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Thursday MLB Player Props & Picks: Value on Josh Bell, Freddie Freeman (May 12)

Thursday MLB Player Props & Picks: Value on Josh Bell, Freddie Freeman (May 12) article feature image
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Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  • There are two position players and one pitcher who can provide some value in Thursday's MLB slate.
  • Our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10 and there are certainly some players to keep an eye on tonight in Major League Baseball.
  • Let's dive into Thursday's plays.

MLB generally has teams travel on Thursday, which provides us a smaller pool to find in the player prop market. However, I still think there are two position players and one pitcher who can provide some value.

Our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade for each of my betting recommendations in my discussions below.

Let’s dive into Thursday’s plays.

Josh Bell over 1.5 Total Bases (+110)

Mets vs. Nationals Mets -158
First Pitch 1:05 p.m. ET
Best Line FanDuel

Boy, it sure does feel like Josh Bell will never leave our consciousness.

Through 21 games with the Nats this season, the big man is slugging .528. He’s already hit four dingers with seven doubles and 21 RBIs, and he’s cashed his bases total in 16 of those 21 games played.

And I’ll back Bell against Taijuan Walker in this matchup. Bell is just 3-for-10 against Walker lifetime, but two of those hits were for extra bases Bell has posted a 96.1mph avg. exit velocity on batted balls in the matchups.

Plus, Bell has never struck out against Walker. He will get the bat on the ball, and it will often be hard contact. That’s a good formula for a total bases bettor.

Plus, it’s not like I trust Walker to begin with. He’s posted a lackluster 4.91 ERA through three starts this season and backs it up with a 4.23 xFIP. He had a mediocre season last year, and his fastball is getting crushed so far in 2022.

Image credit: Baseball Savant

Well, as a power hitter, we know Bell loves to smash the fastball. He’s already posted a +10 Run-Value on the four-seam in a short sample size this season, slugging .767 against the pitch through the first five weeks.

Image credit: Baseball Savant

This is a perfect spot for Bell to rip one of Walker’s four-seam fastballs apart. I’ll bank on that.

Pick: Over 1.5 TBs (+110)

Tyler Anderson Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-115)

Phillies vs. Dodgers Dodgers -150
First Pitch 10:10 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

Okay, so Tyler Anderson just put up seven strikeouts over five innings against the Chicago Cubs who have struck out 29% of the time over the last two weeks, a full two percentage points over the second-place Athletics.

I’m impressed with Anderson’s performance so far, whether as the starter or out of the bullpen. But it’s largely based upon eliciting soft contact, as he ranks above the 88th percentile of qualified pitchers in average exit velocity (85.6mph) and hard-hit rate (29%).

Anderson just isn’t the type of guy to blow past hitters. His 90 mph fastball ranks in the bottom five percentile of qualified MLB pitchers. And outside of that seven strikeout performance, Anderson has managed just 14 strikeouts in 18 innings.

Anderson might be slightly overvalued after his most recent performance. While he’s now striking out 8.74 batters per nine innings, projections have that number closer to 7.50 over the rest of the season, and he was never a strikeout machine with the Rockies or Giants.

Meanwhile, we’re getting a Phillies offense that has excelled away from Citizens Bank Park this season. Philly’s lineup has posted a .709 OPS and 101 wRC++ at home this season, compared to a .722 OPS and 119 wRC+ on the road.

Our Action Labs Player Props Tool projects Anderson for just 4.4 strikeouts at home today. And given the extraneous factors, I’m inclined to think he’ll finish with four or less in this start.

Pick: Under 4.5 Ks (-115)

Action Labs Grade: 6/10

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Freddie Freeman Over 1.5 Total Bases (+130)

Best Line DraftKings

It’s tough to ignore what Freddie Freeman is doing right now.

Freeman has easily been the most proficient Dodgers hitter this season, leading the team with a 163 wRC+ and a 163 OPS+. If anyone has been smashing the ball in L.A., it’s Freeman.

And since the calendar turned to May, Freeman has posted a 1.084 OPS with a .643 slugging. That encapsulates eight games, wherein Freeman is 5-3 to his bases total and the Dodgers are 7-1 overall.

For as dominant as Zack Wheeler has been over the years, he has to be worried about facing Freeman again.

In 64 lifetime PAs against Wheeler, Freeman his 21-for-48 with six extra-base hits and an absurd 15 walks. Freeman knows Wheeler inside and out, and Freeman’s 87.8mph avg. exit velocity and 13.4-degree avg. launch angle makes it worth taking a shot on him today.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure if I trust Wheeler at all entering this matchup. His velocity is way down on his fastball mix (four-seam and sinker), and Freeman’s seeing those pitches well in 2022.

Image credit: Baseball Savant

Freeman has been hitting the ball extraordinarily hard during his first stint in L.A. He now gets to face an old friend for once after having smashed the ball for a week-plus.

Sounds like a good spot for an extra-base hit. I’ll happily play Freeman’s total bases at plus money, and it’s something I’d play down to EV (+100) if needed.

Pick: Over 1.5 TBs (+130)

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