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Best MLB Player Props for August 15: Cristian Javier Is Feeling the Heat in Miami

Cristian Javier Houston Astros New York Yankees
Cristian Javier 53 of the Houston Astros reacts during the third inning against the New York Yankees on August 3 2023 Adam HungerGetty ImagesAFP

Top sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for today’s baseball card.

Three games interest me: Astros vs. Marlins, White Sox vs. Cubs, and Tigers vs. Twins.

For your player props, I will recommend that you invest in the earned runs allowed “over” for Houston’s Cristian Javier and the earned runs allowed “Under” both for the Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks and Minnesota’s Bailey Ober.

Picks Summary:

  • Cristian Javier Over 2.5 Earned Runs -120 at Bet365
  • Kyle Hendricks Under 2.5 Earned Runs -140 at Bet365
  • Bailey Ober Under 2.5 Earned Runs -120 at Bet365

Houston Astros vs. Miami Marlins

Tuesday, August 15, 2023 – 06:40 PM EDT at LoanDepot Park


Cristian Javier (Houston Astros) 

Houston starts Cristian Javier tonight.

Bettors might be inclined to invest in Javier’s earned runs allowed “Under” because of his strong reputation. However, Javier derives his strong reputation from his performance in prior seasons.

This season is the worst one in Javier’s career. He is striking out fewer batters while allowing more hard contact than he ever had before. Moreover, his ERA is the highest it’s ever been.

Why “Over” Is Better Than “Under”

Still, bettors might decide to play the “Under” on Javier’s earned runs allowed after looking at how Miami, throughout the season, hits Javier’s pitches from righties. However, this handicapping strategy is misguided because it looks at the entirety of the season, emphasizing earlier months in the season that are irrelevant to how each team is currently performing.

Such a strategy is misguided in two respects. One, it overlooks how awful Javier has been recently. His ERA was 5.79 in June, 6.86 in July, and it’s 4.66 in August. If we look at his FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding), then we reach a similar conclusion, except that he’s much worse in August.

Since June, he has struggled against teams, such as Cleveland, that match up worse against him than Miami does throughout the season. But, two, such a strategy is misguided also because it overlooks how strong Miami has been most recently.

The Marlins enter tonight’s game having won five of their last six games. Since this good form began on August 8, they rank third with a .574 slugging rate against Javier’s pitches from righties. As for Javier’s pitches, he pretty much only throws two of them: his fastball and slider make up over 90 percent of his arsenal.

MLB Prop Pick: Cristian Javier Over 2.5 Earned Runs -120 at Bet365


Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs

Tuesday, August 15, 2023 – 08:05 PM EDT at Wrigley Field


Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs)

Kyle Hendricks starts for the Cubs tonight. Hendricks faced the White Sox on July 25.

In that start, Hendricks allowed three earned runs in 6.1 innings. While he allowed this many runs, a deeper statistical dive justifies added confidence in him today because it shows how well he actually performed.

He did a great job of inducing soft contact, and his FIP (like ERA but factors out-fielding) was 2.48.

Hendricks’ Arsenal 

Hendricks’ arsenal justifies further confidence in him. Primarily, he throws a changeup, sinker, and fastball. These three pitches combine to make up 96 percent of his arsenal. As heat maps show, he is a masterful plate-nibbler.

He excels at locating pitches along the borders of the strike zone where batters tend to do less damage. The changeup is Hendricks’ famous pitch. It’s justifiable of him to make this pitch the one he throws most often because it consistently gets results: opponents bat .161 and slug .268 against his changeup.

Among other virtues, Hendricks’ changeup possesses more spin than even his fastball. Spin makes it hard for batters to track the location of this pitch. Moreover, Hendricks ably buries this pitch.

He is much likelier to elevate his other pitches, which he can use to alter the batter’s eye level after or before throwing a low changeup.

White Sox Lineup 

One should expect Hendricks to thrive against the White Sox because they match up poorly against him. They rank 24th with a .408 slugging rate against Hendricks’ favorite pitches from righties.

Key White Sox batters struggle against him. For example, with Hendricks pitching, Yasmani Grandal is 2-for-17, and Yoan Moncada is 1-for-14.

MLB Prop Pick: Kyle Hendricks Under 2.5 Earned Runs -140 at Bet365


Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

Tuesday, August 15, 2023 – 07:40 PM EDT at Target Field


Bailey Ober (Minnesota Twins)

Bailey Ober starts for Minnesota tonight. It might seem like a no-brainer to invest in him allowing more than 2.5 earned runs tonight, because he just faced Detroit and, in that start, he allowed four earned runs.

However, it’s just the opposite. When facing the same team back-to-back, he tends to allow few runs in the rematch after allowing many runs in the first meeting or vice versa. For example, in 2021, he allowed four earned runs in Toronto before, in his next start, holding the same team to one earned run in 5.1 innings.

One should anyhow expect Ober to have a strong outing tonight because he actually performed well in his last start. Against the Tigers, he yielded a 2.87 FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding), which shows how well he actually performed.

He was merely unfortunate in that start to yield a high BABIP (batting average of balls in play) despite doing a good job of inducing soft contact and minimizing hard contact.

Ober’s Arsenal 

In descending order of frequency, Ober throws a fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball.

Heat maps illustrate his ability to place his pitches along the borders of the strike zone where batters tend to do less damage. His precision helps make sense of his ability to avoid walking batters.

One reason why he avoids walks easily is that he excels at getting batters to chase his pitches. To this end, he makes use of strong horizontal movement, especially in his changeup and slider. 

With his arsenal, he is primed to thrive against a Tigers lineup that ranks 28th with a .376 slugging rate against his pitches from righties.

MLB Prop Pick: Bailey Ober Under 2.5 Earned Runs -120 at Bet365


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