Best MLB prop bet for today, 9/12: Joe Ryan to rack up the strikeouts

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan (41) throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Target Field.
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Despite no scheduled daytime games today MLB fans and bettors will be excited to see a 17-game slate on tap including 2 doubleheader matchups. With heated playoff races in both leagues, and teams attempting to find their footing before the final stretch run, these games are of extreme importance. Joe Ryan finds himself in a large game tonight, and he is the focus of our best player prop for today. Let’s dive in!

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Joe Ryan (MIN) over 6.5 strikeouts (-110)

Odds widely available at time of initial post to Twitter. Playable to -125 odds.

Joe Ryan was a 7th-round pick in the 2018 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but at the 2021 trade deadline, Minnesota acquired their talented pitcher in a trade revolving around Nelson Cruz. Since then, Ryan has been a mainstay in the Twins rotation, and this season specifically he has taken another leap in his progression. Ryan overhauled his pitch mix in the offseason, ditching his changeup and curveball entirely while dropping his slider usage by roughly 13%. He has replaced those pitches with a sweeper and splitter, 2 pitches that play very well off his electric 4-seam fastball. That 4-seamer is still used on 57.4% of Ryan’s pitches, and the pitch has accounted for 99 of his 169 strikeouts this season. Against right-handed 4-seam fastballs on the season, the Rays rank 27th in K% at 25.4%. In the last 30 days against right-handed 4-seamers, they are dead last with a 31.2% K% across 221 PA.

Ryan’s splitter is a tool used against either-handedness while his sweeper is primarily used against right-handed batters. He does have a higher K% against right-handed batters as a result, but his ability to strikeout either-handedness should be huge against what is expected to be a balanced lineup. The projected lineup shows 7 plus strikeout targets, and the 2 lower K% bats in the order bat from the right side, giving Ryan a boost. Tampa Bay has a talented offense capable of scoring runs in any matchup, but their lack of plate discipline and ability to make contact doesn’t line up well for this matchup.

In the last 30 days, the Rays are chasing on pitches outside of the zone at the 5th-highest clip while connecting on those swings at the 11th-lowest mark. Their in-zone contact rate ranks 28th in that span while their 13.2% swinging strike rate is the 4th worst mark in the league. Ryan’s 29.1% strikeout rate is the product of an 86th percentile swinging strike rate, and 91st percentile chase rate. Opponents connect on those chases at an above-average rate, but with how often Ryan gets ahead in counts the chances should be there. The Rays have allowed some massive strikeout totals of late and seeing Ryan’s pitch count expand in his last start was an encouraging sign moving forward. Tampa Bay has just 7 combined PA against Ryan from Harold Ramirez and Isaac Paredes who have 4 strikeouts in that span. With 94 punchouts in 71.2 home innings so far, clearing this mark in 10/12 starts, I expect Ryan to once again surpass his strikeout total in this matchup.

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