Bryce Harper: Evaluating OF’s 2014 Fantasy Value
Going into 2014 there are a lot of players that are surrounded with question marks. In my opinion no player more so than Bryce Harper. For example:
- Is this the year where he steps up into the truly elite status, or is Harper still a raw work in progress?
- In a one-year, no-keeper league, where would you take him/how much would you spend on him?
- What will it take to get Bryce Harper to elite status this season?
In 2012, Bryce Harper hit the show to high expectations and a whole lot of hype. He met these expectations, as well a friendly reminder from some veterans that he hadn’t made it just yet.
Don’t you just love baseball? Harper is a kid that plays the game fast and hard, and he is becoming the face of the Washington Nationals. Sometimes the vets just like to help the kids stay grounded, but I digress. Harper had a very impressive rookie year.
Sometimes in the bigs, players just like to help kids stay grounded. Anyway, Harper had a very impressive rookie year. [table id=174 /]
Not bad for a teenager right?
So of course the following season would be either Harper building on his early success or a sophomore slump, well if not for a bum knee, Harper would have come pretty darn near to our projected numbers for him. [table id=175 /]
So here we are, looking ahead to 2014 and focusing on one, Bryce Harper. It comes as no shock to me that I have seen him on early 2014 rankings as high as 5th overall and as low as 20th. Some guys want to wait and see, while others like what they have seen and expect more for the budding superstar! So let’s address some questions shall we?
1) What will it take to get Bryce Harper to elite status this season?
Bryce Harper is slated to be the number 3 hitter for the Nationals on opening day, according to MLB Depth Charts.
If this sticks then he will have a very good shot at being an elite fantasy option. For it to stick, he will need to make good on hitting third in two ways.
- RBI production
- A higher average.
It will be important for Harper to get his average in the .280+ range because the Nats have a very solid 3-hole option in Ryan Zimmerman. Although not as dynamic as Harper, Zimmerman is a .286 career hitter with a long history of being reliable. If Harper slips, Zimmerman can certainly usurp his former batting spot.
2) In a one-year, no-keeper league, where would you take him/how much would you spend on him?
I think that Harper is a top-tier guy and is certainly on the fringe as an elite option.
If I were drafting right now, I would absolutely take him in the first round — even in a one year league. In a one-year league, No. 5 might might be a tad high, BUT you don’t get to select your draft spot so any pick after Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, and Clayton Kershaw is just fine with me. Honestly, I might even take him over Kershaw.
3) Is this the year where he steps up into the truly elite status, or is he still more of a work in progress?
The pieces are in place for Bryce to make this his coming out party. I mean elite status coming out, much like McCutchen last season.
Most people didn’t give Cutch enough credit for the last few seasons, and Bryce might well be able to stake his claim on being a top-flight elite option and given his high profile, people won’t be as quick to ignore him as they were Cutch. Barring injury, I see Harper having a very productive season on a very good team! [table id=176 /]
These early numbers come from Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball, who we’ve partnered with this year to make our Draft Kit even better. As it relates to Bryce Harper, they’re probably a little conservative. Given how young he is and the possibility of an injury, you have to lean conservative. Still, the fact that these numbers are conservative shows Harper’s talent.