Eys Breakers: Expert Picks – MLB Strikeout Props For Friday
Betting analyst Keith Eyster gives his best MLB player prop picks for today — Friday, June 24, 2022.
We have a full 15 game schedule in MLB tonight with all games getting started at 6:40 ET or later.
Weather is mostly clear across the league with some slight risk for pop-up storms in Atlanta and Minnesota. Kevin Roth has you covered with all the updates over on the RotoGrinders weather page.
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Free MLB Strikeout Props Picks For Friday
Alek Manoah Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-134)
Let’s get started in Milwaukee, where the Brewers face off against Alek Manoah and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Manoah has been incredible in just his second season in the big leagues. He owns a 2.00 ERA with a 22.7% strikeout rate and an elite 4.7% walk rate. The strikeouts are down a bit from the 27.7% rate he posted in his rookie season, but the improvement in the walk rate has allowed him to pitch deeper into games.
Manoah has been over 5.5 strikeouts in 6 of his 13 starts this season, and I think the matchup can get him over the hump again today. We have seen him ramp up the strikeouts in good matchups before, including recent starts with 7 strikeouts against Baltimore and 9 strikeouts against the Angels.
Milwaukee has struck out at 23.5% this season, which is 9th most in the league. They have been a slightly below average offense overall with a 98 wRC+ and a .333 wOBA that ranks 15th. They have five batters in their projected lineup with strikeout rates above 24% versus right-handed pitching this season, and no one has a strikeout rate below 19%.
Manoah has pitched through the 6th inning in all but two of his starts this season. The pitch count has been as high as 102 this year, with him throwing at least 90 pitches in 8 of his 13 starts.
He should be able to work deep here against a mediocre offense with plenty of swing-and-miss. I like Manoah to go over 5.5 strikeouts.
Merrill Kelly Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+120)
Next, we look to the desert, where the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Detroit Tigers. Merill Kelly gets the nod for the D-backs in his 15th start of the season.
Kelly has posted above average results with a 3.46 ERA. His 4.09 xFIP and 4.34 SIERA suggest he has been a bit fortunate, but the skills are in line with his career numbers. The strikeouts sit slightly below average at 20.3%, and the walks are up at 8.9%. I think we can expect some regression in the walk rate as he sits at 6.6% for his career.
The numbers all point to Kelly being merely a league average starting pitcher, but his matchup today against Detroit is what has my interest.
The Tigers own the 6th highest strikeout rate in baseball at 23.7%. They have the second-worst wOBA in all of baseball at .271, and they are tied for last with a 75 wRC+. They have six batters in the projected lineup that have struck out over 25% versus right-handed pitching this season. They also walk at just 6.5% which is the lowest walk rate in the league. This is without a doubt one of the worst offenses in MLB.
The leash for Kelly is another positive. He has nine starts where he has thrown over 90 pitches and two starts over 100 pitches. He has pitched through the 6th inning in each of his last three starts, and he has a great chance to do it again today against a bad Tigers offense. I Kelly to get over 5.5 strikeouts.
Aaron Nola Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+106)
Our next target is out in San Diego, where the Padres take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Aaron Nola will make his 14th start of the season for the Phillies.
Nola has put together another great season with a 3.11 ERA. The underlying metrics including his 2.79 SIERA and 2.89 xFIP suggest he has pitched slightly better than his results. His strikeout rate sits well-above average at 28.7% and his walk rate is the second best in baseball among qualified starting pitchers at 3.2%.
Nola has been over 6.5 strikeouts in 8 of his 14 starts this season. He has one of the longest leashes in baseball with 6 starts over 100 pitches. He has worked through 8 innings in 3 of his last 5 starts. =
His matchup today is a good one. San Diego has been right around league average this season with a 102 wRC+ and .310 wOBA. However, they will almost certainly be without star third baseman Manny Machado again as he is recovering from a significant ankle injury. The Padres strikeout rates are not ideal, but there is no one in the projected lineup with a strikeout rate below 16% versus righties this year.
Nola should dominate this watered-down Padres lineup and go over 6.5 strikeouts today.
Alex Cobb Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+102)
Finally, we head up the coast to San Francisco, where the Giants host the Cincinnati Reds. Alex Cobb attempts to get his season back on track in his 10th start of the season.
Things could not be going worse for Mr. Cobb this season. He has been extremely unlucky with multiple injuries and horrendous batted ball luck. The ERA sits at an ugly 5.62, but the underlying metrics are excellent and we should see some serious positive regression if Cobb can stay healthy now.
The SIERA is down at 2.92 and his 2.64 xFIP would rank second among starting pitchers if he had enough innings to qualify. The strikeouts are at a career-high 27.2% and the walks are a manageable 7.2%. These numbers all point to Cobb being a significantly above-average starting pitcher.
The biggest concern with Cobb today is the pitch count. He threw just 60 pitches his last time out after returning from a brief IL stint. He should be able to get to around 80 pitches today if things are going well.
The matchup against Cincinnati is a positive. They rank just 22nd with a .304 wOBA and have an 88 wRC+. They strike out around league-average at 22.8%.
I am definitely trusting the stuff here and taking on some risk, but I absolutely believe in Cobb’s transformation over the off-season. He has not been able to show what he is capable of very often this season due to some awful luck. I think he gets back on track today and Cobb goes over 4.5 strikeouts.
Eys Breakers Friday Betting Card
That will do it for today’s breakdown of the MLB slate. We were able to identify four strikeout props to target:
- Alek Manoah Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-134, FanDuel)
- Merrill Kelly Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+120, PointsBet)
- Aaron Nola Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+106, FanDuel)
- Alex Cobb Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+102, FanDuel)
Thank you for reading and good luck with your bets today!