Baseball’s All Star break is mercifully over, and we’re back to the grind, looking at the best MLB props for Friday night’s slate (7/12).
Let’s break down the strikeout prop lines for two starting pitchers on the opposite end of the spectrum. The red-hot Gerrit Cole faces the Rangers, while Aaron Sanchez looks to get his season back on track against the Bronx Bombers.
Through the first half of the season, our MLB K Props package is hitting at a nice and tidy 59%. There’s still plenty of seasons left, so with little else to bet on this summer, there’s never been a better time to get on board.
Astros RHP Gerrit Cole
Over 8.5 Ks (-114)
Baseball’s top strikeout pitcher by Ks/IP meets the league’s worst strikeout team.
Cole’s 1.46 strikeouts-per-inning mark is unmatched, while the Texas Rangers are pushing double-digits in Ks/game with 9.98 on the season and a whopping 13/game over their last three.
Cole is also second in MLB behind Max Scherzer in total strikeouts with 170, and his per-game average of 8.95 is solidly ahead of the number we need to beat tonight. He’s been throwing smoke of late, even as he’s going deep in games — Cole has eclipsed 100 pitches in four of his last six starts.
Cole’s kRate and K/9 are sitting at a buff 35.5% and 12.8, respectively, on the season. And owning the Rangers has been a part of that — in three starts versus Texas this year, Cole is averaging 9.7 Ks, including a 12-K outing in their last meeting.
We don’t usually put too much stock in team batter vs pitcher numbers, simply because the sample sizes are often small. However, in a decent sample size of 114 plate appearances, Cole has held the Rangers to a .221 BA, .163 ISO, while striking them out at a 38.6% clip.
The Astros are also -210 favorites tonight, always a nice box to tick when chasing the over on a pitcher.
I’d probably set this number at 9 considering the opponent, so I’ll take the value at 8.5 and hope Cole can stay hot. I’d pay up to -125 at this line.
Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez
Under 3.5 Ks (+105)
I’d probably pass on this prop if the vig was at the usual -114, but getting plus odds on one of baseball’s coldest and most toothless pitchers against the Yankees is too tempting.
Sanchez posted his best start in weeks in his last outing before the All Star break, hitting 100 pitches and allowing just 2 earned runs against the Orioles while striking out 4. But Baltimore’s lineup is not much of a test, and Sanchez has been a disaster of late. In 10 starts since mid-May, he’s 1-9 with:
- An 8.80 ERA
- .326 BA
- .500 SLG%
- A 3.1 strikeout/game average
The Yankees do strike out quite a bit – 8.92/game, 18th in MLB – but that has a lot to do with how aggressive they are. The Bronx Bombers rank first (tied) in runs per game (5.72), fourth in home runs, and fourth in SLG% (.464).
They’re capable of making it a short night for any starting pitcher, especially right-handers, against whom they’re hitting for a bloated .371 wOBA and .242 ISO.
While it’s always a little nerve-wracking taking the under on such a small number, I like the price, especially considering all the ominous signs for Sanchez tonight.