3 MLB Prop Bets to Target on 4/24/19
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.
Bryce Harper WILL Hit a Home Run (+310)
Both Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins are home run candidates tonight, checking in with a projected 0.33 and 0.31 dingers, positioning them second and third on the day, respectively, as well as one and two on Wednesday's main slate. However, Hoskins boasts more power against righties, while Harper maintains his long-ball ability in same-sided matchups. Oh -- and his odds are more profitable than Hoskins' (+250).
Those splits are in play with lefty Jason Vargas taking the mound for the New York Mets as they host Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils have a 4.30 implied total for this one, and our projections have the southpaw down for 0.83 projected home runs against. After all, Vargas is allowing 2.61 home runs per 9 innings (HR/9), the most he's allowed since 2007. Through four appearances and 10-plus innings, he's been mashed to the tune of a 64.3% fly-ball rate and 50.0% hard-hit rate.
To date, Vargas hasn't allowed a dinger to a left-handed bat, but he gave up three in a limited sample last season, stemming from a 37.3% hard-hit rate. Meanwhile, Harper hit nine in the split in 2018, and he's already tallied two through 25 plate appearances against lefty hurlers. That brings him to a .212 isolated slugging (ISO) and a 37.9% hard-hit rate going back to the 2015 season.
Don't let the lefty-lefty matchup fool you. And even if you're skittish about it, we expect Vargas to go 5.45 innings, which will open up opportunities for Harper to face a Mets bullpen giving up the eighth-most HR/9 and putting together a 5.21 xFIP that's better than only one team in the Majors.
Trey Mancini Hit a Home Run (+450)
Early on this season, the majority of talk around the Baltimore Orioles has been negative. After all, they are 9-16 and last in the American League East, with the lowest of lowlights in Chris Davis breaking baseball's hitless streak record. Baltimore is 19th in weighted on-base average (wOBA) and 21st with a .160 ISO through 25 games, however, they are 12th and 17th with 15 total dingers since Davis' streak came to an end on April 13.
Trey Mancini has been one of the few constants throughout, producing a .419 wOBA and .280 on the year, but not one of his six homers have come in the last 13 contests. In other words, he's due, and a date with a weak right-hander seems like the right time to target a power-fueled night.
Versus righties, Mancini has hit his way to a .389 wOBA and .246 ISO through 76 plate appearances. He's converted a 37.7% fly-ball rate into four home runs in the split, despite a mediocre 28.3% hard-hit rate. In looking at his 2018 numbers, though, that figures to increase, as Mancini managed hard contact 37.9% of the time against right-handed pitching.
As if he needed it, the Chicago White Sox' Ervin Santana will surely help boost those righty-on-righty figures. The 36-year-old veteran possesses a nightmarish 10.38 ERA and an equally bad 7.20 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) in two starts (8.2 innings), the fruit of an OK 32.4% hard-hit rate but a homer-friendly 52.9% fly-ball rate. He's already seen five balls leave the yard on his watch, resulting in 5.19 HR/9. Last year's 3.28 mark upholds the concerns, particularly against a righty, against whom Santana has surrendered 6.2 HR/9 behind a 40.8% hard-hit rate and 65.3% fly-ball rate across 62 batters.
Our models have Mancini as the most likely Oriole to take one deep at 0.25 projected homers. He's also top 10 on the day, ahead of all but one player hitting at Coors Field. He carries great betting value is a solid DFS option at $4,100.
Ervin Santana UNDER 4.0 Strikeouts (-108)
While Santana has hemorrhaged homers, he's also had problems issuing punchouts. Before this year's 9.1% strikeout rate and 4.15 strikeouts per 9, he posted an already-low 14.0% strikeout rate en route to 5.84 per 9 in his time with the Minnesota Twins last year.
Just in case you think something's off there, the numbers say otherwise. After fanning hitters on a measly 4.2% of pitches last season, Santana has upped that swinging-strike rate to just 5.0% early on this season. Hitters display an 87.7% contact rate and 21.1% chase rate out of the zone with the latter ranking ninth-lowest of all starting pitchers.
For all their issues, the O's aren't the same team they were last year. In 2018, they finished eighth in overall strikeout rate (23.4%) and strikeout rate against right-handed pitching (23.6%), but those two figures are down to 22.2% (23rd) and 20.9% (24th) this year, and on a lower swinging-strike rate (11.5%) to boot.
We project Santana for 3.84 strikeouts, the lowest of any starter on the slate. Compared to -118 odds on the over, the under yields a better return at $92.59 for every $100 laid.