MLB Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Saturday Plays, Including Wily Peralta and Sean Manaea (August 21)

MLB Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Saturday Plays, Including Wily Peralta and Sean Manaea (August 21) article feature image

Ron Schwane/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Manaea.

  • Our day of MLB player props ends with a matchup in the Bay Area, where Sean Manaea starts against the Giants.
  • After backing Gerrit Cole and Wily Peralta, the A's left-hander presents value for bettors in the props market on Saturday afternoon.
  • Mike Ianniello breaks down his picks for the day below.

Throughout this season, I'll be evaluating my favorite MLB player props of a slate based on what the Action Labs Player Prop tool likes — the tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Below, I have laid out three prop-bets that I am playing for Saturday, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

MLB Player Props & Picks

Gerrit Cole — Over 7.5 Strikeouts (-105)

Yankees vs. TwinsYankees (-225)
Time 1:05 p.m. ET
Best LineBetMGM

The talk of Gerrit Cole’s demise has been greatly over-exaggerated.

There is no denying the crackdown of the MLB sticky stuff affected Cole’s spin rate and he has not been as flawless as he was at the start of the year, but he is still one of the best pitchers in the game.

Prior to the MLB sticky stuff enforcement, in 14 starts Cole posted a 2.31 ERA and 2.62 xFIP, generating an 11.74 K/9 rate and a 1.00 HR/9, with teams batting .198 against him. Since the crackdown, he has an ERA of 4.47 with an xFIP a full run lower at 3.21. He has actually raised his K/9 rate up to 13.21 and teams are still only batting .218 against him.

Cole has the second-most strikeouts in the league this season and the second-highest K/9 rate. He is averaging 8.4 strikeouts per start on the year. It took him a couple games to get used to the rule changes, but since then he has settled in and gone over this total in five straight games, averaging 10 strikeouts per game over that stretch.

I trust the Yankees ace to keep it going and go over this total today.

Action Labs Grade: 7/10

Wily Peralta — Over 2.5 Strikeouts (-130)

Tigers vs. Blue JaysBlue Jays (-265)
Time 3:07 p.m. ET
Best LineDraftKings

Only 2.5 strikeouts for Big Wily? Surely he can get us there.

The 32-year-old is in his ninth big league season and sits with a really solid 3.70 ERA through 11 starts in his first season with Detroit. Peralta spent the entire 2020 season.

Once posting a K/9 rate over 9.00, Peralta’s strikeout rate has dropped to just 5.95 this season and his fastball velocity has dropped from an average over 96-97 mph to around 93. His best strikeout pitch has always been his slider, however this year he is throwing it just 25% of the time and has instead relied on his splitter to generate a 35.7 K%.

That being said, he only needs three strikeouts here. He is averaging 3.3 strikeouts this season and has gone over this total in seven of his 11 starts, including three straight.

I’ll back Peralta to reach this short number.

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

Sean Manaea — Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-102)

Athletics vs. GiantsGiants (-124)
Time 4:07 p.m. ET
Best LineFanDuel

I feel like I am backing an Oakland A’s pitcher almost every time I do these, but they always seem to be slightly undervalued. No one on the A’s staff is a household name, but every arm has been really solid, which is why Oakland’s pitching staff ranks seventh in the league in ERA this season.

One of those solid arms belongs to Sean Manaea. In his sixth season in Oakland, Manaea has posted a 3.77 ERA in 24 starts this year with opponents holding a .304 wOBA against him. He throws just three pitches — a sinker, changeup and curveball — but uses them all effectively.

Manaea has his K/9 at a career-high 9.97 this year, up from 7.50 last season. The biggest reason is generating more swings and misses with his sinker, which is his main pitch that he throws 59% of the time. He has upped his K% with his sinker from 15.7% last season to 26.5% this year.

In his last three starts, Manaea has really struggled but I expect him to have a better showing today. After losing ace Chris Bassitt, Manaea and the rest of that staff know they need to step up if they want to reach the postseason.

He averages 6.2 strikeouts per start and has reached this total in 14 of his 24 starts. I’ll back Manaea to have a solid performance on Saturday.

Action Labs Grade: 9/10

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