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Tuesday MLB Player Props & Picks: Our 2 Bets for Pablo Lopez, Jordan Hicks (May 24)

Tuesday MLB Player Props & Picks: Our 2 Bets for Pablo Lopez, Jordan Hicks (May 24) article feature image
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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Hicks.

  • We have another loaded Major League Baseball card on Tuesday's landscape.
  • Analyst Tanner McGrath has targeted two strikeout props for his latest top picks.
  • Check out below where he's landed, including a betting angle on St. Louis starter Jordan Hicks.

The Tuesday slate in Major League Baseball is always loaded, and this time around I’ve found two pitchers worth targeting in the props market based our Action Labs projections.

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.

Pablo Lopez — Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-155)

Marlins @ Rays
First Pitch 6:40 p.m. ET
Best Line BetRivers

During his career, Pablo Lopez has been slowly developing his changeup. He’s thrown it more year over year since he reached the majors and it’s now his second-most frequented pitch.

That changeup has developed into one of the best in baseball. He’s holding batters to just a .186 wOBA and an 85.7mph avg. exit velocity while forcing whiffs at a 43.5% rate. In total, he’s produced a -7 Run Value on the pitch.

As a result, Lopez has turned into one of the best in the game. He’s posted a 1.57 ERA through 46 innings this season while keeping his xFIP well below 3.00. He’s posted a 4-1 record as well. Most importantly, though, Lopez has struck out at least six batters in five of his eight starts.

*Image credit: Baseball Savant

Expect more of the same against a Tampa Bay lineup known for being strikeout prone. After finishing ninth in strikeout rate last season, the Rays are 11th in that stat this year.

Tampa Bay is also just league average against changeups, ranking 14th in MLB in weighted changeup runs created (1.1) this season. So, don’t expect any matchup advantages on that end of things.

Our Action Labs Player Props tool projects Lopez for 7.1 strikeouts, while FanGraphs’ SaberSim projections mark him for 6.2. Either way, I’ll happily back Lopez at this price.

Pick: Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-155)

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

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Jordan Hicks — Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-157)

Blue Jays @ Cardinals
First Pitch 7:45 p.m. ET
Best Line BetRivers

I’m looking to fade Jordan Hicks again.

The two-pitch wonder can’t get his pitches under control. Hicks is walking more than five batters per nine innings thus far. When he does throw his sinker or slider out of the zone, he never gets guys to chase, ranking in the 10th percentile of pitchers in chase rate.

And despite him regularly hitting triple digits on his sinker, Hicks ranks in the 28th percentile of pitchers in whiff rate. Hicks ranks below the 20th percentile in both swinging-strike rate and CSW rate. He also is usually on a short leash, as Hicks has eclipsed 80 pitches just once this season.

Add it together and Hicks has cashed this number in two of his eight starts this season. That 25% hit rate would imply -300 odds to the under.

Facing him is the second-hardest hitting lineup in baseball. Although the Blue Jays have been slumping lately, the team still ranks second in hard-hit rate and third in avg. exit velocity. The Blue Jays strikeout rate is up slightly this year, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to offset Hicks’ clear issues.

Our Action Labs projections mark Hicks for just two strikeouts, making this our top-rated props play on the card.

Pick: Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-157)

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

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