Best MLB player prop bets for today 5/29: Pitching duel between Tarik Skubal and Jared Jones

Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal
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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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Rain postponed the Pirates vs Tigers game on Tuesday, but for patient MLB fans it has resulted in what should be a great day of pitching in Detroit on Wednesday. Jared Jones and Tarik Skubal will face off in the first game of the doubleheader with Paul Skenes likely facing Jack Flaherty in the 2nd game. Today’s MLB player prop article focuses on those 2 pitchers mentioned in the first matchup. Let’s dive into my best MLB player prop bets for Wednesday, May 29, while you can also check out our MLB picks for all of today’s big games!

Jared Jones (PIT) and Tarik Skubal (DET) both to record 6+ strikeouts (-117)

Odds available at FanDuel sportsbook at time of initial post to Twitter. Playable to -130 odds.

My first ever player prop article on Pickswise 2 summers ago was an over 5.5 strikeouts bet on Detroit Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal. He cruised past that mark with 9 punchouts in an advantageous spot, but the days of playable 5.5 lines for the Tigers ace are sadly long gone. The southpaw was my preseason Cy Young pick at 20/1, and he is now the odds-on favorite for the award in the American League thanks to a tremendous start. Skubal ranks 87th percentile or better this season in walk rate, xBA, average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, chase rate, whiff rate, swinging strike rate and called strike plus whiff rate. His 2.25 ERA is backed by a 2.42 xERA, 2.15 FIP, 2.55 xFIP and 2.59 SIERA.

Skubal’s 78.4% zone contact rate allowed is the 3rd-lowest mark among qualified pitchers, trailing only Cole Ragans and Jared Jones. He gets ahead in counts with regularity, tossing a first-pitch strike at the 3rd-highest rate among qualified arms. His high rate of strikes thrown, relatively low pitches per plate appearance for a strikeout-heavy arm, and his workload are all traits that allow him to work deeply into ball games. Skubal’s outs recorded line is heavily juiced towards the over on a 17.5 line, implying a strong probability he completes 6 full frames of work or more.

With 6 or more strikeouts in 9 of 10 starts this season and 17 of his last 18 dating back to last year, the opponent rarely matters for Skubal with his elite talent. Still, this is a spot I like for the southpaw to perform on paper against a whiff-happy Pirates lineup. Across the last 30 days, the Pirates have baseball’s 8th-highest strikeout rate against southpaw pitching, and across the entire season they jump to 3rd-worst. In those last 30 days, Pittsburgh has the 5th-lowest zone-contact rate and the highest CSW% of all MLB teams.

As for the aforementioned Jared Jones, the rookie arm for the Pirates has gotten off to a tremendous start to his MLB career. While not as highly touted or physically imposing as his fellow rookie Paul Skenes, Jones has performed like a true ace in the making so far this year. Through his first 10 starts at this level, he has posted a 3.05 ERA with a 3.22 xERA, 3.59 FIP, 2.91 xFIP and 2.82 SIERA backing up his success. His 0.97 WHIP sits 10th-best in MLB while his strikeout production has been the real headline. Jones sits in the 95th percentile in both whiff rate and chase rate while leading all qualified pitchers with his 17.9% swinging strike rate. Like Skubal, Jones gets ahead early with first-pitch strikes, and he continues to fill up the zone throughout plate appearances as he trusts his stuff to win within the zone.

Jones has failed to record 6 or more strikeouts in 3 of his last 5 starts but has still achieved 7 or more in 7 of 10 starts this season overall. Among his 3 misses, 2 of them were against the same Giants lineup within a 4-week timeframe, and San Francisco has been rather K-averse of late. Even when Jones has failed to eclipse his strikeout total, the swinging strikes have been there, recording a SwStr% of at least 14% in 9 of 10 starts this year. Jones draws a more favorable matchup this time around against a Tigers lineup with numerous targets littered throughout their lineup.

Detroit has admittedly been performing solidly against right-handed pitching overall across the last 30 days, but their strikeout totals have remained below average in that span. Across the whole season, their 100 wRC+ sits right at the league average, while their 23.8% K% sits 9th-worst. Tonight’s projected lineup features only 1 batter with a K% below 20% against right-handed pitching this season, and the bottom of the order for Detroit is particularly strikeout-prone. With his recent workload of 22 or more TBF in 4 straight starts, and this being the first game of a doubleheader, Jones should see his full leash on 6 days of rest.

Read our full Pittsburgh Pirates vs Detroit Tigers Game 1 predictions

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