3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/2/19
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.
Christian Yelich WILL Hit a Home Run (+320)
Last year's NL MVP has opened this season on a tear. Through five games, Christian Yelich has bombed four home runs with a .683 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and a ridiculous .824 isolated slugging (ISO). His 47.6% hard-hit rate and 23.5% fly-ball rate from 2018 are up to a 60.0% hard-hit rate and 46.7% fly-ball rate so far this campaign, according to FanGraphs.
Yelich is coming off of his first game without a home run this year, so he might be due for another tonight in Cincinnati, as crazy as that sounds. The Milwaukee Brewers battle the Cincinnati Reds, and they'll take on right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who is by no means a great pitcher.
While DeSclafani maintained a respectable 3.96 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) a season ago, the 28-year-old averaged just 8.45 strikeouts per 9, compared to 1.88 homers per 9 (HR/9), and he allowed a 41.9% hard-hit rate and 36.1% fly-ball rate, a combination which led to a home-run-to-fly-ball rate (HR/FB) of 19.8%. At home, his HR/FB rate increased to 25.0% in 139 batters faced.
If that's not enough for your confidence, Yelich has done some serious damage in a small sample size against the Reds' starter. In 12 at-bats, he has six hits with two doubles, two home runs and a .538 on-base percentage, and according to Baseball Savant, he put seven of 20 pitches in play to the tune of two barrels in their meetings a year ago.
Tonight, we project Yelich for 0.30 home runs, putting him fourth on the entire day.
Ryon Healy WILL Hit a Home Run (+470)
Up against the Los Angeles Angels' Trevor Cahill, Ryon Healy is in a great spot to continue his own hot start. According to the oddsmakers, the Seattle Mariners' implied total is at 4.25 in a game tied for the third-highest over/under (8.5 runs).
Cahill had an up-and-down first start, going six innings but allowing four earned runs on six hits and two long-balls. His numbers last year would tell us that the 31-year-old has made himself into a solid pitcher, going 7-4 with a 4.06 SIERA and a minuscule 0.65 home runs per 9. However, he really struggled in his 46-plus road innings, allowing a .349 wOBA with an ERA at 6.41. Against righties away from home, he allowed a .396 wOBA and 1.23 homers per 9.
Healy is a good right-handed bat who hits right-handed pitching quite well. In 2018, the corner infielder hit up righties for 18 of his 24 home runs on a 35.4% hard-hit rate and 37.0% fly-ball rate. Both of his early-season dingers have come against righties, and he's now back in T-Mobile Park, where he had his highest ISO (.210) against righties.
Healy's betting odds imply just a 17.54% probability of him going deep, but our models have Healy among seven hitters most likely to hit a homer.
Hyun-jin Ryu OVER 6.5 Strikeouts (+120)
While everyone looks to bet on the strikeout totals for aces like Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Chris Sale and Blake Snell, we're pivoting to Hyun-jin Ryu as he and the Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants out at in L.A. tonight. And given the pitching matchup with Madison Bumgarner, you might not feel comfortable betting on a win, but Ryu's expected to have success, standing as a -168 favorite on the moneyline and sporting a 3.12-run implied total against.
This year's version of the Giants' lineup is the opposite of frightening. They are 28th with a wOBA of .295 for their active roster, a number that drops to .281 based on last year's performance against left-handed pitching, per FanGraphs. As a whole, their strikeout rate was just 17.2% in that split, though through five games in 2019, their team strikeout rate is up to 27.2% -- seventh in the Majors -- and 26.3% in 95 plate appearances against lefty hurlers.
In his lone start this year, the 32-year-old Ryu went six strong, tallying eight strikeouts for a 36.4% strikeout rate. It's just one game, and Ryu still had a respectable 27.5% strikeout rate last year, but he showed some significant changes in his approach, throwing his fastball 47.6% of the time, compared to 37.0% and 36.8% in 2018 and 2017, respectively, as he moved away from his slider.
All that's to say that we could see an uptick in strikeouts from Ryu starting today. Our models have him projected for 6.99 strikeouts, trailing only those four elite pitchers mentioned above for punchouts on this slate.