MLB Best Props 4/3: Stanton Ready to Bounce Back
Welcome to the third day of the MLB season! With 14 games tonight (only Nationals and Mets not in action), there’s plenty to choose from.
Giancarlo Stanton Over 0.5 Total Bases (-145)
After a few productive years with the Dodgers, Ross Stripling is coming off the worst season of his career with a 5.84 ERA / 4.95 xFIP over 49 IP in 2020. Some positive regression is projected, but the STEAMER system still suggests his FIP is likely to remain in the range of 4.50, below average for an MLB starter. On the other hand, Giancarlo Stanton started his season with the Yankees in a horrific way, going hitless in five at-bats with three strikeouts. However, Stanton has a much easier matchup today and hit well in Spring Training (.314 AVG over 42 plate appearances), suggesting his form should not be a concern.
Stanton should once again be in line for at least 4 at-bats today as he slots into the cleanup spot in a deep, aggressive lineup. With Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres bracketing his spot, he will certainly see pitches to hit, particularly as pitchers challenge him in his post-injury return. A career .268 hitter who is projected for a .250 batting average this season, I like Stanton to live up to his billing and deliver hard contact today as he continues to regain confidence at the plate. You can find our full preview for Yankees – Blue Jays here
Zach Plesac Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-135)
Plesac’s tremendous previous season demonstrated a capacity to pitch at a high level, as he improved practically every metric from 2019 to 2020. In this case, the most relevant improvement was his K/9, as he shot up from 6.85 to 9.27, likewise increasing his K% from 18.5% to 27.7%. Fortunately for Plesac, he faces arguably the worst team in baseball against RHP. In 2020, Detroit ranked last in the Majors with a 28.2 K% vs RHP, and Plesac recorded his season-high in strikeouts vs the Tigers (11 K over 7.2 IP).
While he won’t be in line for the same pitch count as that start, he should be in good shape even over a 5-6 inning outing. Detroit is running out an extremely similar lineup as last year, and there’s no reason Plesac shouldn’t dominate. Indians ace Shane Bieber struck out 12 over 95 pitches two days ago, demonstrating that manager Terry Francona won’t be shy about leaving his starter on the hill. You can find our full preview for Indians – Tigers here.