Since the beginning of this PT Barnum-esque, circus of an off-season, there’s been one narrative about Bryce Harper I just can’t abide. “Bryce Harper has been mediocre since his MVP season.” I once heard Tim McCarver (suspect source to be sure, but the man has been around) say “sometimes you’re penalized by your ability.” I think a lot of that notion holds true for Bryce Harper. The kid (because he was a kid) was touted as the next savior of baseball since he was a tween. The hype surrounding Bryce Harper has never really died down. In many years, he’s been worth and proven that hype. His 2015 isn’t just a ‘good MVP season.’ It’s one of the better ones in recent history.
10 years and 300+ million is definitely a high price tag. There’s no way I can say he’s worth that price tag, because there’s nothing intrinsically valuable about being able to hit and catch a baseball. Look I’m not going to go on a diatribe about ‘free-market value’ because we’ve all heard this over the conversation of free agency. Simply put, you have to put faith or a gamble into a talent.
Scott Boras and the hype machine that surrounds Bryce Harper at all times has likely put a negative taste in our mouths. This isn’t to paint Bryce Harper as a saint or a sinner. But his overhype isn’t a fault of his, it’s just the machine.
Give Me Numbers
If you take Bryce Harper’s last 3 seasons and averaged out the numbers, you get this.
- Games: 139
- HR: 29
- BB: 102
- OBP: .393
- SLG: .510
- OPS: .903
- OPS+: 134
- wRC+: 133
Not a single one of those statistics is anywhere near average. They’re all above average. So when you read that Bryce Harper is an average player, you should go nowhere near that source or publication ever again. It’s simply untrue. There’s no question this phony narrative is a product of hype and just derision.
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If you’re a Dodger fan and you don’t want Bryce Harper in a Dodger uniform, there could be these reasons.
- Defensive Liability
- Another LH Bat
All these reasons have legitimate, arguable reasoning behind them. They don’t outweigh the desire to have a power bat in your lineup, who walks 100 times a season, though. They just can’t. A lot of rhetoric (mine included) this offseason related to teams not wanting to spend money, and how that was a bad thing. Well it’s hard to hold that opinion and still be opposed to signing Bryce Harper for big money. The length of the contract is definitely a concern, but the money is there.
If the reasons behind now wanting him as a Dodger are visceral–it’s time to come back home. I want to see the Dodgers win the World Series. Bryce Harper helps any team come closer to that goal.