The 2019 MLB season is quickly nearing and that means it is season long player prop time! For the 2018 season, I logged winners on 44 out of 67 (66%) season long player prop bets on their over/under marks in statistical categories. Those bets are undocumented outside of my own records, but those who know me well know I am an honest gentleman, and they also know I have a bit of a knack on this baseball thing.
Laying down some of that hard-earned cheddar to have to wait over six months to see any potential return on these season long props can be quite a drawn out process, but hey, baseball is a drawn out sport that is not for the impatient or for the thrill seeking adrenaline junkies. So if you are one that can truly appreciate the thought, deliberation, skill, and strategy that goes into this game that most grown men can only dream of playing for a living, then you should have no problem waiting the six plus months to see your bankroll additions! But if you are one that thinks baseball is “boring,” a.) I don’t necessarily blame you and b.) then you can still read the analysis below, bet it and forget it, don’t watch a single at-bat all season, then login to your account on September 30 for a pleasant monetary surprise.
These picks are based off my personal hand-crafted statistical player projections.
***Unless noted otherwise, all lines are from MyBookie.
Like with wins, saves are certainly not the most easy projected stat. In fact, there’s so much volatility within the closer role that we can only realistically predict that 10 pitchers who start the season as a team’s closer will hold that role all season long. With more and more teams shifting to the thought process to use your best reliever in the highest leverage situation, saves have become even harder to projection in the recent years. So you’re not going to see many likes and leans in this post, but there are a couple that I think are worth it.
So let’s get caught looking at these props!
Blake Treinen: Over 32.5 saves (-130) – Treinen was my favorite relief pitcher to target in fantasy drafts last season given his draft day cost mixed with the upside I thought he had, and he certainly did not disappoint. He notched 38 saves, often while pitching multiple innings (8 saves of more than 1 inning pitched). Armed with a real nasty sinker and slider combo at high velocities, Treinen should continue to be one of the more difficult closers to hit. His overall stats will regress naturally, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a solid bet for over 32.5 saves here. *Sidenote: this line is at 27.5 saves on Bovada, which is a steal compared to this MyBookie line. But I liked it at 32.5, so that’s what I am posting here officially. The Backwards K projection: 37 saves
Kirby Yates: Over 27.5 saves (-130) – From 2017 to 2018, Yates essentially traded in his changeup for a split-finger pitch that allowed him to still have the same swing and miss stuff, but the big improvement was it helped him to keep the ball in the yard more as his home runs allowed went down from 12 to 6. After Brad Hand was traded to the Indians, Yates stepped in as closer for the Padres and looked every bit of the part. With no real threat behind him, Yates should be able to hold on to the role and be rather reliable. A trade is a possibility at some point, but with his salary affordable and still under club control for one more season, it may be difficult for a team to meet the possible demands of the Padres should Yates continue to put up great performances. The Backwards K projection: 32 saves
Raisel Iglesias: Under 31.5 saves (-115) – Iglesias has certainly been a solid reliever for the Reds and he has done admirably in save situations. However, there are a couple things working against him here that have me liking the unders. One of those things is that he is outperforming what his peripheral numbers suggest, so we could see him post an ERA above 3.00 for the first time as as a full-time reliever. Secondly, his new manager has already stated that he will not use Iglesias as a traditional closer, but rather he will not be afraid to insert him into the 7th or 8th innings if the situation calls for it. This is basically how he was also used in the previous two years and he was only able to post 30 saves last year and 28 saves the year before, but I get the feeling that Iglesias in the 7th and 8th innings will be even more commonplace now. The Backwards K projection: 26 saves
Felipe Vazquez: Over 33.5 saves (-105) – Vazquez has been rock solid since assuming the closer’s role in the midst of the 2017 season. There are no indicators in any aspect of his profile that really indicate that he is due for any real decline, and he pitches for a team that I think should provide him an ample amount of save opportunities — the Pirates offense isn’t going to blow teams out often and the starting rotation is good enough to get by and keep games close. Bovada has this line much lower at 30.5, in which case that is a definite LIKE for me. The Backwards K projection: 37 saves