MLB Proposition Bet: Number of Houston Astros batters HBP
TOTAL ASTROS BATTERS HIT BY PITCHES IN 2020
BET OVER OR UNDER 83.5?
You’ve all heard of the sign-stealing scandal involving the Houston Astros. Many opposing pitchers are upset (deservedly so!) and some have clearly hinted they will consider plunking Astros players intentionally this season.
Should we bet the OVER or the UNDER?
Let’s dive into the numbers!
The number of beaned players has increased every single year since 2015. As a matter of fact, the past two seasons have posted the highest HBP rates in MLB since 1900.
Why? FiveThirtyEight.com analyzed this question and they came up with a simple explanation: there are more opportunities to hit someone now because hitters are extending counts and pitchers are throwing more pitches than in the past.
Despite the recent spike in plunkings, only nine teams exceeded the 83.5 line over the past five years. That’s nine teams over 30 teams * 5 years, which amounts to a 6% rate. If you go further and look at the past 10 years, only 4.3% of the teams got hit more than 83.5 times over the course of a season.
New Astros manager Dusty Baker expressed his concern about premeditated retaliation from opposing pitchers and asked the league to step in to protect players from potential injuries.
Commissioner Rob Manfred met with managers in spring training to make it clear he would not tolerate Astros being hit intentionally. Each case will be analyzed meticulously to see if there were any malicious intent behind the pitch.
In light of all of this, I would bet the under.
The league will probably want to send a message early that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated, to avoid things to escalate. Eventually, some pitchers may even shy away from pitching inside too often to Houston hitters.
At the time of writing, seven Astros players have been hit by pitches within the first five spring training games. That’s huge! However, I don’t worry about it too much. Jose Altuve was hit by an off-speed pitch, while Alex Bregman got beaned by a splitter. Those cases were probably not intentional. Some other cases occurred with players who weren’t even with the team when the cheating happened, so once again I doubt it was intentional.
So once again, I would put my money on the Astros players to get plunked LESS than 83.5 times during the 2020 season.
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Enjoy the season!