2023 MLB Future Bet: Lock of the Year to Finish Under Wins Total
Last year’s Philadelphia Phillies had a fantastic run to the World Series, though they lost to the mighty Astros 4-2.
The Phils were only 87-75 during the regular season – in part due to the loss of two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper – but then they reeled over three straight upsets: A wild-card series sweep over the Cardinals, a division series triumph over the defending champion Braves, and a five-game pounding of the Padres in the NLCS to reach the Fall Classic for the first time since 2009.
But that was then.
The 2023 season is already off to a rough start and Philly hasn’t even played a game yet. The season starts Thursday and the Phillies will once again be without Harper, recovering from Tommy John surgery and expected to be out until the All-Star break – so likely half the season.
They received another big blow when slugger Rhys Hoskins (30 HRs and 79 RBIs last season) caught the injury bug a few weeks ago.
Fans in the City of Brotherly Love mostly adore Hoskins, although not as much as his teammates, even though he has been inconsistent at the plate over the years. (His clubhouse leadership, however, by all accounts, has been a constant).
And remember, since 2018, only seven players have had four seasons of at least 25 home runs and a 110 adjusted OPS: Hoskins, Aaron Judge, Manny Machado, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Matt Olson, and Phillies teammate Kyle Schwarber.
Say what you want; he’ll be missed.
Luckily, the Phillies signed star shortstop Trea Turner this offseason and he’ll need to be a stud in the leadoff spot. He sure was wielding a hot bat during the World Baseball Classic.
As far as Schrwarber, he led the NL in home runs last season (46), but with Hoskins and Harper out I expect him to struggle a bit the first few months of the season as pitchers try to stay away from throwing him anything meaty.
Speaking of pitchers, Phillies lefty starter Ranger Suarez is unlikely to open the season on time because of lingering elbow inflammation, while 19-year-old Andrew Painter, the team’s top pitching prospect, lasted just two innings in his spring debut and has been shut down from throwing since March 1 after suffering a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
As Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 28, two days before the team’s Opening Day road game against the Texas Rangers: “Our starting pitching has taken a hit. We’re razor-thin, really, because of the injuries that we’ve had.”
Yikes. If you’re a Phillies fan, not the quote you want to hear anytime, but particularly in March.
All of which brings me to the Phillies’ current over/under odds for total wins: 88.5 (so 89).
Philadelphia Phillies Regular Season Wins 2023
Over 88.5 Wins (-104)
Under 88.5 Wins (-118)
I’m convinced this is going to be under. Baseball is a game of streaks and omens and superstitions, but bad luck already appears to be cursing the Phillies. Never a good sign.
Now, of course, everyone count Philadelphia out last season after Harper broke his thumb and missed two months. During that stretch, the Phillies went a stunning 32-20 to get back in the wild-card chase.
So anything is possible with this bunch. They’ll need one breakout season from either Bryson Stott, Brandon Marsh or Alec Bohm (I’m betting on Bohm) and also a bounce-back year from Nick Castellanos – but there’s a feeling I get that this could be a regression season. An 82-80 record while missing the playoffs wouldn’t surprise me a bit.
Any more serious injuries and it might become much worse than that.
I already think 89 victories is too much to expect, so grab the under before Opening Day.