Best MLB player prop bet for today, 8/8: Rodriguez takes it to the Twins

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) smiles as he walks off the mound after completing eight shutout innings against the New York Mets at Comerica Park.
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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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With under 8 weeks remaining in the 2023 MLB regular season, it is becoming clearer who is truly contending for playoff spots and a chance at a World Series. Divisional tiebreakers are being set and teams are prepping for the final stretch run. Today’s 16-game MLB slate provides baseball fans with plenty of intriguing matchups, and there are plenty of angles to attack in the betting markets as a result. Today’s featured play involves the AL Central-leading Twins and their tough matchup. Get our MLB picks for every game today, but for now, let’s dive into my best MLB player prop bet of the day.

Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) over 5.5 strikeouts (+105)

Odds available at BetMGM sportsbook at time of initial post to Twitter. Playable to -120 odds.

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I took this same prop in Rodriguez’s last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates and unfortunately lost with the left-hander landing exactly on 5 strikeouts. A slow first inning hiked his pitch count and set him behind pace early, and 2 missed 3rd strikes from home plate umpire Roberto Ortiz at the end of his outing kept him under the 5.5 mark. Rodriguez pitched well, however, tossing 6 innings of 2-run ball with only 1 walk issued across 93 pitches. Today he once again has his outs recorded prop set at 17.5 with heavy juice towards the over, implying he works at least 6 innings. The Tigers have available bullpen arms but after getting only 8.2 combined innings from their last 2 starters they would love for a quality performance tonight from their ace.

The Minnesota Twins are a team that has struggled against left-handed pitching all season long. On the year they rank 26th in wOBA, 30th in AVG, 25th in K% and have a wRC+ of 90. Their play against left-handed pitching has improved of late, but this is due to some weak competition. The last 10 left-handed starters to face the Twins have been Joey Wentz twice, Cole Irvin twice, Koby Allard, Austin Cox, Ken Waldichuk, J.P. Sears, Ryan Yarbrough and Matthew Liberatore. That isn’t exactly the toughest gauntlet of southpaw pitching the league has to offer, and E-Rod is easily the best pitcher among that group. Even some of those pitchers found significant success in their matchups. Allard struck out 8 across 4.2 scoreless innings and Sears recorded 7 strikeouts across 6.1 quality innings.

Including switch-hitters, there is a chance the Twins have an all-right-handed lineup against Rodriguez today. While Rodriguez allows higher production to right-handers, those numbers are still well below the league average. A .637 OPS, .281 wOBA, .112 ISO and 19.1% K-BB% against RHB are all healthy marks. When facing right-handed batters, Rodriguez has a relatively balanced pitch mix, utilizing his main 3 pitches at least 23.9% of the time overall and using 4 pitches at least 16.7% of the time when having 2 strikes on his opponent. This helps keep batters off balance as they cannot afford to sit on one pitch. Most of his strikeouts have come from his 4-seam fastball this season, and Minnesota has the 2nd-highest K% in baseball against left-handed 4-seamers this year. His changeup, cutter and sinker all contribute to his total as well.

A 64.2% first-pitch strike rate helps E-Rod get ahead in counts with regularity, and his 29.7% chase rate sits in the 63rd percentile. He wins in the zone with a zone contact rate 1.8% below the league average as well. Minnesota is just middle of the pack in chase rate across the last 30 days but connect on those chases at the 6th-lowest rate. Their zone contact rate in that span also sits 6th-worst.

On the season, Minnesota leads MLB in looking strikeouts with 290, and 24.9% of their overall strikeouts are via a looking 3rd strike. That percentage sits 7th-highest in MLB and that could be problematic against Rodriguez who has the 10th-most looking strikeouts among pitchers this season. His deception and movement on his pitch repertoire helps him consistently gain these looking strikes, and his CSW% sits 59th percentile as a result. Needing just a strikeout per inning with his projected workload in this matchup and getting it at plus-money odds is something I cannot pass up on.

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Yordan Alvarez (HOU) over 1.5 Hits+Runs+RBIs (-130) (to win 0.75U)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -140 odds.

Grayson Rodriguez has undeniable talent, and his results since returning from the minor leagues have been nothing short of fantastic. With only 15 hits and 9 earned runs surrendered in his first 4 starts back, the highly touted right-hander seems to have found a groove at the MLB level. His struggles against left-handed batters have been noteworthy this season, allowing a .292 average, .585 SLG, and .418 wOBA, and the rookie has made a noticeable change in his approach against them of late. Two starts ago Grayson utilized his 4-seam fastball 62.1% of the time against left-handed batters with his changeup receiving 31% usage. His last outing saw 62.2% 4-seam usage and 32.4% changeup usage. Those marks are both up from his season average of 50% 4-seamers and 29.9% changeups against lefties. While this may have worked so far, those 2 pitches happen to be Yordan Alvarez’s favorite offerings to hit against right-handed pitching.

Alvarez is one of a few players with an argument as the most dangerous hitter in the sport when on his game. The left-handed slugger is potent against pitchers of either handedness, which gives him additional value in the latter stages with bullpen arms. That being said, I believe he will find his success early on in his matchup against Grayson Rodriguez. Yordan crushes both 4-seam fastballs and changeups from right-handed pitchers. The power threat is hitting .308 with a .316 xBA and .648 xSLG against right-handed 4-seam fastballs this season and last year he posted a .365 xBA and .717 xSLG across an even larger sample. Against right-handed changeups, he has a .320 average with a .371 xBA and .965 xSLG. Last season against right-handed changeups he posted a .391 xBA and .885 xSLG as well. Overall, Alvarez ranks 88th percentile in xBA with a 96th percentile hard-hit rate and 97th percentile barrel rate. He does draw walks and is capable of being pitched around from time to time, thus leading me to prefer the HRRBI angle over his total bases.

The Astros’ slugger has recorded 2 or more HRRBI in 61% of his games overall this season, but that rate jumps to 65% when on the road including 3 of his last 4 outings. He was batting 5th when he initially returned to the lineup but after receiving only 3 PA in their loss on Saturday, Yordan was back in the 3-hole for Sunday’s game. Today’s projected lineup has Yordan 3rd with Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman ahead of him, and Kyle Tucker directly behind him in the cleanup spot. This is the lineup I would prefer most as Altuve has been hot with at least 1 hit in 9 straight games, and Bregman is excellent at simply getting on base. Having Tucker behind Alvarez also limits the opposition’s ability to pitch around him.

Hitting conditions are also very favorable today in Baltimore, especially for left-handed bats. With temperatures in the mid-80s and 10-12 mph winds blowing out to right field, Ballpark Pal is projecting Camden Yards for a 12% boost in overall run scoring today. With Houston also being on the road they are guaranteed to bat all 9 innings, increasing the likelihood of that 4th and even 5th PA for Alvarez. With all things considered, I find this price to be too short and I will gladly back one of the sport’s better players.

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