3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on Friday 4/16/21
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 on FanDuel. Here, we're going to focus on the former.
Please note that betting lines and our projections may change throughout the day after this article is published.
Kyle Schwarber to Hit a Home Run (+430)
This is a great matchup for Kyle Schwarber to hit his first tater of the year.
Schwarber is up against righty Taylor Widener. The Arizona Diamondbacks' pitcher has faced 61 total left-handed hitters in his career, and he's allowed four dingers to them along with a .417 wOBA, 38.1% hard-hit rate and 47.6% fly-ball rate. The sample size isn't huge, but Widener looks like a guy with massive issues against lefty bats.
Enter Schwarber. After getting a late start to this season, Schwarber has put up a 40.0% hard-hit rate and 41.7% fly-ball rate in a very small sample of 19 plate appearances. He owns a lengthy track record of pop against righties, sporting a 44.7% hard-hit rate in the split in 2020 and a 41.4% hard-hit rate in 2019.
At a pretty enticing +430 line, Schwarber to go deep is one of my favorite props of the night.
Zach Eflin Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+104)
Zach Eflin was pretty darn good in 2020. He finished the shortened season with a 3.50 SIERA and 28.6% strikeout rate. While his 10.2% swinging-strike rate from a year ago hints at some negative regression in the punchout department, Eflin has upped his swinging-strike rate to 11.2% this season, although the sample size is a tiny 13 innings.
Time will tell how legit Eflin's 2020 numbers actually are, but so far, so good.
Tonight he'll see a St. Louis Cardinals offense that was right at the league average for strikeout rate in 2020 (23.7%) and is hovering in that area again in the early part of this campaign (23.7%). The Cards' carry a meh 3.98 implied total.
Our model projects Eflin to get 6.1 strikeouts tonight.
Andrew Vaughn to Hit a Home Run (+650)
The third overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Andrew Vaughn, is off to a slow start in his MLB career. Debuting this season, Vaughn has struggled to a .273 wOBA and 32.1% strikeout rate in his first 28 plate appearances. But the right-handed slugger is in a good spot to notch his first career homer tonight thanks to a Fenway Park matchup with Nick Pivetta.
In 120 1/3 frames since the start of 2019, Pivetta has permitted a 39.8% hard-hit rate. Back in 2019, Pivetta's last campaign that resembles anything close to a full season, Pivetta gave up a .361 wOBA in righty-righty matchups.
Fenway should aid Vaughn. Per ESPN's Park Factors, it was the third-most hitter-friendly park in 2020.
Admittedly, this is a long shot, but that's why we are getting it at +650. Among the homer-prop dart throws, Vaughn isn't a bad roll of the dice. And you can get +1000 odds on Vaughn to go yard and the Chicago White Sox -- who are 1.5-run favorites -- to win.