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Best MLB Player Props for August 9: No Total Is Too Low for Max Fried

Max Fried Atlanta Braves Washington Nationals
Starting pitcher Max Fried 54 of the Atlanta Braves works the first inning against the Washington Nationals Patrick SmithGetty ImagesAFP

Let’s look into our top player props for the day, featuring the Braves vs. Pirates, Blue Jays vs. Guardians, and Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks games.

For your best bets, I will recommend that you invest in strong pitching performances from Atlanta’s Max Fried, Toronto’s Kevin Gausman, and L.A.’s Bobby Miller.

Picks Summary

  • Max Fried Under 1.5 Earned Runs (+135) at Bet365
  • Kevin Gausman Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-145) at Bet365
  • Bobby Miller Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365

Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Wednesday, August 9, 2023 – 07:05 PM EDT at PNC Park


Max Fried (Atlanta Braves)

Atlanta starts Max Fried today.

Fried is reliable no matter his opponent: out of six starts this year, he’s allowed over one run in one start. In another start, he allowed one run, and he allowed zero runs in his other starts.

It’s not like he’s simply benefiting from soft competition. For example, he locked down a Cubs lineup that ranks fifth in runs per game as well as an Astros lineup that ranks tenth in runs per game.

Fried’s Arsenal

In descending order of frequency, Fried throws a fastball, curveball, changeup, slider, sinker, and sweeper.

He is so reliable because his stuff boasts a lot of quality in itself. For example, his curveball places in the 88th percentile in spin. The extreme spin of his curveball makes it hard for batters to track its location.

Moreover, as heat maps show, he ably buries this pitch low in the strike zone where batters tend to do less damage.

This pitch’s lack of velocity is also impressive – it averages 74 mph. Because it is such a slow pitch, he plays it uniquely well off his fastball, which averages 93.8 mph. This is not very fast, but Fried uses his curveball to make the low velocity of his fastball into a strength.

It is difficult for batters to go from dealing with a 74 mph pitch to a 93.8 mph pitch. After facing Fried’s curveball, batters will find that his fastball feels fast.

Pirates Lineup

Fried’s outlook today is particularly solid because, after mastering strong lineups, he gets the lowly Pirates.

Pittsburgh ranks 25th with a .378 slugging rate against Fried’s pitches from lefties.

MLB Pick: Max Fried Under 1.5 Earned Runs (+135) at Bet365


Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Guardians

Wednesday, August 9, 2023 – 07:10 PM EDT at Progressive Field


Kevin Gausman (Toronto Blue Jays)

Kevin Gausman starts for Toronto tonight.

Gausman’s last start creates a misleadingly negative impression of his current form. While he did allow three runs, he was unfortunate to yield a .571 BABIP (batting average of balls in play). This BABIP was unfortunately high in view of the excellent job he did at minimizing hard contact.

His 1.89 FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding) reflects how well he actually performed. He has now yielded a FIP below 2.00 in four of his last six starts, indicating that his current form is strong.

Gausman’s Arsenal

Pretty much exclusively, Gausman throws a fastball, split-finger, and slider.

Gausman’s fastball and split-finger distinguish themselves with their strong horizontal movement. He plays these pitches effectively off each other by changing their location: whereas he likes to elevate his fastball, he’ll bury his splitter.

Batters will often think they perceive a fastball approaching them, but then it will turn out to be a split-finger, which drops to a location low within or beneath the strike zone where batters tend to do less damage.

Gausman’s ability to place pitches along the borders of the strike zone, evident also in his slider, is a testament to his strong command. He places in the 79th percentile in walk rate.

Moreover, it is hard to hit a home run off him. These stats show that he rarely hands out gifts.

Cleveland’s Lineup

Given its current form and what it’s done all season, Cleveland will need gifts, but it won’t get any from Gausman.

The Guardians were hot in parts of July but have visibly cooled off. Since July 28, they’ve exceeded three runs in three of eleven games. Most recently, they’ve scored a combined total of five runs in their past three games.

Their outlook tonight is particularly bad because they rank 28th with a .372 slugging rate against Gausman’s pitches from righties.

MLB Pick: Kevin Gausman Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-145) at Bet365


Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Wednesday, August 9, 2023 – 09:40 PM EDT at Chase Field


Bobby Miller (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Bobby Miller starts for the Dodgers tonight.

Miller is a road warrior: whereas his ERA is 5.85 at home, it is 2.61 on the road. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his last six road starts.

This consistency makes him reliable in general – he’s even victimized the Braves in their ballpark.

Miller’s Arsenal

One should expect Miller to succeed given the quality in his arsenal. He throws a healthy mix of pitches, featuring not a single one more than 25.6% of the time.

In descending order of frequency, he primarily throws a sinker, fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup, and he rarely mixes in a sweeper. Miller’s pitches are unique for different reasons. For example, his fastball places in the 98th percentile in velocity. Moreover, his curveball places in the 89th percentile in spin.

These numbers indicate that his pitches are relatively difficult to hit. But it’s also not just about velocity and spin. Albeit likely not to the same extent as Miller, professional pitchers tend to have some good stuff.

Miller is unique because he can also locate his pitches well: heat maps show his ability to place pitches along the borders of the strike zone where batters tend to do greater damage. In being so precise, Miller utilizes the movement of his pitches to toy with the batter’s perception of whether they’ll land for a ball or a strike.

Unsure of this, batters will often end up making weak contact with pitches that might barely have landed in the strike zone.

Arizona’s Lineup

Hitting-wise, the Diamondbacks continue to struggle. Since July 28, they’ve exceeded three runs in three of eleven games.

In all three of those games, they scored four runs. And one of those four-run outputs required extra innings. Since July 28, Arizona is slugging .299 against Miller’s pitches from righties.

MLB Pick: Bobby Miller Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365


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