Bryce Harper’s MVP-winning 2015 feels like lightyears ago.
This was the year that Harper finally lived up to the lofty expectations placed upon him when he was drafted first overall in 2010. Over 654 plate appearances — the first time in his career in which he had more than 600 — Harper slashed .330/.460/.649 with 42 home runs and 99 RBIs. His 9.3 fWAR led all of baseball.
At the time, this was meant to be the beginning of Harper’s excellent career, not the pinnacle. Three years later, and Nationals fans still yearn for the days when Harper was hitting .300, leading baseball in home runs and helping to carry Washington to the playoffs, something they actually didn’t do during Harper’s 2015.
We’ve come to the year that Nationals fans have dreaded since he first broke into the big leagues — his contract year. It’s common knowledge that Harper is going to be a free agent after this year, and his age (25) combined with his ability should make him one of the most sought after free agents in a long time. There are some that project Harper could make over $500 million.
But, before we even get to that point, Harper still has his job to do in the nation’s capital. And, so far, he has struggled, at least by his standards. Harper is slashing .214/.366/.471 with 23 home runs, 53 RBIs and a 120 wRC+. What a weird line.
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