Las Vegas thinks the Philadelphia Phillies will post their first winning season since 2011 in this upcoming season. 2020 won’t, however, be the year that Phillies snap a long postseason drought if the Sin City is to be believed.
Caesars Sportsbook has set the Phillies over/under for wins in the 2020 season at 85.5, which would represent their first winning season in eight years. The Phillies went 81-81 in both 2012 and 2019. Sandwiched in between those two seasons were six consecutive losing seasons.
Of course, a winning season would hardly satisfy a fanbase desperate for October baseball to return. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to please managing partner John Middleton, who is the face of an ownership group that is expected to spend over $200 million on the team’s 2020 roster. As general manager Matt Klentak put it earlier this offseason, it’s time to win – right now.
Caesars has the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and New York Mets all with higher expected win totals in 2020. Even with the Josh Donaldson leaving the Atlanta Braves to sign with the Minnesota Twins, the two-time defending National League East Champions have an over/under of 91 wins in 2020. The Washington Nationals, despite losing star third baseman Anthony Rendon in free agency, are set at 89.5 wins as they attempt to repeat as World Series Champions. The New York Mets over/under is set at 86.5 a year after they won 86 games and edged out the Phillies for third place in a competitive National League East.
Klentak told Phillies Nation earlier this month that he believes that the roster, as currently constructed, could win the National League East in 2020. Even if that proves to be too tough of a task in a division where the Braves won 97 games a season ago, there are two Wild Card spots in play. However, the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers also have higher expected win totals than the Phillies. So there are three divisions, two Wild Card spots and six teams expected to win more games than the Phillies in the National League. You do the math.
The question then becomes whether the over/under numbers will prove to be accurate. Without a replacement for Rendon and an aging starting rotation, it’s possible that 89.5 proves to be too high of a number for the Nationals. The other end of that, though, is a team like the San Diego Padres, who are flush with young talent, could outperform their over/under of 83.0, making them a Wild Card contender.
For the Phillies, the safest bet may be to get to 90 wins. The guess here is that wouldn’t be enough to win the National League East, but it would likely secure them one of the two Wild Card spots. There’s reason to think that the Phillies lineup will improve in 2020, having added Gregorius, getting Andrew McCutchen back from injury and accounting for potential bounce backs from Rhys Hoskins and Jean Segura. Whether the Phillies have enough pitching – both in the starting rotation and bullpen – to win 90 games remains to be seen. It’s fair to be skeptical right now.
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