MLB Player Props: Opening Day Bets for Mitch Keller, Yainer Diaz

MLB Player Props: Opening Day Bets for Mitch Keller, Yainer Diaz article feature image

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Mitch Keller.

Welcome to baseball season! My two MLB player props for MLB Opening Day are on a strikeouts under and a plus-money home run bet.

Let's get into my MLB Opening Day player props.

MLB Player Props: Opening Day Bets for Mitch Keller, Yainer Diaz

Time (ET)Player Prop
4:10 p.m.
4:10 p.m.
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Pirates vs. Marlins

Thursday, March 28
4:10 p.m. ET

Mitch Keller

Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-140)

This one has been on the move, so try to lock this in as soon as possible.

Keller is a pitcher who I’m expecting will see quite a bit of regression to his strikeout rate of 26% from last season. He was only able to generate a swinging strike rate of 10% last year, which would suggest his K rate should be closer to 20-21%.

This is already a number that I think is too high for him in an opening start where his pitch count will be a bit lower in the 85-90 range. However, he struggled this spring and his fastball’s velocity was down 4-5 mph in the Grapefruit League. Not only is that going to lower his K rate, but it could suggest he’s dealing with an injury. Either way it’s only going to lower the chances of him clearing this if that continues.

I looked into his final spring start, and his fastball was up to 94 mph, which was encouraging, but he was leaning on his sinker at a much higher rate, and that's a pitch that has a much lower K rate than his fastball. Also, he was unable to get a single whiff on any of the seven cut fastballs that he threw.

I’m not one to overreact to spring training, but these are all red flags that I’m not even factoring into my projection for him of staying under 5.5 around 68% of the time.

Pick: Mitch Keller Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-140)

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Yankees vs. Astros

Thursday, March 28
4:10 p.m. ET

Yainer Díaz

To Hit a Home Run (+525)

I’m projecting his fair odds closer to +370 here, and there are a few factors why he has a decent chance to hit a home run on Opening Day.

One is Yankees starter Nestor Cortes, who has a very low walk rate. Díaz also has a very low walk rate and strikes out less than league average. Therefore, the 2-3 plate appearances he has against Cortes will likely result in a ball in play.

Also, Cortes allowed a 57% fly ball rate last year, which was the highest among all starting pitchers. That makes it more likely that when Díaz hits it in play against him it’ll be a fly ball, which is obviously key to hitting a home run.

Cortes throws a cut fastball 30% of the time, which was the seventh-highest rate among starters last year. Díaz destroys cutters, ranking second among all hitters in runs created (per 100 pitches) against cutters last season.

I love the value we are getting on him to hit a home run at +550 at BetMGM.

Pick: Yainer Díaz To Hit a Home Run (+550)

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