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MLB Props Picks, Predictions: Mitch Keller, Framber Valdez and Chris Taylor Have Value Sunday (May 1)

MLB Props Picks, Predictions: Mitch Keller, Framber Valdez and Chris Taylor Have Value Sunday (May 1) article feature image
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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yesterday was a wash as Miles Mikolas went much deeper than expected and crushed his strikeout prop. However, today is a new day, and we’re going right back to the Buccos’ starter as his spot is similar to JT Brubakers’ yesterday.

I’ve also pinpointed another starter who has shown off his great stuff but has yet to get results. Then finally, we give an unsung cog in a daunting lineup some shine as he’s in a great spot to continue his hot start to 2022.

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.

Mitch Keller Over/Under 3.5 Strikeouts

San Diego Padres vs. Pittsburgh Pirates  Padres -190
First Pitch 1:35 p.m. ET
Best Line FanDuel

We’re going back to the well here as Brubaker came through for us yesterday with the same exact total. So why not take a shot on the next guy in line who has even better stuff?

The 2022 campaign has been a rough one thus far for Keller, as he’ll enter this start with a 6.62 ERA. Despite the string of subpar outings, there are signs that Keller is due to turn it around. He’s in the top 20% of the league in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate.  That level of soft contact makes his expected ERA nearly half of what it is.

Keller is a guy who will attack hitters with his fastball, and it’s a good one. It averages 96 mph and has a tremendous spin rate, giving it life through the zone. His velocity and spin rate are amongst the top 15% of qualified pitchers.

It just so happens that the Padres are not a team that has hit the fastball all that well this season. Of their 12 qualified hitters, none of them have an expected batting average over .292, and they have a collective whiff rate of 19.2%.

Keller has gone over his number in three of his four starts so far this season, and with him due for a good performance, the strikeouts should come.

Pick: Over 3.5 (-112)


Framber Valdez Over/Under 4.5 Strikeouts

Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays -160
First Pitch 1:37 p.m. ET
Best Line  Caesars

Houston’s lethal lefty is off to a fine start this season as he’ll enter with a 3.15 ERA. A big reason for the string of successful starts to open the season is his stuff has improved. His sinker is up nearly a full mph on average, and his curveball spin rate is amongst the top 15% of pitchers.

In turn, his developed arsenal has created more swings and misses on both of his primary pitches. His sinker-curveball combo has been tough on opposing hitters thus far, and based on the low quality of their contact, Valdez’s numbers are expected to be even better.

Valdez will be facing a stacked Toronto lineup, but for all their hitting prowess, they have quite a bit of swing and miss capability as well. The Blue Jays are 15 in the league as they sit around the league average in strikeout rate.

With Valdez’s stuff limiting the extra-base hits, I expect him to contain this lineup and rack up the whiffs.

Pick: Over 4.5 (+105)

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Chris Taylor Over/Under 0.5 Total Bases

Detroit Tigers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers -260
First Pitch 4:10 p.m. ET
Best Line  BetMGM

The Dodgers’ utility man will be in a favorable matchup this afternoon as he faces left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

To Taylor’s credit, he’s hit both lefties and righties equally throughout his career. His numbers are literally equal as he’s hit .262 of both. However, Taylor’s shown more pop against lefties as his career ISO is nearly 30 points higher than it is against righties.

While Rodriguez’s BAA splits may show that he’s had much better success against righties in his career, he actually has an expected FIP of 4.16, and his strikeout rate drops nearly 4%.

Taylor has been making tons of solid contact to begin the season, and I expect that to continue here.

Pick: Over 0.5 (-160)

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