It’s a busy Monday around the major leagues with 13 games on the schedule, but note that weather could be a factor in a few of them. Here are four player prop picks from Monday with the best MLB odds from the top-rated books.
- Rangers’ deGrom Over 8.5 Strikeouts (-111)
- Rockies’ Freeland at +205 to Record a Win (+179)
- Rockies’ Blackmon Over 1.5 Total Bases (+105)
- Mariners’ Kelenic Under -0.5 Hits (-103)
Monday, April 17, 2023 – 07:40 PM EDT at Kauffman Stadium
This is the third road series of the early season for the surprising Texas Rangers, but the first time that big-ticket free-agent acquisition Jacob deGrom will take the hill outside of Arlington.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner perhaps was trying too hard to live up to that contract in his Rangers debut, allowing five runs and six hits over 3.2 innings vs. the Phillies. However, deGrom’s lineup helped him avoid the loss.
Back on Track
He has been much better the past two and faced these Royals last Tuesday in Texas, allowing two earned and seven hits with nine strikeouts over seven innings in a victory. deGrom threw eight 100+ mph pitches, including two in the seventh inning, his final frame of the game.
He has 27 strikeouts on the season, the most punchouts by a Texas pitcher in his first three starts as a Ranger, passing Rangers legend Nolan Ryan, who had 26 in his debut season in 1989.
“This guy has such great stuff, and I’ve talked about his pitchability… he just has this amazing command with the kind of stuff he has,” first-year Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You just don’t see it. He’s special. And that’s it. I just enjoy watching Jacob when he pitches.”
Kansas City’s lineup leaves much to be desired, as it has the third-highest strikeout rate in the league (26.2%) and the 28th-ranked slugging percentage (.344) this season. No Royals batter has good splits off deGrom.
MLB Pick: Jacob deGrom Over 8.5 Strikeouts (-115) at BetMGM
Monday, April 17, 2023 – 08:40 PM EDT at Coors Field
Many teams wouldn’t let their top pitches compete in the World Baseball Classic because they were worried about their guys getting amped up too early in the spring and getting injured. However, Rockies manager Bud Black relished the idea that left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland would use his experience at the World Baseball Classic as fuel for his 2023 season and a way to inspire teammates.
So far, the Denver native has done just that for his hometown team at 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA and 0.96 WHIP through three starts. He has recorded a quality outing in all three starts this season, with his two runs allowed coming off of solo home runs by the Cardinals’ Tommy Edman & Juan Yepez.
Freeland doesn’t strike out a ton of guys with 11 over 18.2 innings but allows his defense to do the work. Two of his three outings have come in the thin air of Denver.
Freeland is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA (20.1 IP, 4 ER) through his last four starts against Pittsburgh allowing:
- 12 hits
- 10 walks
- 19 strikeouts
Without the injured Oneil Cruz, the Bucs are struggling to score. They rank 23rd with 66 runs.
While Freeland is rising, 43-year-old Rich Hill is the oldest player in the majors and likely pitching his final season at 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA. He has given up 11 extra-base hits, six of them being homers, in 15 innings pitched.
Hill is also sitting at a .213 BABIP with a 32.1% hard-hit rate, which means he actually has been unlucky despite those lousy numbers.
We like Rox outfielder Charlie Blackmon tonight as he’s 3-for-9 career off Hill with a double and two homers.
MLB Pick: Kyle Freeland to Record a Win (+179) at Caesar Sportsbook
MLB Pick: Charlie Blackmon Over 1.5 Total Bases (+105) at BetMGM
Monday, April 17, 2023 – 09:40 PM EDT at T-Mobile Park
Sometimes a touted big-league rookie figures things out from the get-go and is dynamic in Year 1, like Seattle outfielder Julio Rodriguez was last year in winning 2022 AL Rookie of the Year.
Fellow outfielder Jarred Kelenic also was a very touted prospect once, but he didn’t come close to living up to the hype in 2021 as a rookie in batting .181 in 93 games or last year when he hit .141 in 54 games.
However, Kelenic is only 23 and is raking in the early going at .362 with four homers and eight RBIs. He ranks 93rd-percentile-or-better in Statcast numbers in average exit velocity, barrel and hard-hit rates, and both expected weighted on-base average and expected slugging percentage.
A Tough Challenge for Kelenic
Those four homers came over a four-game stretch that ended Sunday, but Kelenic extended his hitting streak to 10 games by driving in the game’s lone run as the Mariners eked out a 1-0 victory over the Rockies.
Kelenic and the M’s face a very tough pitcher today in former NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes. Kelenic hasn’t seen him. Burnes come off eight shutout innings vs. Arizona.
MLB Pick: Jarred Kelenic Under -0.5 Hits (-103) at Unibet