Monkey Knife Fight Home Run Derby:
Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners
It is only a short five-game slate tonight, but there is plenty of home run opportunity in the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners game. Erik Swanson will take the mound for the Mariners, and he currently allows 2.2 HR/9. His strikeout rate is low, and the weather in Seattle, despite being cold, is decent. Michael Pineda will take the mound for the Twins. He is currently allowing 1.9 HR/9, so this game is expected to be rather high-scoring. The O/U is set at 9.5 runs, and the Vegas money line is nearly even, suggesting an implied run total of around 4.8 runs per team. Being able to use any player in this game, rather than just a subset of players from a specific team, makes a big difference. Two Twins and one Mariner seems like the perfect combination. First, Eddie Rosario just makes sense. He enters tonight’s contest with a 0.085 ISO differential against right-handed pitching, and he is averaging 0.049 HR/AB. In his last 10 games, he is hitting well north of .300 with two home runs and nine RBIs. As an added bonus, 8 of his 13 home runs come away from home. Despite a rather low average batted ball distance (south of 200 feet), Rosario, in the last 15 days, has kept both his fly ball and hard hit rates over 40%. Next, move down the batting order to Jason Castro. Castro has great positive power splits against right-handed pitching, entering tonight’s contest with 0.4 ISO and 0.193 wOBA differentials. His sample size is small, which is inflating his numbers, but to suggest that he doesn’t perform much better against right-handed pitching would be insane. He is hitting 0.083 HR/AB, trumped only by Dan Vogelbach at 0.088. Vogelbach’s advanced metrics are just too insecure to consider rostering him tonight. Castro, in his last 5 games, has an average batted ball distance of 288 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 102 MPH, a fly ball rate over 40%, and a hard hit rate over 80%! He has 5 home runs in his last 10 games. Do not avoid him. Finally, Edwin Encarnacion makes an interesting option in the opposite dugout. He has a .101 ISO differential against right-handed pitching, despite being right-handed, and he is hitting 0.069 HR/AB. In the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 220 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 88 MPH, and a fly ball rate approaching 60%. Unfortunately, his hard hit rate is under 30%, but not every metric needs to be perfect. Encarnacion has 3 home runs in his last 10 games, despite a .171 batting average. Expect this game tonight to be a fireworks display, and hopefully one of these three batters are lighting the string.
Recommended Batters: Eddie Rosario, Jason Castro, Edwin Encarnacion
Home Run Prop Bet:
Jason Castro (TBA) – Minnesota Twins – C
It is rare that a catcher has close odds to hit a home run. The odds tonight should be rather wide, and Castro has proven his power against right-handed pitching. He enters tonight with nearly perfect advanced metrics (see above section), and he makes a lot of sense as a solo bet on MyBookie.
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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