Friday night is filled with MLB games. As a result, there’s a vast pool of pick ’em options to choose from at Underdog Fantasy tonight. The forthcoming five picks stood out as the most attractive. The suggested choices lean toward the pitchers, with three strikeout props. However, the hitters aren’t entirely left out since two props for total bases look good.
Friday’s Top Underdog Fantasy MLB Pick ‘Em Picks
Rich Hill: 4.5 Strikeouts – Lower
Somehow, Hill has 8.40 K/9 and a 21.6 K% in 12 starts this season. Yet, his strikeouts are coming via an unsustainable formula. Hill is relying almost entirely on called strikes. According to FanGraphs, the 43-year-old lefty has a 7.8 SwStr%, much lower than the league average (11.0 SwStr%).
He’ll struggle to strike out many batters tonight in a challenging matchup against the Mets. The Mets have the fifth-lowest strikeout rate against lefties (20.0 K%) this year, the 11th-lowest strikeout rate (21.7 K%) in the previous 14 days and the lowest strikeout rate (18.0 K%) on the road in 2023.
Tyler Wells: 6.0 Strikeouts – Higher
Wells is piling up punchouts aplenty lately. In the righty’s previous five starts, he’s had 39 strikeouts, 12.39 K/9 and 34.5 K% in 28.1 innings. He struck out eight, seven, eight, seven and nine batters in those games and has a golden opportunity to strike out more than six batters again tonight. Additionally, unlike Hill’s strikeout numbers, Wells’s were validated by a 14.7 SwStr% during his heater.
Circling back to the matchup, the Royals strike out a ton. They’ve had the fifth-highest strikeout rate (24.9 K%) against righties this year, tied for the fifth-highest strikeout rate (26.1 K%) in the previous 14 days and struck out at the highest rate (27.2 K%) on the road.
Yusei Kikuchi: 6.0 Strikeouts – Higher
Kikuchi doesn’t boast the same strikeout heater as Wells. Still, the veteran lefty can miss bats and has a drool-inducing matchup for strikeouts. In 12 starts spanning 61.1 innings this season, Kikuchi has 60 strikeouts, 8.80 K/9, a 22.9 K% and 26.6 CSW%. Yet, the lefty has been a strikeout whiz at home since joining the Blue Jays last year. In 80.1 innings at home since 2022, Kikuchi has had 103 strikeouts, 11.54 K/9 and a 30.7 K%.
Conversely, the Twins have eye-catching strikeout splits. First, Minnesota has the second-highest strikeout rate (27.3 K%) against southpaws. Second, they have the highest strikeout rate (29.6 K%) in the previous 14 days. Third, the Twins have the second-highest strikeout rate (27.0 K%) on the road.
Matt Olson: 1.5 Total Bases – Higher
Olson is ripping righties this year. In 205 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers in 2023, Olson has six doubles, one triple, 15 homers, a .246 batting average, .563 SLG and .317 ISO. Olson’s batted-ball data is also excellent. According to Baseball Savant, the slugging first baseman is tied for 14th in Barrels per Plate Appearance percentage (10.7 Brls/PA%), fourth in FB/LD exit velocity (98.9 mph) and first in max exit velocity (118.6 mph) among qualified hitters in 2023.
Josiah Gray has been very lucky against left-handed batters this year. In addition, his career numbers against lefties were ugly. He’s allowed a .240 batting average, .493 SLG and 53 extra-base hits to 571 lefties in his career.
Gary Sanchez: 1.5 Total Bases – Higher
Sanchez’s path to the Padres was winding. He began the year in Triple-A for the Giants and spent time on the Mets before joining the Friars. The marriage has been blissful for Sanchez and the Padres. In 32 plate appearances for San Diego, he has had four homers, two doubles, a .310 batting average, .793 SLG and .483 ISO.
Sanchez can extend his heater in MLB’s most hitter-friendly venue against a lousy pitcher. Right-handed batters have park factors of 1.301 for homers, 1.169 for singles, 1.395 for doubles and 1.535 for triple at Coors Field. Finally, the 127 righties who’ve faced Austin Gomber at Coors Field this year have teed off for 13 doubles, eight homers, a .331 batting average and .644 SLG.
Whether you’re new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy – like Maximizing Your Potential in Multi-Lineup Contests – to learn more.