Best pitcher props for Tuesday's MLB slate (6/22): Digging deeper with Hendricks
We’re back with another Tuesday edition of MLB strikeout props. Every team is scheduled to be in action tonight, giving us an even 30 starting pitchers to analyze. 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 strikeout props, it’s easy to get lost in the monotony of checking recent performances, strikeout numbers, and the opposing lineup’s statistics. Sometimes, you need to peel back the layers and look at the advanced stats and analytics. Tonight, my two best bets might not look too appetizing on the surface. However, I’ll do my best to explain why I’m on both of them, and where I see the value.
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Kyle Hendricks (CHC) over 4.5 strikeouts (+124)
Line available at publishing.
After a rough April, Hendricks has settled back into providing the reliability the Cubs of which the Cubs are accustomed. The crafty right-hander has pitched to a 2.79 ERA in his last nine starts, recording a quality start in all but one. His strikeout numbers won’t impress you with only 65 in 80.2 innings pitched. However, he’s reached five strikeouts in half of his starts, and I’m seeing some value in his matchup tonight.
The Indians come to Chicago’s North Side tonight to face the Cubs. Cleveland is likely to put out a lineup with at least five left-handed batters, and potentially six, amongst the eight position players. Hendricks’ strikeouts skew very heavily towards left-handed batters (23.3% versus 15.5% against righties). Plus, the Indians lineup does not exactly inflict fear in opposing pitchers with a team batting average in the bottom five and a team OPS in the bottom ten of the league.
Even though he’s not heavily reliant on the strikeout, I like Hendricks to pitch deep enough into the game to reach this number. I have the eight-year veteran projected at 5.25 strikeouts, making this a great play at plus odds.
Be sure to check out our full game preview for Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago Cubs
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Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) over 6.5 strikeouts (-115)
Line available at publishing.
Another tough sell, especially if you’re looking at the raw numbers. Rodriguez has a 6.21 ERA through his first 66.2 innings. He has registered 78 strikeouts thus far, reaching seven strikeouts in five of his thirteen starts. Not the most compelling argument for the over.
However, digging deeper, it becomes easier to see the value. In looking at his overall pitching performance, Rodriguez’s xERA is 3.51 and his xFIP sits at 3.31, both of which are in the 70th percentile of pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched. To me, the discrepancy between these numbers and his actual ERA indicates that Rodriguez is due for positive regression. And with a strikeout rate in the upper echelon amongst left-handed starters, Rodriguez is still in a prime position to succeed with the right matchup.
And tonight, he should have just that. The Rays have struggled mightily versus southpaws all season. Tampa possesses the second-highest strikeout rate, the fourth-lowest team batting average, and the fourth-lowest team OPS against left-handed pitchers. When facing teams in the bottom half of strikeouts versus lefties, Rodriguez has hit this line in four of six starts this season.
It’s easy to let recent box scores deter you, but I see too much value on E-Rod in an advantageous matchup tonight. I have the big lefty projected closer to eight strikeouts.
Be sure to check out our full game preview for Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays