MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 2 Strikeout Totals, Including Max Fried and James Kaprielian (Friday, August 20)

MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 2 Strikeout Totals, Including Max Fried and James Kaprielian (Friday, August 20) article feature image
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Ben Green/Getty Images. Pictured: James Kaprielian

After taking a good, hard look at Friday’s matchups using the Action Labs Player props tool, I’ve found two strikeout totals on the card that provide value.

Our Action Labs tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, so I’ll be sure to include the grade below my explanation.

MLB Player Props & Picks

Max Fried — Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-135)

Braves vs. Orioles Braves (-250)
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

Fried can be streaky and has had an up-and-down year.He posted a 11.45 ERA in April, then turned around a posted a 1.50 ERA in May.

Lucky for us, Fried’s on a hot streak recently. Over his past four starts, Fried has pitched 25 total innings and allowed just four earned runs, good for a 1.44 ERA. He pairs that with a 1.00 WHIP and a .539 OPS allowed.

More importantly, however, is he’s been missing bats. He’s posted a 28:4 strikeout to walk ratio over those starts, good for a 10.08 K/9 and a 2.67 xFIP. Fried has cashed the over 5.5 number in four of his last five starts and in seven of his last 10 starts.

Fried has a five-pitch mix, but you’ll see a four-seam fastball about 40% of the time. Well, through his three August starts, he’s posted the highest swing-and-miss rate (22.8%) and the highest strikeout rate on the pitch (26.1%) than in any month this year:

The Baltimore offense has proven it can mash lefties, but it’s been just league-average lately. Over the past 30 days, the Orioles’ lineup has posted the 14th-highest strikeout rate (22.4%) and the 16th-highest wRC+ (101) vs. southpaws.

Most recently, we saw the Orioles strike out eight times over five innings against Chris Sale. Fried is striking out 10.40 batters per nine innings on the road this season, and I think we’re in for a Sale-like performance today.

Our Action Labs Player Props tool has Fried projected for 5.9 strikeouts today, which means we should hammer the over 5.5 number being offered at plus-money.

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

James Kaprielian — Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-106)

Athletics vs. Giants Athletics (+106)
Time 9:40 p.m. ET
Best Book FanDuel

The Giants boast an incredible offense that’s been overachieving unlike anything we’ve ever seen. However, the team likes to swing for the fences, and will sacrifice more swings-and-misses for the sake of the long-ball.

The Giants have hit the second-most home runs (181) of any team in MLB this season, but they’ve also struck out at the sixth-highest rate (24.5%). A staple of the 2021 Giants is consistency, which is why over the past 30 days, the Giants have struck out at almost the same rate (24.6%) while hitting the eighth-most home runs.

But let’s narrow in on today’s situation: On the road against a right-handed pitcher, the Giants have hit the fifth-most home runs (67) but have struck out at the second-highest rate (26.7%).

Enter Oakland starting pitcher James Kaprielian, who should be able to take advantage of these mismatches today. Kaprielian has decent overall numbers, but he’s been dominant at home — Kaprielian has posted a 1.42 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in six home starts this season.

Plus, Kaprielian is striking out nine batters per nine innings at home while averaging 6 1/3 innings per start. Between missing bats and producing innings, Kaprielian has cashed the over 4.5 number in five of those six outings.

I’m expecting Kap to shove today. Between his ability to miss bats and pitch deep into the game, he should be able to produce strikeout opportunities against a strikeout-prone offense. Our Action Labs player props tool is projecting Kapreilian at a whopping six strikeouts today, yet you can still play the over 4.5 at -106 on FanDuel.

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

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