Thursday MLB Player Props: 2 Picks, Including Miles Mikolas (May 5)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Miles Mikolas and Yadier Molina.
Twenty of MLB’s 30 teams suit up for Thursday’s slate, and that gives us 20 potential pitchers to target in the prop market.
I’ve identified two plus-money lines that project value, including an up-and-coming Reds pitcher and an aging Cardinals pitcher.
Our Action Labs 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 recommendations in my discussions below.
Hunter Greene over 5.5 Strikeouts (+108)
|Reds vs. Brewers||Reds +188|
|First Pitch||1:40 p.m. ET|
Hunter Greene has legit stuff.
We can start with his 98-mph fastball (on average) that routinely touches triple digits and has some play. It moves about 2.5 inches more horizontally than the average Major League fastball with its 2400rpm of spin.
Or Greene’s mind-bending slider, which curves right across the plate, has forced a 40% whiff rate and held batters to a .147 wOBA.
Finally, Greene caps it off with a changeup that plays perfectly off his fastball. It tunnels well with his four-seam but moves slightly the opposite direction at just 87 mph.
Highlights from Hunter Greene's 3 first inning Ks. 😷 pic.twitter.com/eNofy7xxcM
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 30, 2022
Through four starts and 18 innings, Greene’s picked up 22 strikeouts. He’s gone over 5.5 in three of his four 2022 starts (all three road starts) and is averaging about 11 Ks per nine innings.
Today, Greene will take on the rather hapless Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew have posted a whopping 90 wRC+ and an exciting 25.1% strikeout rate, the latter being the sixth highest in MLB.
Our Action Labs Projections have Greene striking out 6.5 batters today, giving us close to an 18% edge over the current line and making this a top-rated play.
Pick: Over 5.5 Ks (+108)
Action Labs Grade: 10/10
Miles Mikolas under 4.5 Strikeouts (+105)
|Cardinals @ Giants||Cardinals +100|
|First Pitch||9:45 p.m. ET|
There’s just enough value here.
Miles Mikolas has been going over this line this season, but historically he strikes out less than seven batters per nine innings.
And unlike Greene, Mikolas doesn’t have nasty stuff. His fastball is rather average (37th percentile velocity, 54th percentile spin rate) and none of his pitches force a whiff rate over 25%. He ranks below the 10th percentile in whiff rate as a whole.
Instead, Mikolas relies on keeping hard contact down. He’s elite at doing so (85th percentile average exit velocity, 93rd percentile hard-hit rate), but he pitches to contact in the process.
The Giants are generally a smart hitting team, although they rank around average in strikeout rate this season.
Both our Action Labs Player Props tool and FanGraphs’ SaberSim projections mark Mikolas for 4.4 strikeouts today. That gives us just enough value to back him at a plus-money line.
Pick: Under 4.5 Ks (+105)
Action Labs Grade: 7/10