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Bryce Harper By The Numbers: Why Is He So Coveted?

Sep 28, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (34) walks towards his position following the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper. I remember hearing that name way before I should have known it. It was around 2009, like the linked article. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp had monstrous years, Clayton Kershaw went 8-8 that year, and Manny Ramirez was still a Dodger. Hard to believe a baseball generation has passed since Harper’s legend was already beginning to build.

Bryce Harper was only 16 years old.

In the past week or so, it’s been reported that the Dodgers have been in heavy pursuit of Bryce Harper. The Dodgers have the money, they have the resources, and they have the x-factors many free agents would want to see in a team that is pursuing them. Let’s take a look at why Bryce Harper is one of the biggest free agent signings in the past many years

Bryce Harper’s Early Years

Well after batting .569 with an OBP of .689 as a sophomore playing varsity baseball, he enrolled at College of Southern Nevada. In 66 games, he hit 31 home runs, 98 RBIs, hitting .443/.526/.987. He was then drafted #1 by the Nationals in 2010. He played a total of 139 games in the minors, hitting 23 home runs, batting .300 with a .397 OBP. The kid did not disappoint at a single level.

Major League Numbers

Here are his major league totals during his 6 year career.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012-2018 WSN 927 3957 3306 610 922 183 18 184 521 75 31 585 834 .279 .388 .512 .900
If you average that out into an ‘average 162 game’ season, you get this.
  G     PA  AB   R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB  CS   BB   SO  BA   OBP  SLG  OPS
162 692 578 107 161 32 3   32   91  13    5 102 146 .279 .388 .512   .900

Now averaging out his career stats into a 162 game season isn’t exactly the fairest way gauge the level of success he’ll have, but with Bryce Harper it would be par for the course. 32 dingers with a .388 OBP is fantastic and would sit well in the middle of the order for the Dodgers. He got off to a horrific start last year but his 2nd half was a screaming return to form.

Can He Repeat 2015?

In 2015 Bryce Harper won his first MVP award.

G     PA    AB    R        H    2B   3B HR  RBI  SB  CS  BB    SO    BA    OBP   SLG   OPS

153 654 521 118  172 38  1  42   99  6  4 124 131 .330 .460 .649 1.109

He also had posted:

  • WAR: 10.0 (BREF)
  • WRC+: 197
  • wOBA: 161

That is an absolute MONSTER MVP season. If he can post anything close to those numbers again, he’s honestly worth every penny and then some.

Defense

Defensive metrics can be confusing, so I’ll be brief and blunt. Last year he stunk in the outfield. He had a -26 DRS (defensive runs saved) rating. The other metric that is commonly used as a reliable metric is UZR (ultimate zone rating.) Bryce Harper’s UZR was a -16.7. This is alarming but it should be also said that he’s never been that bad in any other year. Most other years his numbers say he is average to passable as a right fielder. He has never been good in center field, however, and nobody should let him play center field. Please, don’t play Bryce Harper in center field.

He DOES however, have an absolute cannon in the outfield.

Do Dodger Fans Want Bryce Harper?

We asked Dodger fans a few days ago whether you wanted the Dodgers to pursue Bryce Harper. Here are the results.

67% were in favor or pursuing Bryce Harper. Here are some of the things Dodger fans said on the subject.

Final Thoughts

Bryce Harper is in the upper echelon of hitters. There’s no denying that. His talent is un-deniable and leads a high ceiling. The Dodgers however, have made it to two consecutive World Series without a Bryce Harper. Could he put us over the edge in the playoffs? Possibly. He will cost a fortune, and that fortune will put a dent in the ability to get bullpen help, and a catcher.

Still, he’s a powerhouse bat that anybody would want in their lineup. What do you think? Comment below.

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-nation-staff-round-table-our-thoughts-on-signing-bryce-harper-bw1096/2018/12/09/”]Dodgers Nation Staff Roundtable: Bryce Harper[/button]

Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

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  1. All BS.. we don’t need Harper… we need a better front office and better manger.. we have quality players.. just let them play everyday!!!!

  2. I can assure you the Dodgers have many options working right now. They could get Harper, Realmuto, Pollock, Robertson. All or none. There will also be at least one move no one of saw coming. I think your going to see one of the busiest off seasons in Dodgers History, with or without a Harper signing. Personally I pass on Harper, continue to increase the asking price on him, and sign Pollock.

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