Best player props for Tuesday's MLB slate: McKenzie mows 'em down

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Andrew Ortenberg

MLB

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

Major League Baseball is back in full swing after the break, and we have a great slate on Tuesday. I’ve got two player props which I really like that I’m going to discuss here. One of them centers on Indians rookie Triston McKenzie continuing his recent success. Don’t forget to first check what our MLB analysts have backed with side and total picks for all 15 games today.

Tarik Skubal over 6.5 strikeouts (+128)

Line available at publishing at FanDuel

Before we get to McKenzie, there’s a prop I like a lot in this Rangers-Tigers game. Getting this much plus-money with the over on Skubal is a steal. The young lefty has some nasty stuff, as evidenced by his 105 strikeouts in 88.2 innings.

Skubal is only 23, so he understandably struggled a bit in April as he was still getting acclimated. He only had 18 strikeouts in 22 innings that month. Since then, he’s racked up a whopping 87 in 66.2 He has recorded at least seven strikeouts in six of his past 10 outings. The four starts he didn’t get there in that span were mostly games where he struggled or got hit hard. Against an anemic Rangers offense that has now scored a total of three runs in their past five games, he should be just fine.

As long as we get 6.0 innings here I would be very surprised if he doesn’t cash this, and Texas isn’t chasing anybody early these days. Skubal also pitches much better at home, with a 3.72 ERA in Detroit compared to a 5.45 ERA on the road, which also helps his chances of pitching deeper into this game.

Triston McKenzie over 4.5 strikeouts (-106)

Line available at publishing at FanDuel

I’m somewhat shocked this line is as low as it is. McKenzie’s ERA also doesn’t look great, but he’s a 23-year-old who had a 3.24 ERA in eight appearances last year. It’s not a question as to whether he has great stuff, he has 110 strikeouts in 82.2 career big-league innings.

He’s had some rough starts, but even those don’t stop him from piling up Ks. For example, he had a disastrous start back in May where he lasted only two innings. Even then he still got to six strikeouts by sitting down every batter he got out. In 10 of his 12 outings this year he has recorded at least five strikeouts, so I couldn’t imagine taking the under here just because he’s facing the Astros. In one of those two outings where he didn’t get to five, McKenzie pitched less than an inning.

Oddsmakers appear to have set this line this low just because Houston hasn’t struck out much this season. But more recently, over the past 15 days, the Astros have actually struck out the third-most times of any team in the league.

In their past 10 games they’ve struck out 94 times. In McKenzie’s last start he was nearly flawless, pitching seven innings of one-hit ball against the Royals and striking out nine. Two starts before that he faced a tough White Sox lineup and struck out 10 even while getting hit hard.

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