If you’re wondering why I stick to player props in baseball, it’s because of the pure randomness in baseball. The Royals who are missing 10 starters up in Toronto, still found a way to victory over the Blue Jays who were nearly -400 favorites last night. The Reds took two of three over the Yankees in New York! As John Sterling would say, “that’s baseball, Suzyn.”
It’s really hard to predict, but by isolating one side of the coin with player props, I feel like I have an easier time avoiding the chances of an offense going ice-cold one day the way the Blue Jays did last night. Or a bullpen faltering in the later innings. That’s not to say the volatility can’t strike on the pitcher prop side of things, but I’d like to think I’m reducing risk by just focusing solely on starting pitching. More than anything, this little rant is a reminder to not bet parlays or heavy favorites. I can 100% get behind taking an underdog on the moneyline in this sport if the edge is valid, or a relatively priced favorite, but steer clear when anything is -150 or more in my opinion.
Patrick Sandoval over 1.5 walks (-155) vs LAD
Unless if you’ve got Patrick Sandoval on the bump. Love to contradict myself right off the bat and take this juicy line, but I think the juice is worth the squeeze here. Sandoval has allowed two or more free passes in 12/14 starts this year, and in 2021 cleared this in 9/14. If he qualified he would have the 3rd highest walk rate (10.1%) out of all starters in the game.
Facing off against this explosive Dodgers lineup should also have Sandoval steering clear of the strike zone. Los Doyers have the 3rd best walk rate (9.8%) against southpaws and 17 of the last 25 lefties to face them have allowed two or more walks. Sandoval has four appearances against the Dodgers and has eclipsed this line all four times. SaberSim has him projected for 2.72 walks.
Alek Manoah over 18.5 outs (-115) vs KC
I wrote this up last night on my Twitter when it was at +120, but I still think Alek Manoah is worthy of a play at the current price against this AAAA lineup Kansas City has to roll out in Toronto. The Royals will once again be without Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, MJ Melendez, Hunter Dozier, Kyle Isbel, and Michael A. Taylor due to Covid restrictions in Canada. The only bat in their lineup that could Manoah problems is Bobby Witt Jr., and he’s a rookie. They’ll likely have only three batters with more than a year of MLB service time in the lineup once again tonight.
Manoah has followed up a stellar rookie campaign by posting a 2.34 ERA (10th best) in 107 2/3 innings (13th most) and finding his way to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. He has the ancillary stats to back it all up as well ranking in the top 81st percentile in xwOBA/xERA and top 97% in hardhit%. He makes quick work of the batters he faces and they see the 26th fewest pitches per plate (3.71) appearance out of 114 qualified starters. The Royals on the other hand tend to make quick work with their time at the plate seeing the fewest Pit/PA (3.77). Manoah has recorded 19+ outs in three of his last four starts, and SaberSim has him projected for 6.8 IP.
This guy wants to pitch deep into games. This is what he said to Jeff Passan recently. If he’s rolling I have a hard time believing their new interim manager will be pulling this bulldog out.
Brandon Woodruff over 16.5 outs (-125) vs SFG 2u
The Giants have been on a slide against right-handed pitching recently. They have the 4th worst wRC+ (77) over the last three weeks and have allowed 11 of the last 14 righty starters to six innings or longer. Things aren’t going to get any easier facing Brandon Woodruff who has been one of the best pitchers in the league since he made it to the big leagues. Don’t even bother with the 4.01 ERA he has so far this year, his xERA is 2.80 and xFIP is 2.98. He is not the most efficient starter, but he doesn’t have to be against a team reeling as hard as the Giants are right now. He went six innings with eight strikeouts allowing one run in both starts against San Francisco last season, and I’m expecting more of the same from him tonight.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)