Best MLB player prop picks for today, 4/28: Detmers and Jones rack up Ks

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Sunday lineups in MLB can be a bit watered down with some key pieces sitting before the team travels to their next series, but that is of no concern for us today as this article is highlighting two overs on strikeout totals for talented pitchers. Let’s dive in!

Reid Detmers (LAA) over 5.5 strikeouts (-121)

Odds available at Caesars sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -140. Risking 1u.

The fantasy baseball and betting communities were a year early on predicting the Reid Detmers breakout as the talented southpaw received a ton of hype heading into the 2023 season. Detmers took a step back production wise, however, but now is seemingly making that leap in 2024. The former 10th overall draft pick in 2020 utilizes a 4-pitch arsenal with each offering receiving at least 15.4% usage. His 4-seamer leads the way with 48.8% usage and that pitch has performed extremely well, generating a 32.5% whiff rate while holding opponents to a .152 average. A slider and curveball provide Detmers with 2 breaking balls that can be used against either handedness, and he is comfortable using both pitches with 2 strikes. Against right-handers he whips out a changeup that generates a 35.1% whiff rate as well. Being able to use each of his pitches in any count helps him keep opponents off balance, and his stuff is electric as well.

Through 5 starts Detmers is generating a 13.9% swinging strike rate and a 29.9% called strike plus whiff rate. Both of those marks would be career highs, and this is someone that already posted a 10.17 K/9 last season. Reid punched out 7 Orioles in his season debut before 12 and 7 Ks in his next two starts, both against the Boston Red Sox. His last couple of outings have combined for just 8 Ks in a rematch with Baltimore and a start in Tampa, but today’s opponent sets him up well for a bounce back outing. Detmers will face the Minnesota Twins today, and the Twins are a strikeout heavy offense filled with bats willing to whiff. Minnesota is directly behind Oakland in leaguewide CSW%, and their overall contact rate is 3rd worst behind the Athletics and Rockies. The Twins have seen fewer southpaws than average so far this season, leaving their sample size of PA lacking to this point in the year. Still, Detmers should be able to work his way through the order and find a good number of 3rd strikes. The Twins love to take strikes, yet don’t have the contact skills in their lineup to play well from behind in the count. Detmers has thrown 90 or more pitches in 4 straight outings, and I expect 6 or more strikeouts in this matchup.

Jared Jones (PIT) over 6.5 strikeouts (+102)

Odds available at FanDuel sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -120 odds. Risking 1u.

Paul Skenes is the pitching prospect in the Pirates organization that had everyone’s attention coming into 2024, and the first overall pick from the 2023 draft has done nothing to warrant any less excitement than there was. Still, he has been surpassed in the spotlight for the time being as teammate Jared Jones has taken the league by storm through his first 5 MLB starts. The right-hander was the 44th overall pick out of high school in the 2020 draft, a draft class that has produced numerous top-100 prospects for the Pirates organization. Jones was amazing in spring training, earning his spot in the rotation by pitching scoreless ball throughout exhibition play. He carried over the strong performance into regular season action, and his numbers have truly been among the league’s best.

With 7 or more strikeouts in each outing so far, and 39 total through his first 29 innings, Jones has had no trouble implementing his swing-and-miss capabilities at this level. More impressive than the raw strikeout totals, however, is his underlying numbers that suggest we could see this type of pitching maintained. Jones leads qualified pitchers in swinging strike rate this season at 21.1%, 3.6% higher than the next closest pitcher on that list. He also generates a healthy number of called strikes, leading to a league high 36.3% CSW%. Jones is more than willing to let his fastball live in the middle of the plate as well given opponents have just a 74% zone-contact rate against him, the lowest on this list of qualified arms. He gets a matchup today against a Giants lineup that has the 3rd lowest swing rate on pitches inside the zone. They have the 5th lowest 1st-pitch swing rate as well as the 8th highest CSW%.

Jones was held to 59 pitches 2 starts ago against the Mets, a game in which he still struck out 7 across 5 scoreless frames, but there was some clarification after the fact that he was limited due to pitching on 4 days rest for the first time. His last outing was back to 5 days’ rest and Jones saw a career high 91 pitches across his 24 batters faced. I think we get another full workload in this matchup, especially considering 5 days of rest for Jones and the Pirates bullpen taxation from recent games.

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