Bryce Harper is off to the start to potentially his best season yet, ready to cash in on a big year in the upcoming free agency period.
Everybody has always known that Bryce Harper could hit the baseball. Since reaching the big leagues, he has won the rookie of the year, 5 All-Star appearances, and an MVP. Now, he is in a contract year and is seeking to become the first $400M man in baseball.
He is only 25 years old and has tormented opposing pitchers to the point where Joe Maddon felt it necessary to walk him 13 times in 4 games. If that alone doesn’t tell you the type of game changer he is, we can look at the stats.
After his MVP season in which he had an absurd 1.109 OPS, people were disappointed by his .814 OPS the next year. However, this happened for a reason. He simply had more bad luck in that next season. His BABIP dropped from a high .369 to a very below average .264. While this doesn’t excuse such a drastic drop-off, it helps to explain some of the regression. That doesn’t even mention how last year, he rebounded with an OPS north of 1.000 and OBP above .400 again. This showed that he made any necessary adjustments to counter pitchers.
$400M is a bargain for a superstar entering his prime with 10 more strong seasons ahead of him.
So far this year, he looks better than ever. In an admittedly small sample size, he has an OPS of 1.717 including an OBP of .550. What makes this even scarier is that he has done it on bad luck, his current BABIP is .182. He has 6 walks and no strikeouts in 20 plate appearances as well. His improved pitch selection and patience make him even more dangerous at the plate. A healthy Adam Eaton will continue to set the table for him, potentially producing a career-high RBI total as well. Everything is in place for Harper to have his best season ever.
He was off to an outstanding start last season as well before suffering a knee injury. A complete season putting up incredible numbers should manifest in a $400M contract. Fangraph’s has a dollar value assigned to every player’s season based off of WAR, and through his first 6 seasons, Harper was worth $211.1M.
Considering that, $400M is a bargain for a superstar entering his prime with 10 more strong seasons ahead of him.