Eys Breakers: Expert Picks – MLB Strikeout Props For Monday

Our MLB experts are backing Sean Manaea tonight.
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Betting analyst Keith Eyster gives his best MLB player props picks for today — Monday, July 25, 2022.

Welcome back from the MLB All-Star break. It is nice to be back in the saddle after a week off. We have 12 games on the schedule today, with all of them starting at 6:40 ET or later. 

There are some weather risks on the slate today, so make sure you are checking out the RotoGrinders weather page for all of Kevin Roth’s updates. Boston looks to be the biggest risk, with Baltimore and Philadelphia worth monitoring as well. 

Free MLB Strikeout Props Picks For Today

Sean Manaea Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+105)

Let’s get started in Detroit, where the Tigers take on the San Diego Padres. 

Sean Manaea will make his 18th start of the season for the Padres. Manaea has been a bit inconsistent this season, but a matchup against the Tigers is a great landing spot for his first start of the second half. 

Manaea owns a 4.11 ERA with a slightly above average 23.9% strikeout rate. The walk rate has been a cause of some of the inconsistency as it is up to 9.1% after being at 6% for his career leading into this season. 

Manaea saw his swinging strike rate dip all the way down to 8.0% in his five starts leading into the break. He did have to face the same team, Arizona, three times, and another one of the starts was in Coors Field. He did own a healthy 13.3% swinging strike rate for the season prior to those last five starts. I am counting on a reset over the break and a great matchup today to get him back into form. 

Manaea faces the Tigers today who have struck out at a rate of 23.6% this season, which is the 6th most in MLB. They own a putrid 75 wRC+ that is the worst in the league, and a .273 wOBA that ranks second worst. Manaea should have no trouble limiting the damage against one of the worst offenses in baseball. 

I expect Manaea to get his season back on track today and go over 5.5 strikeouts. 

JT Brubaker Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+100)

Next, we look to Wrigley Field in Chicago, where the Cubs host the Pittsburgh Pirates. JT Brubaker makes his 19th start of the season for the Pirates. 

Brubaker has been roughly a league-average starting pitcher this season with a 4.02 ERA. His 4.13 SIERA and 4.14 xFIP place him right around league average as well. His strikeout rate, you guessed it, is right around league average at 23.0%. 

Brubaker has been in good form and flashing signs of moving into the slightly above-average tier. Over his last 7 starts, he has made it through 5 innings in each of them and allowed more than 3 runs in only one of them. He has averaged 6.3 strikeouts per start over that time frame. His most recent start was his best of the season when he went 7 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts against the Marlins. 

His quality work has led to his leash being extended as well. He has averaged over 99 pitches per start in his last 7 starts, while he averaged just over 78 pitches per start in his first 11 starts of the season. 

Brubaker’s matchup with the Cubs is positive from a strikeout perspective. The Cubs have struck out at a rate of 23.2% this season, which is 12th most in baseball. They have been around league average overall with a 101 wRC+ and a .315 wOBA that ranks 14th.   

Brubaker has a great chance for a quality start today against this middling Cubs offense if he can maintain his recent form. I like hime to go over 5.5 strikeouts today. 

Chris Flexen Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+100)

Finally, we head out west to Seattle, where the Mariners host the Texas Rangers. Chris Flexen will make his 19th start of the season for Seattle. 

Flexen has gotten decent results this season, but a look under the hood tells us he is due for some regression in the second half. He owns a 3.79 ERA, but his 4.97 SIERA and 4.98 xFIP are both over a full run higher. His strikeout rate is well-below average at 16.3% and his walks are up at 8.1% this year after he showed good control last season with a 5.4% walk rate. He has been a little fortunate with his fly ball luck as the HR/FB ratio sits at 8.3%. Flexen is allowing far too much hard contact and too many fly balls to sustain this level of success. 

Flexen owns just an 8.9% swinging strike rate on the season, his called strikes have dipped under 14% after being at 15.2% last season, he is throwing first-pitch strikes at 59.8% after being at 63.4% last season, and he owns a 22.8% CSW% which ranks 57th among 59 qualified starting pitchers. Simply put, Flexen records fewer strikes than just about every other starting pitcher in baseball. 

His matchup today against Texas is basically neutral. They have struck out slightly more than average at 23.3%, they own a 99 wRC+, and they have a .307 wOBA that ranks 17th in MLB. They haven’t been elite by any means, but they pose enough of a threat to begin Flexen’s regression today. 

I think Texas can do enough damage to chase Flexen from the game before the end of the 6th inning. Given his inability to record strikes, that should be enough to keep him under 4.5 strikeouts today. 

That will do it for today’s breakdown of the MLB slate. We were able identify 3 strikeout props to target: 

Let’s get the second half of the MLB season started off right. Thank you for reading and good luck with your bets today!