Friday MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Total Bases for Nelson Cruz and Ryan Weathers’ Strikeout Total (July 31)
Douglas P. DeFelice / Getty Images. Pictured: Nelson Cruz
After taking a good, long look at Friday’s pitching matchups using the Action Labs Player Prop tool, there’s one 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
Ryan Weathers — Under 3.5 Strikeouts (+110)
|Padres vs. Rockies||Padres -235|
|Time||8:40 p.m. ET|
Weathers is having a fine breakout season for the Padres, posting a sub-3.00 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 12 starts so far.
However, the Padres don’t consider the young Weathers much more than an opener yet. Weathers has pitched more than four innings in just four of those 12 total starts, and last time he faced the Rockies, he pitched just two.
Additionally, Weathers only struck out one batter in those two innings because the Rockies, with all their faults, are a disciplined baseball team. The Rockies have posted the fourth-lowest strikeout rate in MLB over the past 30 days (20.6%) and the seventh-lowest on the season (22.6%).
The Rockies know how to put the bat on the ball. They rank among the top 10 teams in both zone contact rate (81.3%) and chase contact rate (56.6%). Given Weathers ranks in the sixth percentile among qualified pitchers in whiff rate, it should prove difficult for him to miss bats today.
Between Weathers’s low strikeout rates, low innings potential and the Rockies offensive approach, I like the under 3.5 total in this spot. Our Action Labs player props tool is projecting him at 3.3 strikeouts, so there’s value on this number at plus-money.
Action Labs Grade: 10/10
Nelson Cruz Over 1.5 Total Bases (+110)
|Rays vs. Red Sox||Rays -140|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
While he’s just 2-for-17 since making the move from Minnesota, I like the slugger’s chances against Martin Perez today. Cruz is 9-for-30 lifetime against Perez with a double and three home runs (.300 BA, .633 SLG, .447 wOBA).
However, he also posted a 96 mph average exit velocity in those ABs, which has resulted in a .383 xBA and a .744 xSLG. All-in-all, Cruz has posted a .514 xwOBA against Perez in his career.
There’s no reason to believe Cruz won’t continue to mash Perez. Perez is posting some of the highest batted ball statistics of his career, including an 88.5 mph average exit velocity (87.9 mph career average) and a 40.7% hard-hit rate (34.5% career average). Meanwhile, Cruz is having one of the better seasons of his storied career, especially against southpaws. Cruz has posted a 1.010 OPS against the left side this season, compared to .852 against the right.
Look for Cruz to mash his lefty opponent today and bet this prop on DraftKings at plus-money.