Thursday MLB Player Prop Bets: Back Segura and Fade Cortes (August 5)

Thursday MLB Player Prop Bets: Back Segura and Fade Cortes (August 5) article feature image
Credit:

Rob Tringali / Getty Images. Pictured: Jean Segura.

Following a 2-0 day yesterday, and careful inspection of Thursday’s pitching matchups using the Action Labs Player Prop tool, there’s one strikeout total I’m targeting on the schedule.

Additionally, there’s a position player matchup that I believe provides value.

Our Action Labs tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade below my explanation.

MLB Player Prop & Pick

Nestor Cortes Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-120)

Yankees vs. Mariners Yankees -210
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
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Strikeout totals against the Mariners have been inflated recently, as they’ve struck out at the fourth highest clip in MLB over the past 30 days (24.8%). However, I disagree with Vegas’ evaluation of the Mariners, especially after they just beat up on the Rays’ top-notch pitching staff.

Here’s the Mariners’ strikeout totals against starting pitchers over their last three series:

  • 8/5 vs. TBR’s Josh Fleming: 6 Ks
  • 8/4 vs. TBR’s Luis Patiño: 3 Ks
  • 8/3 vs. TBR’s Michael Wacha: 3 Ks
  • 8/1 vs. TEX’s Mike Fotynewicz: 1 K
  • 7/31 vs. TEX’s Taylor Hearn: 3 Ks
  • 7/30 vs. TEX’s Kolby Allard: 3 Ks
  • 7/28 vs. HOU’s Jake Odorizzi: 3 Ks
  • 7/27 vs. HOU’s Lance McCullers Jr.: 8 Ks
  • 7/26 vs. HOU’s Luis Garcia: 9 Ks

As you can see, Seattle notched 17 Ks against Houston’s top two rotation guys and have since remained rather disciplined.

Enter Yankees starter Nestor Cortes, who – rather than being a top of the rotation guy – has yet to make six MLB starts yet. While he has posted a whopping 30.5% strikeout rate this season, I expect that to regress toward his career average of 24% as the season progresses.

More importantly, however, is that Nestor has recorded five or more strikeouts twice in just three career appearances (53 appearances in total) and in just one start (his last outing). He’s been effective in his relief role this year (1.93 ERA, .95 WHIP, 2.40 xERA, 3.59 xFIP), and he may pitch well today, but I wouldn’t expect him to give the Yankees much length against a red-hot Mariners offense.

I’ll happily back the undervalued Mariners, fade the overvalued Cortes, and take the under 4.5 number at -120 or better.

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

Jean Segura Most Total Bases vs. Josh Bell (-125)

Phillies vs. Nationals Phillies -150
Time 4:05 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

I love Segura in this spot but am slightly wary of his total bases over against a moderately hot Joe Ross (3.22 xFIP in last five appearances).

However, I quite like Segura’s chances against Bell, as Aaron Nola’s had Bell’s number in the past.

In eight lifetime PA’s vs. Nola, Bell is 0-for-8 with a strikeout and no walks. Furthermore, he’s recorded a .275 xBA and a .375 xSLG in those ABs – two numbers that aren’t necessarily bad but aren’t convincing either.

Turn to Segura, who is 9-for-18 lifetime against Joe Ross with two walks and no strikeouts. His expected statistics aren’t overwhelmingly positive (another reason for hesitation on base total), but Segura loves to hit Ross’s most-used pitch – the Sinker:

This season, Segura is batting .344 on sinkers with a .469 SLG and a +5 run value. Meanwhile, Ross is throwing his sinker half the time, and the difference between his actual and expected statistics on the pitch suggest regression:

Actual Allowed Expected Allowed
.253 BA .280 xBA
.393 SLG .461 xSLG
.331 wOBA .369 xwOBA

Plus, Segura’s been on a tear, as he’s 6-for-15 (.400 BA) over his past four games (three against Washington) with four doubles, a home run and three walks to just two strikeouts (1.393 OPS). Meanwhile, Bell is in a 3-for-16 slump (.188 BA) since August started.

I like this moderately short line DraftKings is giving us, and I’d play this Segura vs. Bell prop up to -130.

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