Philadelphia Phillies 2019 Betting Odds, Preview: In it to Win it

Philadelphia Phillies 2019 Betting Odds, Preview: In it to Win it article feature image
Credit:

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

  • The Phillies have made several major acquisitions this offseason, highlighted by the signing of Bryce Harper.
  • Despite having a very deep lineup, their pitching depth remains on the thin side.
  • I'd recommend waiting until the Phillies are done making moves and then look to bet on another team like Washington or New York to win the NL East.

Original analysis published on Feb. 25.

The Phillies are flush with cash and have built a team flush with stars. I was hoping Bryce Harper would have signed by the time this preview initially came out, but oh well. I figured he would be signing in Philly and most of my original analysis was based around the fact that he’d be joining the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto.

2018 Results

  • Record: 80-82 (-9.7 units), 75-87 ATS (-13.6 units)
  • Over/Under Record: 73-83-6
  • Preseason World Series Odds: 70-1
  • Win Total: 78.5
  • Most Profitable Starter: Aaron Nola (22-11, +5.1 units)

At the end of July, the Phils were 59-48 — not excellent, but certainly not bad. Gabe Kapler made headlines for the wrong reasons to kick off the season, but the team recovered and looked like it was headed to the playoffs.

Then came the collapse. In August, the Phillies went 13-14. September is when things completely fell apart, as they limped to the barn with an 8-20 record.

They went over their win total, but I’m sure nobody in Philadelphia cared.

2019 Odds

  • World Series Odds: +1200
  • Division Odds: +225
  • Win Total O/U: 89
  • Playoff Odds: Make +110, Miss -130

3/4 Update: Most of Westgate’s futures were already accounting for Harper signing with the Phillies

Original analysis from 2/25 below:

Philly’s futures have been bouncing all over the place all winter. Very difficult for me to keep track of.

Since Westgate opened a lot of their futures on Feb. 17, odds have moved in the Phillies’ favor.


At +225, I would say to stay away from the Phillies to win their division. I’ll personally be waiting for the Harper signing to get done, wherever he may land, before placing my bets on the NL East division. I’ll probably wait for Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel to find homes, too, but Washington, New York and Atlanta may all end up having some value if books overreact on a potential Harper signing.

Roster Notes

  • Additions: Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Juan Nicasio, James Pazos, Sean Rodriguez (minors), Gift Ngoepe (minors), Phil Gosselin (minors), Shane Robinson (minors)
  • Subtractions: Wilson Ramos, Carlos Santana, J.P. Crawford, Jose Bautista, Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Bour, Luis Garcia, Luis Avilan, Aaron Loup
  • Potential Lineup
    1. Andrew McCutchen – LF
    2. Jean Segura – SS
    3. Bryce Harper – RF
    4. Rhys Hoskins – 1B
    5. J.T. Realmuto – C
    6. Odubel Herrera – CF
    7. Cesar Hernandez – 2B
    8. Maikel Franco – 3B
  • Projected Rotation
    1. Aaron Nola
    2. Jake Arrieta
    3. Nick Pivetta
    4. Zach Eflin
    5. Vince Velasquez
  • Prospect Watch: Adam Haseley (Unranked, OF), Enyel De Los Santos (Unranked, RHP), JoJo Romero (Unranked, LHP), Ranger Suarez (Unranked, LHP)
  • Key Injuries: Jerad Eickhoff (Wrist, return TBD), Tommy Hunter (Forearm, early 2019)
  • MVP Candidates: Bryce Harper (+600), Rhys Hoskins (+2000), J.T. Realmuto (+4000), Andrew McCutchen (+8000),
  • Cy Young Candidates: Aaron Nola (+700), Jake Arrieta (+8000), Nick Pivetta (+10000), Zach Eflin (+20000), Vince Velasquez (+20000)

Analysis

Player to Watch: Rhys Hoskins

Old Country Power Hoskins is in line for a big year. At least I hope he is because I have a 50-1 ticket on him leading the majors in homers.

Hoskins jacked 34 long shots in his first full season, which is a solid number. If he stays healthy, he will hit more this season.

There are a few reasons why I believe we don’t know Hoskins’ full power potential yet. Last year, just 16% of his fly balls were home runs, which is much lower than I would expect for someone with his strength. It was also much lower than the 31.6% he put up in his 2017 debut.

Since over 50% of his batted balls were fly balls, he’s basically ensured he will hit a fair number of home runs. I don’t think we can project over 30% of his fly balls to be homers, but let’s say he splits the difference and achieves a 25% HR/FB rate. If he had done that last year, he would’ve hit 53 homers!

Perhaps my mind is in fantasyland, but all I know is that home runs come down to an equation. If even 20% of Hoskins’ fly balls this year are home runs, which is a very fair number, he will be in the home run race.

Pitcher to Watch: Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta’s Phillies debut was anything but spectacular. A former Cy Young winner, Arrieta posted his worst season since the Orioles traded him to the Cubs. Here’s a nifty little graph I made with some of his vital stats. Note that all of them are trending in the wrong direction over the past couple of seasons. The lines that you’d prefer to go up have gone down, and the lines that you’d prefer to go down have gone up.

About to turn 33 years old, Arrieta’s best pitching is behind him. Don’t bet on him to post a sub-2 ERA this year like he did in 2015. Philly isn’t paying him $25 million a pop to have an ERA approaching 4.00, though. Justin Verlander had a blip around this same age where he looked like his career was going downhill, but he turned it around. History suggests pitchers get worse and worse as the years go on, but it’s not a given — especially for a Cy Young winner.

Philly’s lineup is stacked, but other than Nola, its pitching staff is very meh. Arrieta needs to get the lines on that graph going in the other direction because without his help, the offense will have trouble keeping up with its average pitching staff.

Summary

The Phillies have improved their club, but as of now, they’re not as good as the other teams in the division — at least in my opinion. The large reason being pitching.

Both their rotation and bullpen need some help. Keuchel and Kimbrel are still available and  they should try and acquire at least one of those pitchers. Recent reports suggest that isn’t highly likely, though.

They really do need Arrieta to bounce back, because after Nola, their rotation is full of questionable hit-or-miss characters. I do have faith that Nick Pivetta’s numbers improve, though, as his 10.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 shouldn’t result in an ERA approaching 5.00 again.

One other pitcher to keep an eye on is Juan Nicasio. He posted an ERA of 6.00 with the Mariners last year, but was extremely unlucky. Things should go much more smoothly if he posts an 11.4 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 again — a frigging tremendous ratio. He’s been used solely as a reliever the past two seasons, but could start if need be.

Another thing to remember is that there is a third major aspect of baseball other than hitting and pitching: defense.

Last year, the Phillies had -146 runs saved as a team — the worst in baseball by 46 runs. Hoskins was a horrible left fielder and lost 24 runs during his time in out there, so his switch to first base already has them on the right track.

Herrera, Hernandez and Franco were also pretty bad, too. They’ll improve, but defense will not be a strength in Philly.

All odds via Westgate SuperBook as of Mar. 4

Transactions accurate as of Mar. 25. Free agents deemed subtractions until they re-sign

Advanced data via Fangraphs.com, prospect ratings via MLB.com, prospects in prospect watch expected to be MLB-ready in 2019

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