There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Phillies have had an incredible off-season. From signing Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson to trading for Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto, the 2019 Phils have an infusion of talent that should see the team well represented at the All Star Game later this summer and, by the end of the season, in the MVP voting as well.
Vegas has released their latest odds for NL MVP, and four Phils’ players are on the list.
NL MVP odds just posted at @SuperBookUSA:— Joe Ostrowski (@JoeO670) February 27, 2019
Freeman, Suarez, Yelich 18/1
RIZZO, Hoskins 20/1
BAEZ, Acuna, Bellinger, Rendon 25/1
Story, Turner, Votto 30/1
SCHWARBER 80/1 pic.twitter.com/Rx6V6ynRNd
The odds-on favorite, at 6/1, is Harper, followed by Nolan Arenado at 7/1, Paul Goldschmidt at 10/1, Kris Bryant at 12/1 and Manny Machado at 15/1. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, given that he is 26, is the face of baseball and will be playing half his games in a ballpark in which he has a career .930 OPS with 14 HRs in 50 career games.
ZiPS projects Harper to hit .266/.401/.533 this year with 35 HRs, 109 RBIs, 104 runs scored, a wOBA of .392 and a WAR of 4.8, which would be the highest on the team. However, it would put him 6th in the NL, behind Machado, Christian Yelich, Arenado, his former teammate Juan Soto, and Kris Bryant. Bryant’s WAR gets dinged for his defense, which could improve this year after a disastrous season in the field in 2018.
However, while Harper is clearly a prime great candidate to be NL MVP, odds-makers are likely trying to sway some money to other people as bettors flock to the man of the hour. But in addition to Harper, Vegas likes some of his teammates a lot, too.
Rhys Hoskins isn’t too far down list, coming in tied for the 9th-best odds with Anthony Rizzo at 20/1. Moving to first base will be a boon to Hoskins’ defensive numbers, and ZiPS projects him to hit .250/.351/.500 with 34 bombs, 113 RBIs, a wOBA of .363 and a WAR of 3.6. However, while he has the 9th-best odds in the NL and has the 2nd-best odds of anyone on the team, it’s one of the other newcomers that may have the best odds of anyone in a Phillies uniform to win the MVP.
Realmuto is widely regarded as the best catcher in baseball. He’s projected to hit .276/.335/.503 with 25 HRs, 84 RBIs, a team-best 32 doubles, a .356 wOBA and a WAR of 4.7, just one-tenth of a point below Harper and projected as 7th-best by ZiPS. He’s generally regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and the potential for him to increase his dinger total is quite real.
Last year, he hit 21 homers in 531 PAs playing for the Marlins, but hit just 8 dingers at Marlins Park, renowned for being a pitcher’s park. While ZiPS is accounting for a slight increase of four home runs this season, if he reaches 30, he could be a prime MVP candidate. As it stands, he’s tied with Marcell Ozuna, Juan Soto, Eric Hosmer and six others at 40/1 odds.
The last Phil on this list is their other big offensive free agent, Andrew McCutchen, who sits at 80/1 odds, tied with players like Jed Lowrie, Brandon Belt and Michael Conforto. ZiPS has McCutchen batting .255/.360/.454 this season with 25 home runs, 80 RBIs, 82 runs, 25 doubles, a wOBA of .351 and a WAR of 2.8 that would be 4th-best on the team.
On Episode 264 of “Hittin’ Season,” hosts John Stolnis, Justin Klugh and Liz Roscher talked about Harper’s first weekend with the team, his decision to honor Roy Halladay and new teammate Maikel Franco, pitching Mike Trout to come home in two years and lots on a possible Jake Arrieta bounceback season.