balls, we have Encarnacion projected for a slate-high 0.38 home runs. He has longer odds than Khris Davis (+210), who is the only hitter at or above 0.30 projected dingers, so there is some value baked into the veteran's chances of going deep.
Jose Altuve WILL Hit a Home Run (+550)
Unlike the Mariners, the Houston Astros have a high implied total at 5.04 runs, checking in third on the slate and as one of three teams above the five-run threshold. One of the current favorites to win the World Series, the Astros have averaged 5.9 runs at home so far this season, and tonight they host the Minnesota Twins, who will send Michael Pineda to the bump.
This season is Pineda's first since undergoing Tommy John surgery more than a year ago. The 30-year-old went 8-4 with a 3.77 SIERA in his most previous full season, but this one has been a struggle early on.
Through four starts and 18 2/3 innings, Pineda is 2-1, but his SIERA is up to 4.24, while he's allowed identical hard-hit and fly-ball rates (45.6%). A big reason for that is his lack of velocity. His fastball is averaging 92.7 miles per hour (MPH), the slowest of his career, and the same goes for his slider. As a result, his slider has proven to be the most productive pitch for opposing bats.
In particular, right-handed bats have enjoyed success, hitting Pineda hard 54.8% of the time with a fly-ball rate of 45.2%. They've hit two dingers in 42 batters faced, which leads to a 4.62 xFIP and .369 wOBA.
As always, there are a number of big-time righties in the Houston lineup, but Jose Altuve is undervalued in this righty-righty matchup. Last year, he produced a .374 wOBA and .140 ISO against righties, behind an OK 31.4% hard-hit rate. In this year's early going, Altuve possesses a .340 wOBA and .210 ISO in that split, and that's but part of his power surge this season.
Altuve dealt with a number of injuries last year, and while he produced good numbers, it would appear he wasn't at 100%. After hitting 13 home runs with a .135 ISO all of last year, the one-time MVP has already knocked out eight with a what would be a career-high .302 ISO. He has an elevated average exit velocity (89.4 MPH) and has increased his launch angle to 15.6 degrees (from 9.5 last year), according to Baseball Savant.
For the 'Stros, Tyler White is our most likely candidate for a home run, but Altuve is at a respectable 0.15. Where this is even more intriguing is that he is sixth in betting odds on his team and tied for 10th in the game.
Carlos Carrasco OVER 8.0 Strikeouts (-104)
To be kind, let's just say the Miami Marlins are a poor offensive club. They rank 29th in the Majors in wOBA (.266) and 27th in weighted runs created-plus (wRC+; 66), while they have struck out at a 26.8% clip, tying for the second-highest clip in that category.
As a product of that strikeout rate, the Marlins are sixth in the league with a 12.4% swinging-strike rate. Against righties alone, they strike out 31.0% of the time, leading MLB by a whole 3.4 percentage points within that split. They have struck out eight times or more in 14 of their 22 contests (63.6%), striking out at least 10 times in 11 of them.
A good right-handed pitcher, Carrasco is having a solid start with mixed results. While he is 2-2 with a 7.41 ERA, the 32-year-old carries his lowest SIERA (2.85) since 2015, and if the season ended today, his 36.3% strikeout rate would be his highest to date.
Despite a lower swinging-strike rate (13.4%) than a year ago, he's striking out 15.35 batters per 9 innings. He's managed two 12-strikeout games this year, and going back to last year, he's tallied eight-plus strikeouts in 16 of 34 starts.
Carrasco is tops on the entire day at 8.42 projected strikeouts, per our models, so it's an added bonus that you get a slightly higher return on the over compared to the under (-122). Don't overthink this one.