3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/9/19
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)
Yesterday, we looked past Khris Davis in favor of his teammate, Stephen Piscotty, at longer odds. We won't make the same mistake today as the Oakland Athletics remain in Baltimore for a matchup with youngster John Means.
The 25-year-old lefty has only nine innings of Major League work under his belt and is without a single start in that span. Through three appearances this year, he has a respectable 2.33 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), but he has already given up one dinger, bringing his total to two in his brief career. You can chalk that up to small sample size, but the truth is, Means opens himself up to it by allowing a lot of fly balls. After allowing a 33.3% fly-ball rate a year ago, that number's up to 38.5% this season, and it is a juicy 46.7% for his career against right-handed bats (25 batters faced).
If there's one thing Khrush does well, it's mash baseballs off lefty pitching. Over the last three calendar years, he sports 31 home runs and a .277 isolated slugging (ISO) on a 41.2% fly-ball rate and 45.7% hard-hit rate. Exactly 26.1% of his fly balls have left the park in that split.
That's even more impressive when you look at Davis' home park in Oakland, which is among the bottom 10 hitter's parks over the last three years. Overall, Camden Yards is below average with a park factor of 99, but it has been much more friendly to right-handed bats, ranking in a tie for fifth in home run factor, according to FanGraphs.
Davis is tied for first (0.33) of all today's hitters in projected homers, higher than fellow slugger J.D. Martinez (0.30), whose odds are a hair shorter at +230.
Brandon Lowe WILL Hit a Home Run (+550)
Standing 6' tall and weighing in at 185 pounds, Brandon Lowe doesn't fit the mold of a typical home run hitter, but the 24-year-old has flashed some power in his time in the big leagues. Over 53 games and 183 plate appearances to date, the Tampa Bay Rays second baseman has tallied seven home runs en route to a .204 ISO. And in his last stop before the bigs, he produced 14 dingers with a .309 ISO in 46 games at Triple-A Durham.
As far as his batted-ball profile goes, what we have from Lowe so far is a 32.5% fly-ball rate and 37.7% hard-hit rate. Against righties, the lefty bat has done a large chunk of his damage, hitting them up for a four home runs on a 41.8% hard-hit rate and 30.8% fly-ball rate.
Tonight, the Chicago White Sox will throw righty Ervin Santana, who is a shell of the pitcher he once was. The 36-year-old vet will be making his first start of the year following 2017 and 2018 campaigns with SIERAs of 4.60 and 5.95, respectively. He spent a lot of last year in the minor leagues, and when he did pitch at the highest level he allowed a 59.8% fly-ball rate and 36.8% hard-hit rate. Of all players to pitch 10-plus innings last year, that first mark ranked second-to-last. He allowed a whopping 3.28 home runs per 9 innings (HR/9) -- four of which came via the 71 batters hitting from the left side of the dish.
Facing Santana is a recipe for success for Lowe, and our models agree. They have the young Ray projected for 0.30, tying him with J.D. Martinez for fifth on the day and second only the early-only slate.
Luis Castillo OVER 7.5 Strikeouts (-112)
Luis Castillo is now in his second full season of MLB play after starting 46 games in the year-and-a-half prior. The jury is still out on him ever being an elite type of pitcher, but if there's one thing he's shown in his time with the Cincinnati Reds, it's that he can miss bats with the best of them.
Back in 2017, Castillo converted a 12.6% swinging-strike rate into a 27.3% strikeout rate and 9.87 punchouts per 9 innings (K/9). He increased his swinging-strike rate to 13.5% last year, in spite of a lower 23.3% strikeout rate. So far in his age-26 season, he is posting even more promising rates, with a 12.08 K/9 on a 34.7% strikeout rate and a 14.1% swinging-strike rate.
Through two games, Castillo has tallied eight and nine strikeouts. In 2018, he had a total of seven games with eight or more strikeouts, including two in hist last five starts.
On Tuesday, he gets the pleasure of facing a Miami Marlins team with the league's worst strikeout rate (30.3%) against right-handed pitching. They are the only team above 30%, and when we look to last year's numbers this roster it's clear this club ill-equipped to handle a swing-and-miss pitcher like Castillo. Their active roster is sixth in strikeout rate against righties going back to the beginning of the 2018 season.