MLB Props To Bet Friday: Pablo Lopez, Jordan Hicks Strikeout Totals Are Our Top Picks (May 13)
Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Cardinals pitcher Jordan Hicks
Welcome to the weekend!
Read on for my two favorite MLB player props this Friday evening. We’ll be fading a St. Louis reliever and backing an up-and-coming ace from Miami.
As a reminder, our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade for each of my betting recommendations in my discussions below.
Friday MLB Player Props
Pablo Lopez Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-127)
|Brewers @ Marlins||Brewers -150|
|First Pitch||6:40 p.m. ET|
Coming into the season, I was really high on Sandy Alcantara.
When he made his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Fish, I was ready to believe in him as the face of the franchise. On Thursday, he went out and pitched seven innings of two-hit ball against the Diamondbacks. He struck out six and the Marlins won the game, but there’s one major problem with my agenda — Pablo Lopez is the best pitcher on the Miami staff.
Actually, Lopez is the best pitcher in baseball. He’s tossed a whopping 36 innings over six starts with a 1.00-flat ERA and the Marlins are 5-1 in those games.
Over the past few seasons, Lopez has steadily mastered his changeup. He now throws it close to 40% of the time, and just as much as any other pitch in his arsenal.
And it’s working. He’s held batters to a .169 wOBA on the pitch so far this season with a whiff rate north of 40%. He’s already accrued a -6 Run Value on the pitch, and it’s been just as good as any other weapon in baseball.
Been a while since we've done this so let's go. Best whiff rates so far, minimum 100 swings…fill in the blank!
1. Kevin Gausman splitter, 48.1%
3. Pablo López changeup, 41.1%
4. Kyle Hendricks changeup, 40.0%
5. Robbie Ray slider, 39.9%
— Lucas (@DBITLefty) May 13, 2022
Lopez has gone over this number in three of his last four starts, and he gets a tasty matchup on Friday. Milwaukee’s bats have woken up, but the Brewers are still striking out at the eighth-highest rate in baseball this season (24.8%).
Our projections mark Lopez for 6.3 punchouts on Friday night, giving us plenty of reason to back this guy again.
Pick: Over 5.5 Ks (-127)
Action Labs Grade: 7/10
Jordan Hicks Under 3.5 Strikeouts (+125)
|Giants @ Cardinals||Giants -120|
|First Pitch||8:15 p.m. ET|
As a reliever turned spot starter, we’re not entirely sure what we’re getting with Hicks.
He cashed over 3.5 in his last two starts, but he still hasn’t thrown more than 70 pitches or gone further than 4 1/3 innings. And sure, his last start was against the Giants, but that makes him slightly overvalued as this lineup has seen him once over already.
That could prove pivotal because Hicks’ greatest weakness is his arsenal.
He doesn’t have a third pitch. Both the sinker and slider are plus pitches, but he’s thrown his changeup and four-seam a combined 13 times this season.
And those two pitches don’t blow guys away.
His fastball regularly sits between 98 and triple-digits, but his 8.2% swinging strike rate ranks in the 15th-percentile of qualified pitchers.
Hicks really projects as more of a reliever, and that’s another reason I’m willing to fade him.
Although they struggled against Hicks in the last outing, I’m still relatively high on the Giants lineup. The team is striking out at the eighth-lowest rate in MLB this season while simultaneously posting top-10 marks in both walk rate (9.5%) and wRC+ (111).
Our prop tool projects Hicks for just 2.3 Ks in this start, giving us plenty of value on the under at plus-money odds.
Pick: Under 3.5 Ks (+125)
Action Labs Grade: 10/10