MLB Player Props To Bet Friday: Logan Webb Should Produce Whiffs, Jon Gray Shouldn’t (April 8)
Robert Beck/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Gray
- There are two MLB player props that our expert is targeting on Friday.
- Logan Webb of the Giants takes on the Marlins, while the Rangers' Jon Gray opens his season against the Blue Jays.
- Continue reading for full analysis plus betting picks on these two pitchers today.
Opening Day was a treat.
The biggest moment was Seth Beer’s three-run walk-off homer for the Diamondbacks to take down the Padres late last night.
But the other biggest moment was this column, which started off the season 2-1 for +1 unit of profit.
Both strikeout props cashed, which is why I’m again looking toward two pitchers whose strikeout lines show value.
Let’s dig into day two of this long summer.
Friday MLB Player Props
Logan Webb Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-125)
|Marlins @ Giants||Giants -145|
|First Pitch||4:07 p.m. ET|
Logan Webb really figured it out in the second half of last season. He notched over 5.5 Ks in 13 of his final 15 starts while posting a 2.47 FIP and holding opposing batters to a .596 OPS.
The Giants also went 13-2 in those starts.
The key was using his sinker more, as he now throws it almost 40% of the time. However, it’s really his slider that misses bats, as he produced a 47% whiff rate on the pitch in 2021.
Webb got virtually every batter he faced to chase last season. He finished 2021 in the 91st percentile in chase rate, and most of that is due to his increased slider effectiveness.
Image credit: Baseball Savant
Meanwhile, the Marlins were the most undisciplined team in baseball last year. They paced the league in chase rate (31.1%) and made the second-worst contact when chasing (53.2%). Overall, the Marlins finished second in strikeout rate against RHPs in 2021 (25.7%).
Miami made a ton of offensive upgrades in the offseason, but I’m not ready to buy into the Fish just yet — at least from a strikeout perspective.
The last time Webb faced the Fish, he struck out eight of them. I’ll take Webb to go over one more time, as long as we’re getting under -130.
Pick: Logan Webb over 5.5 Ks (-125)
Jon Gray Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+110)
|Rangers @ Blue Jays||Rangers +150|
|First Pitch||7:07 p.m. ET|
Jon Gray is an average strikeout pitcher. He ranks between the 50th and 60th percentiles in strikeouts per inning (1.05), swinging-strike rate (11.1%), and called strike plus whiff rate (28.8%).
But the Blue Jays are not an average offense.
Last season, the Jays struck out at the lowest rate in MLB (19.8%) while producing the second-highest wRC+ (111) when facing RHPs. The roster is stacked with smart hitters, as the top four guys are projected to strike out less than 23% of the time in 2022 (George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, Bo Bichette).
Gray is also a fastball-slider pitcher. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and doesn’t spin much (2,152 RPMs), and therefore doesn’t produce a lot of whiffs (17.1%). His slider does better, but Gray still only ranked in the fifth percentile in chase rate last season.
Well, the Blue Jays were the best fastball hitting team in MLB last season (75.7 wFB) and were the third-best against sliders (8.2 wSL). And when the Blue Jays did chase, they were seventh in MLB in chase contact rate (56.7%).
Not to mention the Blue Jays also finished second in MLB in zone contact rate (83.4%).
There are too many obstacles for Gray to hurdle if he wants to log five strikeouts today. He went over this line a lot last season, but he hasn’t faced the Blue Jays in three years.
I’m willing to back the Jays’ offense to keep him under this line at plus-money.
Pick: Jon Gray under 4.5 Ks (+110)
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