Sunday MLB Player Props: Yu Darvish, Nelson Cruz Offer Value (April 17)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Yu Darvish.
There may be no better combination than Easter brunch and afternoon baseball. There are a few prominent arms going and advantageous matchups for this holiday slate.
Speaking of advantageous matchups, one hitter has career splits that simply can not be ignored. So let’s dive into our Easter Sunday selections.
Nelson Cruz 1.5 Total Bases (+110/-145)
|Nationals vs. Pirates||Nats -125|
|First Pitch||1:35 p.m. ET|
Nelson Cruz has feasted on left-handers over his 14-year career, and even at the ripe age of 41, he is still very dangerous. For his career, Cruz has hit .297 with .271 ISO against lefties, and today, he’ll face a left-hander who he has punished in the past.
Jose Quintana has had a steady decline in his performance over the last few seasons, which has only accentuated his ability to get righties out. In nine seasons, Quintana has allowed righties to hit .278 with a .319 wOBA.
These two have faced off 23 times, and Cruz has gotten the better of Quintana. Cruz is hitting .304 with one career homer. However, his average exit velocity of 93.5 mph means that Cruz should actually have better numbers. If he can continue to make quality contact, it should lead to extra bases today.
Pick: Over 1.5 total bases (+110)
Zack Wheeler 5.5 Strikeouts (-136/+106)
|Phillies vs. Marlins||Phillies -150|
|First Pitch||1:40 p.m. ET|
Zack Wheeler’s season debut was pushed back a bit due to some lingering offseason shoulder soreness. However, the 2021 NL Cy Young Runner Up looked great in his season debut against the Mets. He allowed only two hits and struck out three over 4 2/3 innings of work.
Now, he’ll have a much longer leash in his second start, and his stuff should tick up a bit as he is more stretched out. Wheeler is slated to take on a Marlins lineup that has not exactly been potent, nor have they made a ton of contact. So far, Miami has the 12th-highest strikeout percentage in the majors.
Also, historically, Wheeler has fared well against the current Marlins lineup. Over 97 at-bats, he’s allowed them to hit just .278 and maintained a 25.5% strikeout rate.
Wheeler’s success should continue, and he may pitch this start with few restrictions. So both the Action Labs projections and I expect him to go well over this number.
Action Labs Grade: 7/10
Pick: Over 5.5 Strikeouts -136
Yu Darvish 5.5 Strikouts (-150/+110)
|Braves vs. Padres||Padres -130|
|First Pitch||7:08 p.m. ET|
Darvish has not gotten off to the best of starts in 2022. He holds a 10.57 ERA through two outings and has a -2.7 strikeout to walk percentage. However, a matchup against the Atlanta Braves may be just what he needs to get back on track.
The Padres right-hander has quite a bit of history with the current Braves lineup. Over 82 at bats, the Braves have hit just .159 with a .231 wOBA and a 30% strikeout rate. Darvish not only produces poor contact but misses bats as well. Given his history here, I expect him to continue his trend of dominating Atlanta.
I’m not alone here, as Action Labs has him pegged for 6.5 strikeouts, giving us a 3.7% edge over the current market.
Action Labs Grade: 7/10
Pick: Over 5.5 strikeouts -150