Saturday’s MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Strikeout Total for Brandon Woodruff & an Opportunity to Rake for J.D. Martinez (July 31)
John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff
After taking a good, long look at Saturday’s pitching matchups using the Action Labs Player Prop tool, there are two strikeout total I’m targeting on the schedule.
Additionally, there’s a position player prop that presents value while adding an extra sweat to the card.
Our Action Labs tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade below my explanation.
MLB Player Prop & Pick
J.D. Martinez (BOS) — Over 1.5 Total Bases (+110)
|Rays vs. Red Sox||Rays -120|
|Time||6:10 p.m. ET|
J.D. Martinez has had a pretty cool July, but has a great opportunity to put up some numbers in a tasty matchup on Saturday evening.
I generally don’t like small sample size pitcher-vs-hitter stats when evaluating team performance as a whole, but Martinez’s numbers against Ryan Yarbrough are tough to pass up.
In 21 plate appearances against Yarbrough, Martinez has 11 hits, and eight of those hits have gone for extra bases (six doubles, two homers). He’s walked twice, and only struck out three times.
Since the All-Star break, Martinez is hitting just .231/.273/.442 with 13 strikeouts and two home runs, but this is a perfect “get-right” situation against Yarbrough. The lefty’s two primary pitches are a cutter and a changeup, and while Martinez has struggled against cutters this year, he’s had a positive run value against them in the past, and he feasts on changeups regardless.
Of all the hitters on this slate, I like Martinez’s value best on the total bases prop, and would play him over 1.5 total bases at any number with a plus in front of it.
Bailey Ober (MIN) — Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+106)
|Twins vs. Cardinals||Cardinals -136|
|Time||7:15 p.m. ET|
For all of the Twins’ issues this season, they may have found a nice little rotation piece in Bailey Ober.
The 6-foot-9 right-hander’s numbers don’t jump off the page at you — in fact they’re kind of ugly — for considering he only has 10 major-league starts under his belt, the underlying numbers paint the picture of someone who may be able to survive in the majors as a back-of-the-rotation guy or swingman.
Ober strikes out 9.3 batters per nine and — more impressively for someone with little experience — only walks 2.7. He’s got a decent matchup today against a Cardinals team that has the seventh-worst offense in baseball by wRC+.
St. Louis isn’t the easiest team to strike out with a K% of just 22.1 percent, but this is a great opportunity for Ober to give some length to a Twins team that desperately needs it.
Ober has only gone over 4.5 strikeouts three times in 10 starts, but he’s also only completed as many as five innings four times, and two of those four saw him go over the total. Against a moribund Cardinals offense, I think he can make it at least five innings tonight, and if so, will hit this over, which is a good enough risk to bet the over at plus money.
Action Labs Grade: 9/10
Brandon Woodruff (MIL) — Over 7.5 Strikeouts (+144)
|Brewers vs. Braves||Brewers-140|
|Time||7:20 p.m. ET|
It’s always a risk to take the over on such a high strikeout total for one of the premiere strikeout totals in baseball. In fact, it’s usually worth fading. But I really like Woodruff in this spot.
The Braves strike out at the eighth-highest rate in baseball. Against teams in the bottom-10 in strikeout rate, Woodruff has five appearances and has hit the over four times, with totals of 8, 6, 8, 11, 8 in those five starts.
Woodruff has hit at least eight strikeouts in four of his last six starts, too, including his last two starts against the White Sox and Reds, both of whom rank in the top-half of the league in strikeout rate.
In all, Woodruff has hit the over in 12 of his 20 starts this season.
At such high odds, this is just too juicy to pass up. I like Woodruff over 7.5 strikeouts at +144 and would bet it to +130.
Action Labs Grade: 7/10