Baseball players are angry with the Houston Astros. It is not had to understand why, of course. No one likes a cheater—especially one that won the World Series. Had they not won the World Series in 2017, the whole controversy would have gone away already, but they did.
So, since they cheated, won it all, and essentially got away with it, players are angry. Since the league didn’t punish the players involved, many have talked about taking the punishment into their own hands when the Astros step into the batter’s box this year.
Do they mean it? Who knows. But the possibility has the commissioner concerned enough that he has issued a warning against targeting the Astros this season. However, how he’ll be able to tell who targeted someone and who accidentally hit someone remains to be seen.
But all the anger has generated some interesting betting lines for the regular season at PointsBet.com:
- Astros To Lead MLB in Batters Hit By Pitch +250
Last season Houston was tied for 16th with 66 hit batters (league average); 29 back of the league-leading New York Mets (95). That is a lot of ground to make up. But with how guys have been talking, it is not hard to imagine pitchers taking aim at Houston batters another 30+ times this season out of the 5000+ at-bats they will have.
The real question will be just how strict Rob Manfred is going to be. Will he crack the whip every time someone hits a Houston batter? If he comes down hard the first few times, guys will quit targeting them. But if he doesn’t, it could be open season.
Then again, guys talk tough all the time and never back it up. Maybe, when push comes to shove, they will be professional and not do anything that could hurt their own team.
Recommendation: It all depends on how hard Manfred comes down on guys when they hit Houston batters. It could also come down to how hard the union goes to bat for those guys after Manfred levies whatever punishment he has in mind.
For now, pass on this one (too many variables).
Total Astros Batters Hit By Pitch In 2020 Regular Season
- Over 75.5 -110
- Under 75.5 -110
Guys get hit by pitches; it happens and is bound to happen this year to several of the Astros. But with Manfred talking about harsh penalties for anyone targeting Houston, don’t be shocked if guys end up taking special care not to hit them.
Go with the under.
Any Astro Player To Be Hit By Pitch On Opening Day (Regular Season)
- Yes +235
- No -323
If it is going to happen, expect it to be on Opening Day. That way, if Manfred does come down hard, the rest of the league will know they need to back off. With 161 games to go, it will be easy to handle whatever punishment there is.
First Astros Player To Be Hit By Pitch (Regular Season)
- Jose Altuve +380
- Alex Bregman +280
- Carlos Correa +440
- George Springer +380
- Any Other Player +110
Barring an honest accidental hit, I would take Altuve since he won the AL MVP that year and since all the buzzer talk centered around him.