Best MLB player prop pick for today 5/19: Kirby pitches to contact

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Javan Shouey


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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 Javan Shouey media enquiries, please email
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This Sunday slate in MLB presents us with a full day of baseball action, and numerous games are worth tuning into and watching. From a betting perspective there is one pitching prop that stands out to me today, so let’s dive in!

George Kirby (SEA) under 5.5 strikeouts recorded (-110)

Odds available at BetMGM sportsbook at time of initial post to Twitter. Playable to -135 odds. Risking 1u.

George Kirby has gotten off to a strong start in 2024, pitching to a 3.58 ERA with similar underlying run indicators as last season. Kirby was a popular Cy Young pick during the offseason and spring training, and while he is certainly a top of the rotation arm, I am betting against his strikeout prop today. It is never fun betting against pitchers with stuff as good as Kirby, but the matchup is presenting us with some solid value at current pricing.

Kirby thrives on command of the strike zone, ranking 98th percentile in BB% and 2nd among qualified pitchers in strike rate behind Jared Jones of the Pirates. This tends to lead to a ton of contact against him, however, as Kirby ranks just 36th percentile in whiff rate this season. Despite a 2.4% jump in K% to begin the season, resulting in Kirby to clear this 5.5 line in 5 of 9 starts made, his underlying strikeout numbers are in line or worse with last season. His swinging strike rate of 10.5% is actually down from last season’s 10.9% rate, while his CSW% has dropped as well. Kirby is generating fewer swings on pitches outside the zone, and when he does draw opponents to chase, they are having far more success connecting and fouling off pitches.

In Kirby’s last 3 starts he has generated a combined swinging strike rate of only 8.1% while allowing opponents to have an 89.3% zone-contact rate. Today’s matchup is against the Baltimore Orioles, a team with the 10th lowest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching in the last 30 days of play. Each of the last 6 and 13 of the last 14 right-handed starting pitchers to face Baltimore have stayed under this 5.5 mark, including Kirby’s teammate Luis Castillo yesterday. Castillo entered that game with 59 strikeouts in his last 49.1 innings of work with a 14.0% swinging strike rate in that span, yet only struck out 2 Orioles while generating just a 4.5% swinging strike rate. Baltimore has also kept high octane arms like Luis Gil, Hunter Greene, and Zac Gallen under this mark in recent weeks.

A concern of mine for this matchup is that Kirby has found more success striking out left-handed batters this season, and Baltimore will likely have 6 in their lineup this afternoon. Still, Kirby has been worse on the road with his strikeout numbers, and the approach from Baltimore with 2 strikes is one that has been effective of late. Overall, in the last 30 days Baltimore has the 8th lowest CSW% and the 5th highest contact rate on swings outside the strike zone. They are swinging at the 6th highest rate and should be able to put the ball in play with consistency against Kirby and his zone-heavy approach.

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