Welcome to the Saturday edition of Awesemo’s top Monkey Knife Fight MLB fantasy picks. There are four evening baseball games to pick and choose plays from, and after the clinic Fernando Tatis Jr. put on with the long ball last night, there’s proven to be massive value playing hitters from a few of these teams. But first, we’ll discuss the two pitcher props that are my favorite to target of the day, so let’s jump right in and get the party started over at Monkey Knife Fight.
Tonight’s Top Monkey Knife Fight MLB Player Prop Picks
More or Less—Julio Urías MORE than 6.5 Strikeouts, Nathan Eovaldi LESS than 5.5 Strikeouts (3x)
It’s a rarity to be actively targeting more strikeouts for a pitcher right now, specifically one that was just shelled in their first start since baseball started enforcing the ban on sticky substances. But overcorrections happen, and that’s exactly what it seems we’ve got with Julio Urías‘ strikeout prop in this spot. The Cubs strikeout 25.3% of the time against lefties this season (eighth-most in MLB), so the 26.8% strikeout rate that Urías sports for the year looks like it’ll be exactly what we should expect. In fact, the projected Cubs lineup will most likely have zero batters under a 22% strikeout rate besides Anthony Rizzo (13.8%). That makes this an above-average spot for Urías to rebound on the mound.
The other prop paired in this More or Less game type is Nathan Eovaldi, who has been a decent real-life pitcher in 2021. His sub-4.00 ERA, limitations of hard contact (35.3% hard-hit), and elite walk rate (5.4% BB) make him an arm that can survive the wrath of this hard-hitting Yankees lineup. But Eovaldi’s 22.2% strikeout rate is far from elite, and his pitch count was limited to just 81 pitches two starts ago despite giving up only three hits in 6.2 innings of work (and 87 in his previous start). He can certainly survive this lineup, but considering three straight starts failing to exceed five strikeouts, he feels like a prime candidate to short in the aftermath of the sticky stuff ban for pitchers.
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Home Run Derby—Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Matt Olson MORE than 0.5 Home Runs (2x)
After last night’s three-home run performance by Tatis Jr. to bring his total for the season up to 25, you probably don’t need to be too much coaxing to target him in the Home Run Derby game format. But despite teammate Manny Machado‘s lackluster home run total of 12 this season, he’s hitting the ball just as hard as Tatis Jr. (55.2% hard-hit, Tatis 55.7%) while also averaging a better exit velocity (93.9 mph, Tatis 93.1 mph) and launch angle (12.8 degrees, Tatis 11.8 degrees). That should yield better results going forward, so against Diamondbacks righty Merrill Kelly who gives up hard contact at will (40.8% hard-hit), invest in both him and Tatis again tonight as likely home run candidates.
And to round out the trio in the Star Shootout: Night Games section, Matt Olson is an easy add. While some people have natural biases against targeting lefty/lefty matchups, Olson is an exception to the rule. In fact, nine of Olson’s 20 homers this season have come against southpaws this season despite 54 fewer at-bats versus that handedness, which makes sense considering his .635 slugging versus lefties as opposed to .570 against righties. His 49.5% hard-hit and 14.7% barrel rate are a lethal combination, making Olson my second-favorite long ball candidate of the night.
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