Monkey Knife Fight Home Run Derby:
St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
Selecting the Atlanta Braves as the team to target tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals and Michael Wacha is about one player: Ronald Acuna. Before taking a look at his recent advanced metrics, however, let’s analyze Wacha. He is currently allowing 1.5 HR/9, and this game has an O/U set at 9.5 total runs. The Braves are -132 favorites, suggesting an implied run total of 5.1. In his last 2 games, Wacha has surrendered an average batted ball distance of 211 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 96 MPH, a fly ball rate over 30%, and a hard hit rate of 45%. His speed is down minorly, and the Braves should take advantage of this matchup. Now, back to Acuna. He is hitting 0.061 HR/AB from the leadoff position. Most importantly, however, in the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 274 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 99 MPH, a fly ball rate of 45%, and a hard hit rate over 60%. His advanced metrics are as good as it gets, and that means the home runs should start flying off his bat. Acuna is an absolute lock. Dansby Swanson also makes for an interesting potential home run candidate. He is hitting 0.035 HR/AB, and he enters tonight’s contest with minor positive power splits against right-handed pitching. In the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 235 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 94 MPH, a fly ball rate just under 40%, and a hard hit rate of 55%. Swanson is not typically seen as a home run threat, but he does have six on the season. There is at least some power in his bat, and his advanced metrics are solid. Finally, skip down to Brian McCann. McCann is hitting 0.046 HR/AB, and he enters tonight’s game with great 0.181 ISO and 0.219 wOBA differentials against right-handed pitching. The powerful left-handed catcher is going to go overlooked by most, but he has a serious chance to belt one out of Atlanta tonight. In the last 15 days, which happens to only be 8 games for McCann, he has an average batted ball distance of 218 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of over 90 MPH, a 36% fly ball rate, and a hard hit rate just under 50%. Unfortunately, he will likely miss out on one time through the lineup considering his position in the batting order, but his positive power splits are worth it.
Recommended Batters: Ronald Acuna, Dansby Swanson, Brian McCann
Home Run Prop Bet:
Ronald Acuna (TBA) – Atlanta Braves – OF
As indicated in the above section, Ronald Acuna is the main reason the Atlanta Braves are being recommended tonight. His advanced metrics are one-of-a-kind right now.
This section will only be filled out if PrizePicks offers one of the above-mentioned home run prop bet recommendations. Unfortunately, they do not for tonight’s slate (as of time of posting).
*Odds are from MyBookie. They continually update available prop bets on their prop builder, so odds should be released closer to the start of the contests. If you do not see the recommended player available, he will likely become available later in the day, and odds will be updated in the article when that happens.*
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