MLB Betting: Prop Bets on How Many Times the Houston Astros Get Plunked
The MLB offseason was supposed to be about gawking at just how good the Dodgers and Yankees look on paper. Or for those into conspiracies, did MLB switch the balls back to “normal” during the postseason? Instead, it was dominated by the Houston Astros garbage can banging themselves to two World Series appearances in three years. Naturally, Twitter, the media, and the players are having a field day with this. And rightfully so as knowing what type of pitch is coming makes hitting a baseball a little less impossible given some of the stuff and velocity hitters see on a daily basis.
As a way to capitalized on all of the hoopla, various sportsbooks are offering some unique season-long props on the Astros with a focus on the good old fashion hit-by-pitch. Since MLB’s punishment (a few bucks and some draft picks) was viewed by many as soft, the consensus is that in a sport noted for policing itself, there will be a fair amount of “policing” taking place in 2020. Take a look.
What’s interesting about those numbers is that they are significantly higher than last season. Jose Altuve, for example, stands way off the plate in relation to his size and as a result was hit only three times last season. Alex Bregman was drilled nine times. As a team, the Astros were pegged 66 times.
But based on what we’ve witnessed thus far in spring training, those numbers seem a bit light.
CUMULATIVE HBP UPDATE:
Five games played
Seven Astros hit by pitch
For an average of 1.40 HBP / game
Versus a 2019 league average of 0.41 / game
— 2020 Astros Shame Tour (@AsteriskTour) February 27, 2020
However, before making a bet, consider the following theories. There’s an obvious difference between spring training and the regular season. Games don’t mean anything during March so pitchers are for more apt to plunk a Houston player in March vs. mid-July when the playoff race starts to heat up. Second, there’s the potential for the league to step in if things gets out of hand. Fines and suspensions could be increased to a point where some view the exercise as not worth the trouble. And lastly, if an injury occurs, you may see everyone step back and say, alright, we’ve made our point, it’s time to move on. As upset as opposing players are, breaking a guy’s wrist is pretty extreme.
The original number on the team HBP was 83.5 which has come down to 79.5. In relation to last year’s league-wide totals, 79.5 is not that crazy of a number. The Mets led the league with 95 while 79.5 would have ranked eighth. The league average was 66.