MLB Props Friday | Odds, Picks for Aaron Judge, Gunnar Henderson (September 1)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge
The Reds were 10 games above .500 when they went to Wrigley Field in late July/early August series. The Cubs took three of four in dominating fashion and began the Reds' August swoon. This time, the Cubs are heading to Great All-American Ballpark for a pivotal four-game series. Graham Ashcraft will start game one of today's doubleheader for the Reds.
It is an exciting day for the Yankees organization as top prospects Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells are being called up and could make their debuts tonight. However, the team's current star, Aaron Judge, could be in for a rough night against Justin Verlander.
Speaking of young stars, Gunnar Henderson has emerged as he is the betting favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year. He has been particularly hot of late as the Orioles have won seven of their last 10 games. He is in a good spot tonight against Zach Davies as the Orioles head to Arizona for a three-game series with the Diamondbacks.
MLB Player Props For Friday, September 1
Graham Ashcraft Over 1.5 Walks (-120)
Cubs vs. Reds | 1:10 p.m. ET
You may look at Graham Ashcraft's numbers and scoff when you see his 4.73 ERA. However, Ashcraft has a 2.50 ERA over his last 10 starts. In that span, Ashcraft has completed six innings in nine of his last 10 starts and into the seventh inning in five of them. Ashcraft's consistency in working deep into games could work to our benefit today.
In seven of those last 10 starts, Ashcraft has walked two batters or more. A 70% hit rate is nice, but it gets better. Ashcraft has made five starts against the Cubs in his career -one this season and four last season. He has walked at least two batters in all five of those starts and he is averaging three walks per start.
What makes me curious is why the odds are -120 for this line, until I considered Ashcraft's innings. This is his second season in the big leagues and he has already surpassed his career-high in innings. However, I am willing to take the risk here considering this is a doubleheader. The Reds are not likely to pull him early if he is pitching well with two games to play.
Ashcraft walked two batters in five innings or less in three of his starts against the Cubs. Additionally, the Cubs are 6th in Walk Percentage and often make starting pitchers work. It's possible that Ashcraft walks two batters early on and we do not have to worry about his innings at all.
Pick: Graham Ashcraft Over 1.5 Walks
Aaron Judge Over 1.5 Strikeouts (-115)
Yankees vs. Astros | 8:10 p.m. ET
Yesterday, the Yankees gave Aaron Judge the day off in the series finale against the Tigers. His presence was felt as the Yankees did not score until the ninth inning. Judge did pinch hit in the 10th inning and grounded out to short. In the process, he snapped a streak of six consecutive games with a strikeout. However, Judge has struck out in eight of his last 10 starts, including six games with two strikeouts in that span.
More strikeouts could be in store considering his matchup today. Judge is 4-for-34 (.118) with 10 strikeouts and 29% Strikeout Rate against Justin Verlander. He is also is hitting .182 with a .659 OPS and 50 strikeouts in 37 career games against the Astros.
Given his struggles against Astros, I also like the under on his total bases. However, I prefer the strikeouts here as Judge has four home runs against the Astros relievers. He has also has two home runs off Verlander. Judge can also strike out once more against an Astros reliever if Verlander only gets him once. With likely four plate appearances, it is not out of the question that Judge goes 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts.
Pick: Aaron Judge Over 1.5 Walks
Gunnar Henderson Over 1.5 Total Bases (-110)
Orioles vs. Diamondbacks | 9:40 p.m. ET
Gunnar Henderson will head to Arizona with a hit in 14 of his last 15 games. In that span, he is hitting .355 with five doubles, one triple, three home runs, 13 runs batted in, and a 1.010 OPS. He also has five multi-hit games in that span as well.
Batting at the top of the Orioles lineup has Henderson plenty of opportunities of late and he has been capitalizing. Henderson has gotten five plate appearances in eight games over the last two weeks. Baltimore should put up some runs today off Zach Davies so five plate appearances is a possibility- though he may not need all five to clear this line today.
Davies has a 6.93 ERA (7.22 at home) and is allowing left-handed batters to slash .292/.372/.445 against him. They have five doubles, two triples, and four home runs off him as well. Henderson's next extra base will be his 50th of the season and most of the damage has come against right-handed pitchers with 19 doubles, five triples, and 19 home runs against them.
Henderson has hit this line in five of his last 10 games. I am expecting that he moves that rate above .500 after tonight.
Pick: Gunnar Henderson Over 1.5 Total Bases