MLB PrizePix Predictions, Player Picks July 21: Shohei Ohtani

Welcome again to another Friday breakdown of the MLB PrizePicks board.

As usual, all 30 teams are in action today, with only the Cardinals-Cubs game starting before 6:40 p.m. ET.

Let’s go straight to some of the places I’m targeting for my card making today.

seth lugo
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Pitcher strikeouts over Seth Lugo 5.0

Lugo has had a great year in his first full season as the starting pitcher for the Padres.

He has recorded at least five strikeouts in 10 of his 13 starts this season, including his last three starts.

His strikeout rate sits around the league-average of 22.2%.

Today, he gets one of the best possible matches for a right-handed starting pitcher when he takes on the Tigers.

Detroit has the fifth-highest strikeout rate in MLB versus righties this season, and they rank second-worst in both WOBA (.287) and WRC+ (82).

Lugo has thrown over 90 pitches in each of his last three starts and he should have enough leash to get the job done for us tonight.

Tony Gonsolin less than 4.0 pitcher strikeouts

Gonsolin has one of the shortest leases of any regular starting pitcher in the league.

Despite going 5 innings and allowing only 1 run in his last outing, he suffered a blowout after only 54 pitches.

Manager Dave Roberts blamed the quick hook for Gonsolin on “humidity” and the fact that he had a “fresh ‘pen” in that particular game.

These moves are nothing new to Roberts and the way he handles his pitching staff, especially with Gonsolin, who has averaged just 68 pitches per start in his last 4 starts.

Tony Gonsolin
Tony Gonsolin
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Fast forward to today’s matchup, where Gonsolin will face one of baseball’s best offenses in Arlington, Texas.

The Rangers own the league’s top wRC+ with 122, and they also rank second in wOBA with .346.

Gonsolin has failed to record at least 4 strikeouts in three of his last four starts.

Tough matchups, the manager’s quick hooks for his starting pitchers, and a strikeout rate below 19% are all working against Gonsolin today.

Johan Oviedo less than 6.0 pitcher strikeouts

Oviedo has been around league average as a starting pitcher this season.

He has a 4.53 ERA which is supported by underlying metrics like XFIP (4.56) and SIERA (4.63).

However, his strikeout rate is slightly below the league average at 20.4%.

That projection seems a bit stretched considering he was excellent 10-strikeouts his last outing against the Giants.

Oviedo has thrown more than 6 strikeouts in only two of his other 18 starts this season.

Today, he will face the Angels, who have had excellent pitching against right-handers this season.

He ranks fifth in the league in both wOBA (.336) and wRC+ (113) versus righties.

Their projected lineup includes only two hitters who have struck out more than 25% of the time this season.

I think that Oviedo has lagged behind this projection today.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani strikes out pitchers over 7.5

Ohtani is coming off another phenomenal season both at the dish and on the mound.

We’ll focus on the pitching side today as Ohtani makes his 19th start of the season against the Pirates.

His 32.2% strikeout rate ranks third best in the league among qualified starting pitchers.

He has recorded more than 7.5 strikeouts in 9 of his 18 games this season.

Two of the other nine finished prematurely (one due to blisters and the other due to a rain delay).

Betting on Baseball?

Ohtani gets a great matchup today as the Pirates rank fifth-worst in both wOBA (.300) and wRC+ (86) against right-handed pitching in the league.

He also has one of the longest leashes in baseball.

If we remove the two starts that ended for reasons beyond his control, he averaged exactly 100 pitches per start.

He should be able to dominate this weak Pirates attack and average over 7.5 strikeouts today.

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