Best MLB pitcher props for Friday's slate: Can Taillon tame the Marlins?

Jameson Taillon

Happy Friday, baseball fans. Not only are we treated to our typically full slate of MLB games tonight, but today also brings us the trade deadline. With a whirlwind of moves made over the last few days, baseball is sure to continue to dominate the news cycle all day. I’m ready to bring you some strikeout props, but before we get to those, make sure you check out our full game previews and picks if you’re looking to wager on any game sides or totals.

With the typical ebbs and flows of the season, my three-pack of prop plays tonight focuses on recent trends. Which pitchers are hot? Which teams are struggling to make contact? Baseball is a game of peaks and valleys, especially when we’re fully entrenched in the dog days of summer.

Jameson Taillon over 5.5 strikeouts (+110)

Line available at publishing. 

It’s been a tale of two seasons for the first-year Yankee. After a June start versus the Phillies in which he couldn’t escape the first inning, Taillon’s ERA sat at an inflated 5.74. In the 7 starts since, the big right-hander has registered a 2.59 ERA over 41.2 innings. While his strikeout totals have been lower over that stretch (35), he’s faced some stiff anti-K competition including the Red Sox twice, the Astros, and the Royals.

Tonight, Taillon faces off against the weak-hitting Marlins. Miami owns the 2nd-highest strikeout rate over the last 30 days, and the 8th-highest over the course of the season versus right-handed pitching. Much of the Marlins’ struggles this season have come versus opposing pitchers’ fastballs — Miami rates as the worst-hitting team versus that pitch this season. Seeing that more than 62% of Tailon’s strikeouts have been off his four-seam heater, this matchup should play well.

Taillon has not had too much success reaching this strikeout total this season. However, versus the teams in the top half of strikeout rate this season, Taillon is 5 of 9 to the over on this number. And with the Marlins weakness aligning with the Yankee starter’s strength, I like this play at plus odds.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for New York Yankees vs Miami Marlins

Chris Bassitt over 5.5 strikeouts (-110)

Line available at publishing. 

Bassitt has been a workhorse for the A’s this season. Across his 21 starts, he has pitched 130 innings, which is good for the fourth -most in baseball. And, in 14 of those starts, he’s notched at least 6 innings pitched. When looking at overs, I love targeting guys who reliably can pitch deeper into the game, and Bassitt has proved that this year.

And this season, the seventh-year pro is striking out guys at the best rate of his career. Bassitt has registered 132 punchouts this season, and has reached at least 6 in 14 of his last 18. The big difference this season has been the resurrection his his slider, which he had sparsely used the last two seasons. Used effectively with a 43% whiff rate, the return of the breaking ball to his arsenal has allowed Bassitt a reliable source to strikeout right-handed batters. Paired with his four-seam fastball and curveball, the All-Star utilizes the three pitches to rack up the strikeouts.

Tonight, Bassitt gets a familar foe in the Angels. Already with 17 strikeouts in 16.2 innings against them this season, he’s shown the ability to register Ks against anyone in LA’s lineup not named David Fletcher. Going up against a depleted lineup without Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Jared Walsh, Bassitt shouldn’t find it difficult to pitch deep into the game. And with more innings comes more opportunities for strikeouts.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Oakland Athletics vs Los Angeles Angels

Vince Velasquez under 5.5 strikeouts (-144)

Line available at publishing. 

For the Phillies pitcher, it comes down to this – he has hit the over on this total only once in his last 10 starts, pitching to a 6.80 ERA over that span. Plus, he’s stayed under on this number in 7 of his 9 road starts this season.

The Pirates are a bit depleted, but they still are strikeout-averse (I learned the hard way yesterday, losing a Freddy Peralta over play). Velasquez has struggled against left-handed hitters this season, allowing a .273 batting average against. I expect plenty of lefties in Pittsburgh’s lineup tonight, in an effort to neutralize the Phillies starter.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Philadelphia Phillies vs Pittsburgh Pirates

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