A few days ago, Bovada released their 2019 season props for superstar slugger Bryce Harper. Vegas isn’t necessarily predicting an MVP-caliber year for their hometown hero, but envision a productive output for the $330M outfielder this season:
I thought it’d be fun to play a little game of over/under with these props and see which ones Harper is set to clear and which he may fall just shy of. I’ve never been much of a betting man, and don’t condone an excessive amount of such behavior- unless you are betting that the Phils will be a really, really, really good team this season, in which case bet the farm- but I decided to write a piece and give my best shot at these props. Without any further adieu, let’s hop right in:
O/U .267 Batting Average
Probably the easiest bet to make amongst the prop list, I’ll take the over .276 BA with confidence. I know Harper has always hovered around that mark throughout his career- batted .279 in seven seasons with the Nationals- but he has simply never had this type of lineup protection before. Gabe Kapler is one of the most forward-thinking managers in the game in terms of lineup customization and maximizing opportunity and will surely find creative ways to make sure opposing pitchers HAVE to pitch to Harper. This will allow him to be a bit more selective with his swings, as opposed to hacking at everything to try and save the Nationals from imploding on themselves, which should yield positive results.
I also expect a much calmer, less erratic form of Harper at the plate this season. He’s entering the athletic prime of his life- a scary proposition for a man that blasted 42 home runs when he was just 22-years old- and is now entering his eighth season in the senior circuit. As hard as it is to believe for someone entering their age 26 season, Harper has nearly a decade of experience against MLB-level pitching. His plate vision and discipline will only continue to grow, and in turn, his batting average. Gimme the over.
O/U 33.5 Home Runs
Admire the effortlessly perfect swing, listen to the echo of the crack of the bat after he sends this baseball to the Netherrealms, and give me the over as quickly as possible. Hitters friendly Citizens Bank Park will be a haven for the lefty slugger and I fully expect a 40+ HR campaign this year. Maybe the batting average prop wasn’t the easiest bet..
O/U 95.5 RBIs
Fresh off his first 100 RBI season, driving in exactly a century’s worth, Harper should have little trouble surpassing that amount if he can stay healthy. The Phillies lineup is stacked from top to bottom and there’s a good chance that majority of Harper’s at-bats come with runners in scoring position. I think this will be another season in a long line of 100+ RBI seasons to come- I’ll take the over. I’m beginning to think my bank account may be in some danger after I finish writing this.
O/U 97.5 Runs Scored
This one is a bit tricky to project, as it’s more teammate dependent than a couple of the earlier props. Between the amount of walks he’s expected to draw and being backed up by Hoskins and/or Realmuto, the potential is certainly there for Harper to score runs in droves. Alternatively, I think Harper may have one of those “unlucky” seasons where he drives in a bunch but his teammates simply can’t get him across at the clip. To keep the mojo going, though, I’ll take the over.
Only time will tell whether or not Harper outperforms Vegas’ modest expectations, but if he does, we are in for quite the show. Buckle up, Phillies fans.