Best MLB player prop bets for today 6/22: Tampa is tough on left-handers

Jun 17, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) pitches to the Toronto Blue Jays during the third inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Javan Shouey

MLB · 6 days ago

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A lifelong sports fan from Northwestern Pennsylvania. Die-hard supporter of the Steelers, Pirates and Cavaliers. Insane passion for writing about sports and helping others improve. Incredibly thankful for the platform Pickswise is giving me.

For the last 12 months I have shared my sports betting tips and plays on my Twitter page @shou_in.  I am incredibly thankful for the platform Pickswise has now allowed me. I update my record in my Twitter bio daily and am more than willing to answer any questions or provide help through direct messaging.  Read below to see what prop(s) I am eyeing up on Wednesday’s MLB slate.

When you’ve checked out this article, you can also read all today’s MLB previews and our Wednesday MLB mega parlay.

Jordan Montgomery (NYY) under 5.5 strikeouts (-124)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Jordan Montgomery is far from a poor pitcher. This season, the Yankees left-hander has a 2.72 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP and has gone 5 or more innings in 6 straight games. That being said, he pitches to contact, and his expected stats are less impressive than what he has produced to this point. His xERA sits at 3.84 which is in the 48th percentile, his xBA sits in the 23rd percentile, and most importantly, his K rate is only in the 30th percentile.

I love this 5.5 number (would lay off at 4.5) as Montgomery has gone under this line in all 13 starts he has made this season. While he has reached exactly 5 on 7 occasions, I still love seeing a prop with a 100% hit rate to the under. He averages 0.77 K/IP, which ranks in the 16th percentile. His 18.54 pitches/K would imply he needs a large workload in this game, but Montgomery has a season high of only 96 pitches, and averages under 80 pitches on the year. His road OBA is .237 compared to .200 and while Tampa doesn’t have the most potent offense, they are one of the best teams in baseball in avoiding strikeouts against left-handed pitchers.

Tampa has faced 17 left-handed starters this season with all of them falling under 5.5 Ks. This includes early-season Cy Young candidate Nestor Cortes 3 separate times including last night. Only 4 of the 17 have even reached 5 Ks against Tampa. Overall against lefties, the Rays have the 4th-lowest K% at 18.6% this season. At home against left-handed pitchers this season, Tampa is hitting .276 with a 125 wRC+, both ranking in the top 8 in baseball. I am looking for both of these trends to continue tonight in Tampa.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) over 6.5 strikeouts (-108)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

I love Zack Wheeler. For someone who adores advanced metrics and expected data, Wheeler is exactly the type of pitcher I am drawn to. The former 6th overall pick in 2009 out of high school is squarely in his prime. I really like his matchup this afternoon.

The Phillies right-hander is top-20 in baseball in both ERA and WHIP, while ranking 85th percentile in xERA and 83rd percentile in BB%. His barrel rate, average exit velocity, xwOBA, and xSLG are all 83rd percentile or better this season. When it comes to striking batters out, Wheeler ranks 79th percentile in K%. His called strike plus whiff rate sits 69th percentile, and his chase rate is a wonderful 86th percentile. What makes his chase rate so deadly is that his chase contact rate is over 3% lower than league average. The Rangers have the league’s worst chase contact rate this season as a team at only 51%.

His 1.11 K/IP ranks 68th percentile, and he averages just 13.58 pitches/K. He is very efficient with his work, throwing first-pitch strikes at a 68.7% clip (8% higher than league average), and throwing in the zone 3.3% more often than league average. This allows him to go deep in games as he as averaged 93.78 pitches per start in his last 9 games, going 6+ innings in 8/9. Despite his efficiency, Wheeler has thrown 7 or more strikeouts in 8 of his last 9 starts with his only miss versus Washington who is K-adverse. Over the last 2 seasons, Wheeler is over this line in 28/44 starts averaging 7.4 Ks/start.

Texas as a team swings the bat at the highest rate in baseball. They also have the 2nd highest whiff%. Their 23.4% K rate vs RHP on the season ranks 9th worst, and their rate has remained steady over the last 30 days. In a matchup with a pitcher who pounds the zone like Wheeler does, the Rangers offense won’t be able to find many batter-friendly counts. Rangers have the highest zone swing rate and the 3rd lowest zone contact rate. Today’s lineup features 5 bats with a 24.8% or worse K rate vs RHP this season and Wheeler should see them plenty of times with his outs prop set at 18.5.

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