MLB Player Props, Odds, Picks for Jose Urquidy & More
Logan Riely/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros.
I try to add an edge to my MLB betting card each day by selecting a few player props using our Action Labs projections.
Our Action Labs Player 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 picks in the discussion below.
Here are my MLB player prop picks for the slate on Wednesday, August 23.
MLB Player Props For Wednesday, August 23
Andrew Abbott Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-110)
Reds vs. Angels (Game 1), 4:07 p.m. ET
Abbott is seeing some negative regression. He would never sustain a 95% strand rate throughout a full season, so his ERA has jumped about a run over his past four starts (14 earned over his past 19 innings).
However, Abbott's strikeout rate hasn't taken a hit. He's still struck out 22 batters during this 19-inning stretch.
Abbott's striking out about 27% of batters on the year and around 10 per nine innings pitched. That number ranks in the 75th percentile of qualified pitchers, an excellent mark for a rookie.
Abbott has great stuff. He has one of the highest-spinning curveballs in the league, one of three secondary pitches with a double-digit swinging-strike rate (16.4% on sweeper, 10.7% on curveball, 17.8% on changeup).
Here's a changeup-sweeper-curveball combo for your viewing pleasure:
Regarding this specific strikeout line, Abbott has cashed over 5.5 strikeouts in eight of 14 starts this season, a 57% hit rate that implies -133 odds to the over. However, he's also cashed over 5.5 strikeouts in four of his past five road games.
Surprisingly, Abbott's strikeout numbers pop slightly when he's on the road (10.5 K/9 compared to 9.1). He's picked up at least eight strikeouts in three of the aforementioned five road starts.
I have zero qualms backing Abbott in another road start in Anaheim. Over the past month and against southpaws, the Angels pair the seventh-lowest wRC+ (77) with the ninth-highest strikeout rate (25%). These Halos have been a disaster in the second half.
The projection systems I trust are on board with this analysis. The Action Labs Player Props Tool projects Abbott for 6.7 strikeouts in this one, while BallParkPal's pitcher simulations project him at 6.8.
This line has plenty of value, and Abbott should continue to force Whiffs even if he struggles with run prevention.
Pick: Andrew Abbott over 5.5 Ks (-110) at DraftKings
Action Labs Grade: 9/10
Marcell Ozuna Over 1.5 Total Bases (+115)
Mets vs. Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET
Ozuna is white hot. He's recorded a hit in 18 of his past 19 games, slashing .377/.449/.696 for a 1.144 OPS during that stretch.
He's recorded 12 extra-base hits during the 19 games.
Ozuna has cashed his bases total in eight of the past 10 games, compiling 35 bases in total.
Ozuna is a guy who consistently goes under the radar. He checks in with a .279 ISO and a 121 wRC+, and his Statcast profile is elite.
— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) August 23, 2023
I think it's because Ozuna is buried underneath all the other superstar bats in Atlanta. But he's a special hitter with an uncanny ability to crush the baseball.
He's also killed the Mets, cashing his bases total in seven of nine games against them. He's got 32 total bases in those NL East rivalry games.
One guy Ozuna has consistently shelled is today's starting pitcher for the Mets, Jose Quintana. Ozuna is 8-for-19 lifetime off Quintana with a double and a homer, putting together a .622 xSLG in those 21 plate appearances.
Ozuna kills lefties. He has a 156 wRC+, a .363 ISO and a 15.4% Barrel rate against the side this season.
Quintana is a southpaw sinkerballer, so he tries to manage contact and put the ball on the ground.
That doesn't work against Ozuna, who happily smashes southpaw sinkers to the tune of a .432 xwOBA and a .611 xSLG on 293 seen this season.
Ozuna is rolling, and I expect him to carry his momentum into a great matchup.
Jose Urquidy Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-150)
Red Sox vs. Astros, 8:10 p.m. ET
Urquidy is struggling. His 5.12 ERA would be a career-worst by over a run.
Ultimately, it's a small-sample-size problem. He's only made eight starts this year, and his xERA is over a run lower, indicating he's still managing contact well (98th percentile in average Exit Velocity allowed).
He's also striking out more batters than ever (eight per nine innings pitched) behind a career-high Chase rate (38%).
Urquidy is going to see some positive regression.
But Urquidy is far from elite as a strikeout guy. And he's struggling with control. He's walking 8% of batters faced, and his 25.9% CSW rate ranks in the 25th percentile of qualified pitchers.
So, I think the Red Sox are a bad matchup for Urquidy.
Say what you want about the Red Sox, but they boast a deep lineup that grinds through at-bats. Masataka Yoshida and Triston Casas have injected patience into the lineup, and every batter is putting together smart at-bats.
The Red Sox are seventh in baseball in Contact rate and are below average in Chase rate. They have the lowest first-pitch swing rate of any MLB team and are 11th in pitches per plate appearance.
Over the past month and against right-handed pitching, the Red Sox have the fourth-lowest strikeout rate in MLB.
If you're a pitcher struggling with control, you won't have a good time against the Red Sox.
Urquidy has stayed under 4.5 strikeouts in five of his past six starts, and I expect more of the same here.
It's also worth mentioning that against right-handed four-seam fastballs, sweeper and changeups, the Red Sox boast the third-lowest strikeout rate and the fourth-lowest Whiff rate of any MLB team. Urquidy throws those three pitches over 75% of the time.
The Action Labs Player Props Tool projects him for only 4.2 strikeouts in this start, while BallParkPal projects him at 4.5. Jon Anderson (@JonPGH) projects him for only 2.8. The under 5.5 Ks (-150) at BetMGM is a top-rated play by our tools.
Pick: Under 5.5 Ks (-150) at BetMGM
Action Labs Grade: 10/10