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MLB Player Props for July 5: Brave New World

The final Wednesday slate before the MLB All-Star break features several interesting matchups. But there is one in particular that jumps out at me like a giant neon sign. So for the first time, all three of my MLB player props will focus on the same game. There is risk in such a strategy, so adjust any or all plays as you see fit. Because all three MLB player props are in the same game, a Same Game Parlay is an option. If all three props hit, the payout would be roughly +450 or so. That means a $10 wager would payout about $45, for a total return of $55. This price will likely fluctuate throughout the day, so keep that in mind. This strategy makes sense in my opinion for these bets because I believe there is some correlation between all three player props.

I must also mention that FanDuel does NOT void bets on total base props if a player begins the game on the bench but enters the game and records at least one plate appearance. I do not think that will be an issue with the players listed below. However, I have been burned before, so I want everyone reading this to be aware. Having said that, the FanDuel prices are significantly better than the rest of the sportsbooks as of the time of this writing. Make sure you shop for the best prices whenever applicable.

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MLB Player Props for July 5

Cal Quantrill UNDER 3.5 Strikeouts (-116, FanDuel)

Braves @ Guardians Props on FanDuel Sportsbook

It does not seem overly difficult for a pitcher in this era to strike out four hitters. However, there are no indicators that I could find that would suggest Cal Quantrill is up to the task. Quantrill is quite possibly the worst strikeout pitcher in Major League Baseball. This year, he has a 12.3 percent strikeout rate and a 21.0 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) rate. Of the 66 pitchers who have thrown enough innings to qualify, the lowest strikeout rate is 14.9 percent, and the lowest CSW rate is 23.1 percent. By those two measures, Quantrill is 10-20 percent worse than the worst in the game at punching out their opponents. Quantrill has struck out four or more in only three of 12 starts this season.

Quantrill does not qualify because he just spent a month on the Injured List due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder. His first start back was last Friday. In that game, he threw 74 pitches. I am not sure his workload on Wednesday will be significantly more than in his last start. He could still be on a relatively short leash as he continues to work his way back. To be honest, I am not sure how much his workload will even matter considering his matchup.

Oh, did I not mention he is facing the Atlanta Braves? The same team that is routinely bludgeoning opposing pitchers, particularly of late. Over the past 30 days, they lead the world with a 149 wRC+. They also have the league’s lowest strikeout rate at 17.8 percent during that stretch. Lifetime, Quantrill has fanned four of 31 Atlanta hitters, and even that is a little skewed. He struck out Charlie Culberson in both of their head-to-head matchups and Kevin Millar twice in four plate appearances. Neither one of those players has started a game for Atlanta since the middle of June. (Let’s hope that remains the case after Wednesday.) Quantrill has zero strikeouts in 20 plate appearances against the hitters most likely to be in Atlanta’s lineup. As long as we do not see any lineup shenanigans, this is my favorite MLB player prop for Wednesday’s slate.

Ronald Acuna Jr. OVER 1.5 Total Bases (-125, FanDuel)
Austin Riley OVER 1.5 Total Bases (-115, FanDuel)

Braves @ Guardians Props on FanDuel Sportsbook

The matchup is so nice that I am playing it twice. Or thrice, I suppose, if you count the Quantrill player prop. First, I will begin with Ronald Acuna Jr, who is simply on another level. He enters Wednesday’s game on a 15-game hitting streak. Acuna Jr. has two or more total bases in eight of his last 11 games. And as great as he has been this year, he is even better in the splits relative to Wednesday’s matchup. Acuna Jr. is slugging .600 versus righties and .647 on the road. When facing a righty on the road, that number increases to .695. Riley has not been as consistent or as dominant as Acuna. But then again, who has? Both players profile extremely well against the lackluster arsenal that Cal Quantrill possesses.

Quantrill throws a sinker or cutter 81 percent of the time to right-handed hitters. His sinker has an xBA allowed of .310 and an xSLG allowed of .563. The cutter is not much better, with a .303 xBA and .467 xSLG. Acuna has an xBA of .331 against sinkers and .330 versus cutters, while Riley posts a .342 xBA on sinkers and a .372 mark on cutters. In fairness to Quantrill, his curveball (11 percent usage) has had good results (.218 xBA, .392 xSLG). However, it has significantly less horizontal (-52 percent break versus average) and vertical (-15 percent) movement. So, I wonder if he hasn’t been a bit lucky there. Also, both Braves hitters destroy curveballs. Riley boasts a .369 xBA and .607 xSLG against curveballs. Not to be outdone, Acuna has an xBA of .392 and xSLG of .764 versus curveballs.

In addition, Quantrill has walked just three of 158 right-handed batters faced this season. That should only enhance the chances that Acuna and Riley will have to accumulate total bases. Quantrill has done a good job limiting extra-base hits, as he has only allowed 21 in 62.2 innings this year. But the Braves are a different beast. Over the last 30 days, they have a team slugging percentage of .581. No other team has posted a mark higher than .483. I think Atlanta will continue their hot hitting on Wednesday, and I expect Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley to lead the charge. I am picking both Braves to record at least two total bases in this game.

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