MLB Props Today | Odds, Picks for Paul Blackburn, Jordan Montgomery (Monday, August 21)

MLB Props Today | Odds, Picks for Paul Blackburn, Jordan Montgomery (Monday, August 21) article feature image

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Montgomery

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 Monday, August 21, including picks for Paul Blackburn and Jordan Montgomery.

MLB Player Props For Monday, August 21

Monday, Aug 21
9:40 p.m. ET
Paul Blackburn Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-130)

When the Oakland Athletics' ace takes the mound, I usually bet on them (and him).

Sadly, I will be against Paul Blackburn today.

It's not because of Blackburn, as he's pitched well lately. Instead, it's because of the Kansas City lineup.

The Royals pair the second-lowest strikeout rate (19%) with the fifth-highest wRC+ (121) against right-handed pitching over the past month. The Royals are obliterating the ball, combining patience with power and an MVP-caliber performer in Bobby Witt Jr.

It may sound crazy, but Witt has been the best player in baseball over the past month (2.4 fWAR). He's slashing .400/.436/.709 during the stretch while only striking out 12% of the time, good for a 212 wRC+.

Witt Jr. with a single digit K% is probably the best fantasy hitter in the league

— Jon Anderson (@JonPgh) August 19, 2023

So, it's been impossible to strike out Kansas City lately. The Royals have held nine of the past opposing starting pitchers under their strikeout total, including seven consecutive right-handed pitchers.

So while I appreciate Blackburn, he's not good enough to overcome this version of the Royals. He still only checks in with an 87 Stuff+ rating and a 26% CSW rate. He's striking out more batters than ever (22.6%), but he doesn't have the pure stuff to shut down the hottest lineup in baseball.

Projections agree, as the Action Labs Player Props Tool projects Blackburn for 4.8 strikeouts on Monday evening, providing a sizeable edge on the line available at FanDuel.

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

Pick: Paul Blackburn Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-130)

Monday, Aug 21
9:40 p.m. ET
Jordan Montgomery Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-125)

Jordan Montgomery has cashed over 4.5 strikeouts in 17 of his 24 starts this year. He's cashed this number in 11 of his past 13 outings.

You wouldn't think of Montgomery as a big-time strikeout pitcher, and that's because he isn't. He's a soft-tossing southpaw sinkerballer who likes to manage contact and force ground balls.

However, Monty is effective at doing just that. He induces a 56% ground-ball rate on sinkers, which keeps his pitch count down, allowing him to pitch deeper into games.

Montgomery has gone at least six innings in 16 starts this season, including six consecutive. That gives him more opportunities for strikeouts.

And he capitalized on those opportunities with devastating secondary pitches. His changeup and cutter have Swinging-Strike rates approaching 20%, while his curveball checks in with a 14% rate.

Monty strikes out about eight batters per nine innings. So, he should strike out 5.3 batters for every six-inning outing.

Those numbers check out. He's pitched at least six innings while striking out between five and six batters in more than half of his starts this season.

It's also worth mentioning that he's coming off one of his best starts this season, striking out nine Angels across six innings of one-run ball, inducing 16 total whiffs (the most of any starter that day). So, he's in solid form.

The Diamondbacks are a tough team to strike out, but projections like Montgomery today, anyway:

  • Action Labs Player Props Tool: 5.2 Ks
  • BallParkPal Pitcher Sims: 4.8 Ks
  • Jon Anderson Daily Projections: 4.9 Ks
  • RotoWire Pitcher Prop Projections: 4.6 Ks

I also like Monty in this one, so I'll take him to cash over 4.5 Ks again, hoping he induces grounders, pitches deep into the game and takes advantage of pitcher's counts.

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

Pick: Over 4.5 Ks (-125 at BetMGM)

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