Best MLB player prop pick for today, 4/14: Texas makes contact vs Javier

Cristian Javier
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Javan Shouey


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All 30 teams are in action on the 2nd Sunday in April, and there are numerous games worth watching on today’s slate. From a betting perspective I am heading back to the Astros and Rangers series for a strikeout prop, let’s dive in!

Cristian Javier, HOU, Under 5.5 strikeouts (-120)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -135. 1u.

Cristian Javier struck out 130 batters in 101.1 innings pitched during the 2021 season, primarily as a reliever while making just 9 of his 36 appearances as a starter. He fully broke out the following year, making starts in 25 of 30 outings while striking out 194 batters in 148.2 frames. 2023 was a major step back, however, essentially posting career worst marks across the board and failing to reach a strikeout per inning. His 159 strikeouts across 162 innings were accompanied by a 2.4% drop in his swinging strike rate, and a 4% increase in his zone-contact rate allowed. Through 3 starts in 2024 his strikeout numbers have taken yet another hit, and there seems to be reasoning. What made Javier so good early on in his career was his 94 MPH fastball that had deception and elite swing and miss characteristics. His first 4 seasons saw 4-seam usage at 54.5% or higher, with last season at 58.7%. In his career 53.7% of his strikeouts have come on that pitch alone. His fastball has seen a velocity dip to 92.9 last season, and through each of his first 3 starts this year it has fallen even more. Javier’s last outing saw an average of just 91.9 MPH on that pitch, and his usage is also down on the 4-seamer this season at just 34.3%. He is instead throwing his slider and changeups more, but he is already a pitcher that struggles with commanding the strike zone.

Javier has just a 52.2% first pitch strike rate for his career, and this season’s 54.4% mark sits 6.5% below league average. Last season’s 9.0% BB% ranked 40th percentile, but he was still generating chases at a 29.3% clip at that time. His chase rate through 3 starts this season is down to 25.0%, and he has walked 9 batters as a result, 8 of which came in his last 2 starts. Javier is already someone that generates a low ground ball rate, and walking batters just adds to his inefficiency. Texas is an aggressive team, averaging the 4th fewest pitches per plate appearance in the league, yet they still generate walks at the 5th highest rate when facing right-handed pitching. They chase on pitches outside the zone at the 6th lowest rate yet make contact at the 10th highest rate when they do chase. Texas has the league’s 2nd lowest overall CSW%, and the 2nd lowest K% against right-handed pitching. Javier will be forced to land his off-speed pitches in the zone during this matchup. Even if he is able to, the right-hander had generated swinging strike rates of 8.9%, 9.3%, and 7.5% through his first 3 outings. Umpire Emil Jimenez can have a shaky and inconsistent zone, but that is my biggest concern for this under.

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