Phillies in Top-8 to Win 2020 Fall Classic

Bryce Harper
The National League East took the MLB by storm when the Nationals, who were a team left for dead various parts of the season, came out of their wildcard seat and blasted their way through the playoffs to win it all.

Eighty-one wins was a bit disappointing for Phils fans. A big Bryce Harper purchase that resulted in just one win more than the previous year, and the multimillion-dollar star’s ex-team winning the world series. Baseball is a superstitious sport, so it leaves one to wonder …

On the bright side, the Philadelphia Phillies won 81 games last season but they are lined out by the experts to have a total of OVER/UNDER 85.5 wins. Which is a number that would have put the Phillies into the wildcard seat in 2019 instead of the Natties.

A Glance at the NL East Season Win Totals:

 Atlanta Braves - O/U 90.5
 Washington Nationals - O/U 89.5
 Philadelphia Phillies - O/U 85.5
 New York Mets - O/U 86.5
 Miami marlins - O/U 63.5

As you can see, the NL East is wide open. The only team without a snow ball’s chance in hell is the Miami Marlins, who are the Sushi dinner getting served up for the rest of the division.

The biggest surprise is the New York Mets. They opened the seasons with the expectation to win 102.5 games. The odd thing is, the Mets opened with odds being behind the Phillies to win the World Series and the division odds have both the Phils and Amazin’ at +300 each, just a smidge behind the second-place Nationals at +250.

So, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the two sets of lines, which from a sports investing perspective, can be a good thing. One thing is certain, it could end up a very tight race for the East. Everywhere seems to be in line when it comes to the Atlanta Braves as the favorites to win the division this year, but Washington and the Mets have the same price to win the World Series at +1600 with the Phillies at +1800. Yet, the Mets and the Phillies have the same divisional odds … and are one game apart on the totals.

So, what does all this mean?

It means that the experts can’t agree on the NL East and can’t make the various coinciding 2020 odds unilateral. This lack of confidence strengthens my position that the NL East is up for grabs.

Many consider this to be the strongest division in baseball. The Nationals won the Classic, and the other teams – not counting the mumbling, bumbling Marlins– are all above .500.

The Phils have a few new additions to the clubhouse. Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius – along with Joe Girardi. And they should have some key players finally back from injury including Cutch, Jake Arrieta, and Adam Morgan – possibly Seranthony Dominguez. So the Phillies should have both a stronger rotation as well as a more productive lineup.

The Braves picked up Ozuna, but they lost Josh Donaldson. They picked up Cole Hamels but lost Teheran … and Hamels is starting the season off injured. So, the first month or two could be an excellent opportunity for the Phillies to get a few games on Atlanta – while the Braves have a hole in their rotation.

The Mets will be trying to do the same thing. They have Cespedes coming back from his injury as well, but they did lose the ToddFather at 3rd. Wheeler came over to Philly but they did pick up Porcello, Wacha, and Betances to shore up their pitching staff. So, if there is any real competition for the Phils, other than the Braves, it’s the Mets. The Nationals – to me– had the most outgoing talent without receiving adequate incoming talent. Will Harris was a great grab at a great price, but they lost Anthony Rendon who put up 117 runs on 174 hits last season. The Nationals missed out on Donaldson; can a guy like Carter Kieboom fill that hole?

I expect the Nationals to have a Post-World-Series slump and the battle for the east will truly be between the Phils, Mets, and Braves.

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