Saturday MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 3 Strikeout Totals, Including Musgrove, Hendricks & More (June 12)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Hendricks.
- It's another full day of baseball as there are 16 games on the Saturday slate thanks to a doubleheader between San Francisco and Washington.
- Michael Ianniello is back with three more pitcher props, including Kyle Hendricks against the Cardinals.
- See which other pitchers Ianniello is betting today, below.
I will be evaluating my favorite MLB player props 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, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
MLB Player Props & Picks
Vince Velasquez — Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+115)
|Phillies vs. Yankees||Yankees -130|
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
Vince Velasquez is a career back-end rotation guy. He has never posted an ERA below 4.00 and hasn’t had a winning record since 2016. He is coming off his worst season, posting a 5.56 ERA in 2020, and for the last three years has rotated between starter and coming out of the bullpen.
The biggest struggle for Velasquez has always been his control. He has a 5.36 BB/9 rate this season, which is the ninth highest in the league. That will likely be a problem against a Yankees team that is extremely patient at the plate, and ranks third in the league in BB%.
His issues with walks, as well as ranking in the bottom 10% of the league in average exit velocity often causes him to get into trouble early into games, leading to short outings. In his eight starts this year, Velasquez is averaging 4.7 innings and has lasted six innings just twice this season.
The two things the Yankees do best is draw walks and hit the ball hard. They should put Velasquez in early trouble where a quick hook will keep him under this strikeout total.
Action Labs Grade: 10/10
Joe Musgrove — Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-145)
|Padres vs. Mets||Padres -130|
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
Joe Musgrove saw his numbers take a dramatically different look in 2020, and he has continued to grow on that in 2021. After a 4.44 ERA in 2019, his fourth straight season over 4.00, Musgrove dropped his ERA to 3.86 in 2020. So far through 11 starts this season, he has a 2.33 ERA and 2.83 FIP.
Musgrove’s K/9 rate through the first four seasons of his career went 7.98, 8.07, 7.80, and 8.30. In 2020 it jumped up to 12.48. This season, he currently has a 12.20 K/9. So what has been the difference? He has stopped using his fastball and sinker as much, and relied on his slider and curveball more.
In 2019, Musgrove threw his fastball or sinker 49.4% of the time, and they each had a batting average against over .300. He was throwing his slider or curveball 31.6% of the time, despite teams batting just .174 with a 40.6% K rate against his slider.
Well this season, Musgrove is throwing his fastball and sinker just 22.9% of the time and his slider and curveball 49.6% of his pitches. His slider is his most-used pitch and has been fantastic all year. Teams are batting just .088 against it and have a 47.1 K%. His slider has generated 48 strikeouts and just eight hits against.
The Mets offense ranks just 16th in the league in wOBA and has a negative pitch value against both sliders and curveballs. They rank 28th in the league against curveballs this season. Musgrove had 10 strikeouts against the Mets just last week, and I see no reason he won’t go over this total again today.
Action Labs Grade: 7/10
Kyle Hendricks — Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+125)
|Cubs vs. Cardinals
|Time||7:15 p.m. ET|
After a horrible start to the season, Hendricks has finally settled in and looked like the Cubs’ ace again. Through his first five starts of the year, he had a 1-3 record with a 7.54 ERA and was averaging just 4.5 innings pitched and 4.2 strikeouts per outing.
Over his last five outings though, Hendricks is 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA. He has lasted at least six innings in each of his last five starts and is averaging 6.8 innings and 5.2 strikeouts per start over that stretch.
Hendricks has never been a big strikeout guy, posting just a 7.56 K/9 rate for his career and a 7.34 K/9 this season. St. Louis has struggled at the plate this year, ranking just 21st in wOBA. I like the way Hendricks is pitching right now, and if he keeps pitching deep into games like he has, he has a good chance to go over this total.
Action Labs Grade: 10/10