Barring winning the NL Triple Crown last year, Bryce Harper wasn’t going to live up to his $330 million contract signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, but he still had a pretty good year. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Harper’s 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Bryce Harper MLB Awards Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
- Most home runs of any batter: Harper is +2500
- NL MVP Award: Harper is +1400 to win his second career MVP
Before last season, Bryce Harper signed a then-record-breaking 13-year, $330 million free-agent deal with the Phillies. At the time, it was the most lucrative guaranteed contract signed in North American sports history but it has since been passed by a contract signed by Mike Trout with the Angels.
The Phillies extended the length of the contract to spread out their cash outlay and lower the average annual value of Harper’s deal to $25.4 million per season. Bryce made $10 million in 2019 (plus a $20 million signing bonus). He’ll make $26 million a season from 2020-28, then $22 million a season from 2029-31. The contract included a complete no-trade clause and no opt-out clause, meaning Harper likely will be in a Phillies uniform through 2031.
Scott Boras, Harper’s agent, said that Harper had “average values of $45 million offered on shorter term deals. … The goal was to get the longest contract possible. Bryce wanted one city for the rest of his career. That is what I was instructed to do. He wanted to stay in one city, stay there, build a brand and identity and recruit players. He wants to tell players: Come play with me. He knows it will help winning more if he’s with one team the whole time.”
By most accounts, Harper had a very fine 2019 campaign but because of the size of his contract it perhaps was a small disappointment.
Bryce Harper hit 35 homers, knocked in 114 runs and had 15 steals. He accomplished something in his first season with the Phillies that only two other players in franchise history have ever done, both of whom are Hall of Famers – Harper became just the third Phillies player ever with at least 35 home runs, 100 RBI and 15 stolen bases as he joined Chuck Klein (1932) and Mike Schmidt (1974 & 1977). Harper’s 35 home runs were the second-most ever by a Phillies player in his first year with the team behind only Jim Thome (47 HR in 2003).
Harper’s 5.54 Win Probability Added in 2019 was the second-highest of his career, short of only his 2015 MVP season (6.18 WPA) with the Nationals. He finished 5th among all major league players in Win Probability Added in 2019, behind only Christian Yelich (7.86), Cody Bellinger (6.01), Mike Trout (5.62) and Anthony Rendon (5.62). Bellinger and Trout were the NL and AL MVP, respectively.
Perhaps the most memorable game of the Phillies season was on Aug. 15 vs. the Cubs with Philadelphia down 5-1 entering the bottom of the ninth at home. Entering their at-bat, the Phillies had just a 1.7 % chance of winning and following Jean Segura’s fly out to lead off the bottom of the 9th, the Phillies chances of winning stood at just 0.6%.
Prior to that game, the Phillies had lost 316 consecutive games when trailing by at least 4 runs entering the 9th inning and the Cubs had won 489 straight games when leading by 4+ runs entering the 9th. However, Harper hit the winning grand slam with one out. Prior to Harper’s grand slam, Cubs lefty Derek Holland had gone 261 plate appearances without allowing a homer to a left-handed hitter
“Besides winning the division and getting to the playoffs, that was one of the coolest moments I’ve ever had in my life,” Harper said afterward.
Harper also was very good defensively in 2019. He finished 13 outfield assists in right field, equaling his total over his last three seasons in right field for the Nationals. Harper’s 13 assists were T-1st among all National League outfielders with Hunter Renfroe and he ranked 2nd in MLB. Harper had 9 defensive runs saved.