MLB Playoff Player Props Picks Today October 13, Including Framber Valdez
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59).
There are just two MLB postseason games on Thursday as the ALDS and NLDS series will alternate days until the Championship Series matchups are set.
But there's still value to be found, specifically in the player prop market. I've found three pitcher props for today's games using our Action Labs Projections.
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.
Framber Valdez Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-125)
|Mariners vs. Astros||Astros -165|
|First Pitch||3:37 p.m. ET|
Only four MLB pitchers this season threw more than 200 innings with an ERA over 3.00. That list includes:
- Sandy Alcantara
- Corbin Burnes
- Shane Bieber
- Framber Valdez
Valdez is one of the most underrated southpaws in baseball. He's so consistent in his approach, has accumulated 4.4 fWAR this season and hasn't overperformed (3.31 xERA, 3.00 xFIP).
Valdez has cashed Over 5.5 Ks in nine of his last 10 starts. He had eight and six strikeouts, respectively, in his two starts against the Mariners this season. He tossed six innings both times while allowing three total runs. That's consistency.
Valdez has a nasty curveball (45% Whiff Rate) and a softer cutter that eludes bats a surprisingly high rate (35% Whiff Rate). The Mariners are league-average against curveballs (1.0 wCB) but are well below average against cutters (-7.3 wCT).
Framber Valdez, Filthy 79mph Curveball. 😷 pic.twitter.com/X3yFpfLNFU
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 24, 2022
Moreover, the Mariners have allowed the last six opposing LHPs to go over their strikeout lines.
Our Action Labs Player Props Tool projects Valdez for 5.9 Ks today, while FanGraphs SaberSim projections mark Valdez for 5.6 Ks.
There's some value on the over either way.
Pick: Over 5.5 Ks (-125)
Action Labs Grade: 6/10
Nestor Cortes Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+116)
|Guardians vs. Yankees||Yankees -140|
|First Pitch||7:37 p.m. ET|
The Guardians offense doesn't belong in the playoffs. Cleveland managed to slap its way around the Charmin Ultrasoft AL Central but has flailed against postseason pitching, producing just four runs in three playoff games.
This is a lineup that finished dead last among MLB teams in Barrel Rate, Hard-Hit Rate and Avg. Exit Velocity this season. The Guardians are even worse against southpaws, having posted the third-lowest OPS against that side in the regular season.
Enter Yankees starter Nestor Cortes. Cortes is not a lefty power pitcher, and he only strikes out about 8.5 batters per nine innings. However, his arsenal has been very effective this season as he's on pace to post career lows in ERA (2.44) and xERA (2.70).
Cortes made a few changes, the biggest of which is developing a cutter and laying off his slider. Once his approach changed, Cortes turned into a top-tier rotational piece.
I'm expecting Cortes to roll over Cleveland today. He'll use the same non-strikeout-heavy approach but will create enough strikeout opportunities with his length. I'm expecting Cortes to capitalize on his two-strike counts.
That's what he did twice this season against Cleveland. Cortes pitched six innings in each start, didn't need more than 91 pitches in either game and struck out six and eight Guardians, respectively.
Our Action Labs Player Props tool projects Cortes for 4.8 strikeouts today, while FanGraphs SaberSim projections mark him for 5.3 strikeouts — yet we can bet this prop at plus-money.
Pick: Over 4.5 Ks (+116)
Action Labs Grade: 7/10
Shane Bieber Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-157)
|Guardians vs. Yankees||Yankees -140|
|First Pitch||4:37 p.m. ET|
I'm not as heavy on this prop. I did bet on the Yankees ML today and think Bieber has a bad matchup with a Yankees team that hits the ball harder than any team in MLB.
However, this is the highest-rated play by the Action Labs Player Props Tool, which projects Bieber for 7.2 strikeouts today. Plus, FanGraphs SaberSim projections have Bieber at 6.8 strikeouts.
Consequently, I believe it's worth mentioning.
Bieber has consistently crushed this line, striking out at least five in 26 of his 32 starts this season — that 81% hit rate implies -433 odds to the over.
Bieber has also hit this number in 40 of his last 48 starts dating back to the beginning of 2021 — that 83% hit rate that implies -500 odds to the over. That includes a 2021 start against the Yankees where he struck out nine over seven innings.
Bieber shoved in the Wild Card game, striking out eight over 7 2/3 one-run innings. He could do it again.
Shane Bieber is FIRED UP pic.twitter.com/sHuIbTorli
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 7, 2022
Pick: Over 4.5 Ks (-157)
Action Labs Grade: 10/10