Eys Breakers: Expert Picks – MLB Strikeout Props For Monday

MLB player props for Today include Kirby.
(Image Credit: Imagn)

Betting analyst Keith Eyster gives his best MLB player props picks for today — Monday, June 27, 2022.

We have nine games on the MLB schedule today, with all games getting started at 7:05 PM ET or later. Weather looks to be mostly clear, although there is some slight risk in Washington and New York. 

Jordan Montgomery Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-132)

I want to get started in New York. The prop we are targeting is an under, so we do not need to be concerned about the potential weather. Let’s get into it. 

The New York Yankees welcome the Oakland Athletics to town after wrapping up a series split with Houston this weekend. Jordan Montgomery will make his 15th start of the season for the Yankees. 

Montgomery has put together an outstanding season with a 2.97 ERA. Underlying metrics say he has been pretty fortunate this season as his 3.85 SIERA and 3.72 xFIP both come in significantly higher than his ERA. He has only allowed a .254 BABIP, which is the lowest of his career and significantly below the league average. 

Even if we adjust for Montgomery’s fortunate batted ball luck, he is still an above-average starting pitcher. He does a great job of limiting walks and inducing ground balls. 

There are two things with Montgomery that have me interested in the under here. The first is his below-average strikeout rate of just 18.5%. The other is that he has gone above 90 pitches in just 2 of his 15 starts this season. The walk rate and ground ball efficiency have allowed to pitch deep into games, but if he were to find himself in a position of relying on strikeouts the pitch count could get away from him quickly. 

Admittedly, the matchup for Montgomery is outstanding. Oakland has been one of the worst offenses in the league with a 77 wRC+ and .268 wOBA that both rank in the bottom two. They have struck out at 23.4% this season, which ranks 9th highest, but they have struck out less versus left-handed pitching.

They have also been striking out less recently, with a strikeout rate of just 21.8% over the last 30 days. Their projected lineup today owns a strikeout rate of just 20.5% versus lefties. The projected lineup includes Seth Brown who owns a 36.8% strikeout rate vs LHP. It would not surprise me to see Brown get a day off, which would lower the strikeout rate even further. 

Montgomery is likely to have a great outing today, but I don’t think the strikeout upside will be there. He has not recorded 6 strikeouts in a single start this season and I don’t think it happens today. Give me the under 5.5 strikeouts for Montgomery

Kevin Gausman Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-145)

Next, we cross the border to Toronto, where the Blue Jays host the Boston Red Sox in an AL East showdown. 

Kevin Gausman will make his 15th start of the season for Toronto. He has had a great season overall, although he has been a bit more inconsistent recently. He was great his last time out against the White Sox, but he was underwhelming in two plus matchups against Baltimore and Detroit prior to that. 

For the season, Gausman owns a 3.19 ERA with a 26.1% strikeout rate and 3.9% walk rate. His 3.10 SIERA and 2.87 xFIP both support his results. 

Gausman’s strikeouts had dipped over his four starts prior to his last time out against the White Sox, so it was nice to see him rebound against a high-contact offense to record 7 strikeouts. He has been closer to 30% strikeouts in each of the last two seasons, so I am willing to trust him after seeing the strikeouts return.

The matchup today against Boston is not ideal, but Gausman has faced them twice this season already. Both starts were earlier in the year when Gausman was in truly elite form, so he should at least have a plan for how to attack them based on those starts. He recorded 8 and 9 strikeouts in two April starts against them. 

Another reason I have confidence in Gausman is that the underlying data looks fine. His average fastball velocity was the highest it has been all season in his last start, and the swinging strikes were at an elite 17.8%. 

This is an important AL East matchup for the Blue Jays, and I expect him to show up as the ace of the staff and pitch well. I like Gausman under 5.5 strikeouts in this difficult matchup. 

George Kirby Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-104) 

Finally, let’s head out to Seattle, where the Mariners take on the Baltimore Orioles. George Kirby gets the ball for Seattle in his 10th career start. 

Kirby has been great through his first nine starts with an ERA of 3.12. He has displayed elite control with a walk rate of just 3.0% and above-average ability to miss bats with a strikeout rate of 23.3%. His 3.35 SIERA and 3.40 xFIP are in line with his results, and it is pretty clear he is already an above-average starter in his rookie season. 

Kirby’s elite control has allowed him to be efficient and pitch through at least six innings in 8 of his 9 starts, and he has pitched through five innings in five of those starts. He has recorded at least six strikeouts in 5-of-9 starts. 

Kirby gets an excellent matchup at home with Baltimore this evening. The Orioles have been a below-average offense overall with a 92 wRC+, and their .298 wOBA ranks just 24th in MLB. They have struck out at 24.2% for the season, which is the fourth-highest strikeout rate in baseball. 

The Seattle rookie should be able to limit the damage and get through at least six innings again. I like Kirby over 5.5 strikeouts and for him to record at least a strikeout per inning.

Eys Breakers Betting Card Today

That will do it for today’s breakdown of the MLB slate. We were able to identify three strikeout props to target

Thank you for reading and good luck with your bets today!