3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/17/19
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.
Aaron Judge WILL Hit a Home Run (+250)
As you probably know, Aaron Judge is a threat to leave the yard on any given night. He totaled 79 home runs across the 2017 and 2018 seasons, having turned in an isolated slugging (ISO) of .249 or higher in each of them. This year, however, his numbers are slightly down with the big man hitting just four long-balls for a .224 ISO through 16 games.
Nonetheless, Judge is having a good year, as an improved .399 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and 156 weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) would go to show. His hard-hit rate (48.6%) is also up from a year ago and ranks among the top 25 hitters in baseball. His fly-ball rate has slipped to 29.7%, but his launch angle, barrel rate and exit velocity are all up. In other words, regression is coming, which is quite evident from his .624 expected slugging percentage and .456 expected wOBA.
Judge has been no slouch against righties, either, hitting 71 of his 86 career homers without the platoon advantage. That's amounted to a .301 ISO on a 46.4% hard-hit rate and 38.7% fly-ball rate, and at Yankee Stadium alone his ISO is .394 versus right-handed pitching.
Boston Red Sox righty Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound against the New York Yankees tonight, and though he was reliable last year, the veteran is getting hammered through three starts. His ERA is up to an unsustainable 8.40, yet his 6.18 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) suggests that he's still pitched very poorly. After all, he's been hit hard at a 49.0% clip with a 36.7% fly-ball rate. He's allowing 3.60 home runs per 9 (HR/9) and goes to a park that tied for third in park factor and home run factor for right-handed hitters in 2018.
Per our models, Judge leads all hitters today at 0.32 projected dingers. He's ahead of J.D. Martinez -- 0.25 projected home runs -- in the same game at +230 odds.
Eddie Rosario WILL Hit a Home Run (+500)
For Trent Thornton, it's been quite an odd start to his Major League career. The 25-year-old is striking out 11.85 batters per 9 innings and has a 3.30 SIERA, but he has given up 2.63 HR/9 on a 42.9% fly-ball rate and 26.7% home-run-to-fly-ball rate. His 48.6% hard-hit rate is also the highest on the slate.
Thornton has had a ton of issues against hitters from the left side, as they have mashed out 3 home runs in 30 batters, coming on a 35.3% fly-ball rate and 52.9%(!) hard-hit rate. They have a collective .437 wOBA and .750 slugging percentage to show for it, and while those figure to drop with time, this is an unlikely spot for that to happen against these Minnesota Twins.
The Twins boast a handful of good left-handed bats, and as a team they are sixth in the league in ISO (.209) and fifth against righties alone (.210), including a .208 mark and a 40.5% fly-ball rate in only situations where a lefty bat is up against a righty arm. There are a number of places to go, as evident from a 4.63 implied total.
Among them, Rosario is third on the team in home run odds but first among lefties. He's also one of the hottest hitters in the league of late, hitting .357 with four home runs and a .500 ISO (seventh) dating back to April 6. In that sample, he has three home runs and a 42.9% fly-ball rate in 24 plate appearances against right-handed pitching. We project him for 0.16 home runs on the night.
Carlos Carrasco OVER 6.5 Strikeouts (-125)
The Seattle Mariners have been one of the Majors' best offenses early on this season. They are second in wins above replacement (4.5) and wOBA (.360) and first in wRC+ (135). That has been an integral piece of their 13-7 start, but they are now on a four-game losing streak and have managed no more than four runs in any of those. They've struggled mightily, and strikeouts have a lot to do with it.
Overall the last four, Seattle has a league-worst 34.6% strikeout rate and sits at 24.4% for the year, ranking 15th. Their walk-to-strikeout rate (0.37) is tied for the 10th-lowest in 2019, and that's even lower (0.34) against righties, whom they have a 24.8% strikeout rate (11th) in the split. The Mariners are also eighth in first-pitch strike rate (62.4%) and an OK 18th in swinging-strike rate (10.6%).
Enter Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, who -- much like Seattle -- has had a bit of an up-and-down year. However, traditional stats don't speak enough to the ups, with Carrasco 1-2 with a 12.60 ERA in three starts. But his batting average on balls in play is .613 compared to .315 last year and .309 for his career. Meanwhile, his 3.42 SIERA is nearly a fourth of that inflated ERA. All the while, he's continue to strike batters out at a rate of 30.9% and 15.3 per 9. He posted 12 punchouts before the Kansas City Royals knocked him out in less than an inning last game.
Last year, the righty managed seven or more Ks in 19 of 30 starts (63.3%) with a 29.5% strikeout rate and 15.3% swinging-strike rate. And finally, he has put together a 25.6% strikeout rate and an 82.1 mile-per-hour exit velocity in 82 plate appearances against active Mariners.
We have him down for 8.04 strikeouts this evening, giving him the top mark of the day and the only one to exceed the seven-K threshold.