MLB Props Picks, Predictions: Bet Bundy, Kukuchi Strikeout Totals (May 4)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images. Pictured: Yusei Kikuchi.
- Using the Action Labs Player Props tool, Tanner McGrath has his eyes on two strikeout totals.
- Dylan Bundy is set to start for the Twins in Baltimore, while Yusei Kikuchi faces the Yankees.
The Action Network Player Props team has hit five straight strikeout props. There are two more pitchers I’m targeting on Wednesday’s slate — one over and one under.
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.
Dylan Bundy over 4.5 Strikeouts (+125)
|Twins @ Orioles||Twins -145|
|First Pitch||7:05 p.m. ET|
Dylan Bundy isn’t exactly a strikeout machine. He’s actually a pitcher I generally try to fade since he often outperforms his expected statistics.
This year has been slightly different, though. Bundy has pitched at least five innings in all four of his starts to the tune of a 2.95 ERA, 2.28 xERA and 3.05 xFIP. He’s cut his walk rate more than half (3.6 BB% from 8.6% in 2021) and upped his strikeout rate slightly (22.6 K% from 21.6% in 2021).
Bundy is getting more guys to chase his secondary stuff. After ranking below the 50th percentile in chase rate last season, he’s up around the 80th through the first month of 2022.
From what I can tell, his slider is doing most of the damage.
Bundy isn’t one to cash this line. He’s done so in just 10 of his last 37 starts. However, he gets more strikeouts on the road, posting a 9.44 K/9 on the road in his career compared to just 8.33 K/9 at home. As a result, he’s cashed this number in half of his road starts dating back to last season (seven of his last 14).
A 50% hit rate does give us some value on this plus-money line.
Moreover, he’s cashed this number in both his road starts this season, striking out six at Fenway Park and seven at Tropicana Field.
Boston and Tampa are two strikeout-prone teams, and so are the Orioles. Against right-handed pitchers, the O’s struck out at the sixth-highest rate last season (24.9%) and the ninth-highest rate this season (24.4%).
Our Action Labs Projections have Bundy at 5.3 Ks today, while FanGraphs SaberSim projections mark him for 5.5. That provides us tons of value on the line DraftKings is offering.
Pick: Over 4.5 Ks (+125)
Action Labs Grade: 10/10
Yusei Kikuchi under 4.5 Strikeouts (-140)
|Blue Jays @ Yankees||Blue Jays +125|
|First Pitch||7:07 p.m. ET|
Yusei Kikuchi broke out with Seattle in 2021, striking out at least five in 19 of his first 22 starts. He was an up-and-coming star for an up-and-coming Seattle rotation.
However, most that knew Kikuchi’s expected statistics knew he was not meant for that world. He’s seen major regression in every department since, including the strikeout one.
Kikuchi has failed to hit this number in 10 of his last 11 starts. That includes going 0-for-4 to that number this season.
Kikuchi just looks like a different pitcher. He’s got decent stuff on his fastball, but nothing else is getting guys to miss.
The Yankees are a swing-and-miss team, but their strikeout rate against southpaws has dropped almost three points from last season (24.9% to 22%) and they are crushing lefties. The Bronx Bombers’ have posted a 118 wRC+ against lefties in early 2022, good for fourth in MLB.
I can see Kikuchi struggling today, either in the strikeout department or in the innings pitched department. Our Action Labs Projections have Kikuchi striking out 4.3 batters, but FanGraphs SaberSim projections mark him for 3.52.
While our Player Props tool doesn’t project much value with Kikuchi, I think there’s enough evidence to fade him against the Yankees tonight.
Pick: Under 4.5 Ks (-140)