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MLB Betting – Philadelphia Phillies 2020 Season Preview

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
Mar/24/2020


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Year One of the Bryce Harper era didn’t go so well for the Philadelphia Phillies. It wasn’t all the fault of the $330 million man, but when you’re raking in that kind of dough somebody has to take the fall for .500 season. Watching his former team win the World Series the season after he bailed has to piss Harper off. He needs to use that as motivation for a team that has talent to compete in the brutal NL East as long it remains healthy.

2020 Philadelphia Phillies At A Glance

Philadelphia Phillies World Series Odds +4250
Philadelphia Phillies NL Pennant Odds +2012
Philadelphia Phillies NL East Odds +545


2020 Philadelphia Phillies Overview

The Phillies actually had a better season in 2019 than the year before, though it was only by one victory. With increased expectations after signing Harper the Phils were unable to overcome a bunch of injuries and Gabe Kapler was let go after just two seasons on the job. The Phils turned to World Series champ Joe Girardi to become their fourth manager in the last seven seasons.

Beyond the rebuild phase it’s time the Phillies lived up to their payroll. Harper’s humongous contract limits what the team can do depth-wise and we saw that derail the club last season when injuries to Andrew McCutcheon and Jake Arrieta played a role in the team breaking even.

Of course it doesn’t help playing in the most difficult division in baseball. The Nats won the World Series last season, the Braves are the reigning two-time division champs, and the Mets have one of the best rotations in baseball. But it was Miami of all teams that cast a spell on the Phils last year winning 10 of the 19 meetings.

Pitching

For a team with high expectations in 2020 there are a lot of questions about the pitching. Not everything has to break their way to have a good season, but having to ask that they do is a concern. Aaron Nola threw like an ace last season going 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA over 202.1 innings. He showed off his durability by not missing a start.

After Nola is where things start getting a little dicey. Experiencing arm problems into his mid-30s makes us wonder more about the ability of Arrieta to make a comeback. He’s going to give it a shot after undergoing surgery during the offseason. Arrieta allowed 149 hits in 135.2 innings last season, the fewest he’s thrown since coming to the NL.

One of the few moves the Phils made was overpaying Zack Wheeler, who slips into a middle of the rotation guy behind Nola and Arrieta. Wheeler went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts with the Mets in 2019 parlaying that into a hefty payout. There are some quality, yet inconsistent arms at the bottom of the rotation. Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta have all performed at the big league level with varying results.

The loss of projected closer David Robertson made a mess of the bullpen. Robertson underwent Tommy John surgery after tossing 6.2 innings. Saying an ineffective pen was a reason for their struggles the team curiously did nothing to address the situation. Hector Neris logged 28 saves in 34 chances with a 2.93 ERA and is the only known commodity. The Phils are counting on Seranthony Dominguez and Adam Morgan to recover from injuries, and also that a few of the many pitchers in camp will make an impression.

Hitting

We can go on and on about the Phils and what needs to be done for them to return to the postseason. Like it or not Harper will steal a lot of the attention no matter what happens on the diamond, so Bryce better make the most of the situation because he asked for it. You know Harper will get blasted for his former team winning the World Series the season after he left while his new team failed to reach the playoffs for the eighth straight year.

Harper did his best to live up to the lucrative contract. He slashed .260/.372/.510 with 35 homers and 114 RBIs. Over the final two months of the season Harper hit .277 with 17 homers showing that he settled into his new role. The addition of Didi Gregorious gives the infield a boost and adds versatility.

The bottom line is that the Phils can’t afford another injury debacle like last year since depth remains an issue. And they really need McCutcheon to successfully return from his knee injury to run the show at the top of the order.

2020 Philadelphia Phillies Season Pick

With Harper leading the way the offense should be in decent shape. The issues come on the mound and I don’t think the signing of Wheeler is enough to offset the problems from a season ago. The Phils have more upside than any team projected to be the fourth best in their division and a few breaks could move them up the ladder. But that’s asking a lot.

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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