Player props can be useful in a variety of ways -- from taking advantage of them straight up (to the tune of cold hard cash) to measuring a player's potential to produce in daily fantasy baseball on FanDuel. Here, we're going to focus on the former.
Please note that betting lines and our game projections may change throughout the day after this article is published. Also, the weather may be an issue in some locations.
Nick Castellanos To Hit a Home Run (+285)
Even though the Philadelphia Phillies disappointed everyone last night, they are in a good spot again today.
A matchup at Coors Field has the over/under sitting at 11.5 runs, and Coors is always a spot to look for some home runs. The Phillies didn't get it done last night, but we're going back to the well tonight with Nick Castellanos. Last season, he held a 142 wRC+, .285 ISO, 38.4% fly-ball rate, and 45.5 % hard-contact rate versus left-handed pitchers. His power is well-documented, and any deep fly ball could turn into a home run at Coors Field.
He's going up against Kyle Freeland, who struggled last season versus right-handed hitters to the tune of 1.66 HR/9 allowed, along with a 36.9% fly-ball rate and 34.6% hard-contact rate. These numbers are ever so slightly lower than I'd ideally like to see, but it's still a strong matchup for Castellanos.
Max Kepler To Hit a Home Run (+660)
This one is a bit of a dart throw, so be advised.
Max Kepler's home run odds (+660) are obviously massive. While it may seem like a long shot, the underlying stats are there, and he has piqued my interest. Kepler is basically only in play when he's going up against a righty. That's a split where we saw him excel last season with a .238 ISO, 114 wRC+, 44.9% fly-ball rate, and 39.6% hard-contact rate. He's checking the boxes I look for in a hitter, so that part is done.
When it comes to the pitcher, he's going up against Carlos Hernandez, who surrendered a 5.19 xFIP and 41.5% fly-ball rate to lefties last season -- but allowed just 0.67 HR/9 and a 6.8% HR/FB ratio. The latter two numbers are the reason I'm intrigued here. Last season, the league average for all pitchers versus left-handed hitters was 1.20 HR/9 and a 13.1% HR/FB ratio.
Hernandez outperformed both those marks by a pretty significant margin, and I don't think that's sustainable -- unless he's the greatest pitcher in the league and on his way to a CY Young award. I'll side with regression catching up to him.
J.D. Martinez 2+ Total Bases (+100)
The Boston Red Sox have a strong 4.82 implied total tonight, and they are a spot to look for some offense.
Whenever teams have high implied run totals, I look to them for some player props. It's simple -- they are expected to score runs, and their player props are worth considering. That is why I am on J.D. Martinez, who has a solid 113 wRC+, .206 ISO, 45.3% fly-ball rate, and 19.9% strikeout rate versus lefties last season. He has power, he doesn't waste chances at the plate, and he should be in the middle of the lineup.
Yusei Kikuchi is on the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays, and he finished last season with a .357 wOBA allowed to righties, along with a 4.02 xFIP, 1.69 HR/9, and a 10.0% walk rate. I'm buying into the Red Sox offense tonight and looking for Martinez to cash this prop.