Bryce Harper’s First 162 Games

A year ago today, the Washington Nationals called Bryce Harper up to the big leagues, so he officially has one full season of Major League Baseball under his belt. One of the coolest little known features of the site is a split called “Past Calendar Year”, which allows you to see how a player has done in the last 365 days, giving you a rolling one year look at a player’s most recent performance. Here is the Major League leaderboard for the year that has included Bryce Harper:


Rank Name G PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
1 Mike Trout 162 747 0.318 0.391 0.546 0.399 159 15.6 14.3 11.0
2 Robinson Cano 166 717 0.320 0.384 0.578 0.407 158 10.4 -1.5 8.7
3 Ryan Braun 155 681 0.317 0.395 0.601 0.416 164 4.7 2.5 7.7
4 David Wright 162 697 0.301 0.390 0.489 0.376 141 11.5 2.6 7.6
5 Buster Posey 154 630 0.327 0.402 0.538 0.399 157 7.2 -4.7 7.6
6 Miguel Cabrera 164 720 0.340 0.404 0.599 0.421 169 -11.8 -1.6 7.3
7 Andrew McCutchen 163 696 0.311 0.386 0.545 0.393 152 -8.1 4.0 6.7
8 Alex Gordon 162 726 0.310 0.375 0.474 0.368 133 12.1 2.1 6.2
9 Bryce Harper 162 692 0.284 0.356 0.518 0.375 138 9.3 -0.9 6.2
10 Yadier Molina 142 583 0.318 0.373 0.487 0.371 137 9.3 -5.4 6.1

(Side note – holy crap Mike Trout.)

Because the season started a little later last year, the past calendar year includes more than 162 games for a few guys, but Harper is right at 162 after yesterday. And in those 162 games, he’s been one of the ten best players in baseball. Some fun facts from Harper’s first full season.

Over the last year, he has a .234 ISO. Prince Fielder has a .233 ISO.

Harper is still learning how to hit lefties, which isn’t unusual for a guy who just turned 20. Against right-handers, though, his career line: .308/.382/.569, good for a .406 wOBA and 159 wRC+.

Harper has elite pull power, but he’s not just a pull power guy. For his career, he’s hit .363 and slugged .548 when going to the opposite field.

Think Harper just hits fastballs and can be exploited by good breaking stuff? Think again. Bryce Harper has been an above average hitter against every pitch type he’s been thrown.

Don’t let Bryce Harper elevate the baseball – he has a .583 wOBA on balls in the air, 100 points higher than the league average.

With 31 home runs, Bryce Harper is already tied with Ted Williams for 5th all time in home runs through his age-20 season. His age-20 season has five months left to go. He’s 11 home runs away from tying Mel Ott for most HRs before his age-21 season. I’m guessing he’ll get there.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


96 Responses to “Bryce Harper’s First 162 Games”

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  1. Canucklesndwch says:

    I was just heading to fangraphs to read look at harper’s first year of stats… you are timely Mr. Cameron.

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  2. marlinswin12 says:

    Alex Gordon…pretty underrated.

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  3. Jay29 says:

    Dave Cameron on a Sunday!

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  4. Dirck says:

    I was able to trade for Harper in two of my dynasty leagues .In one I traded Ryan Braun even up for him when Harper was still in A ball . In the other I traded Lincecum and Justin Upton for him just before this season started. I am feeling very good about both trades now .

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  5. Coodle says:

    Please continue to pummel anything Harper or Trout related into our heads at your own leisure. It’s always entertaining to read for me.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      May I counterpoint Coodle’s unwarranted sarcasm with the remark that, although I am fond of Cistulli’s searches through the minor-league junk-drawers, it is both understandable and welcome that FanGraphs would occasionally highlight two of the ten best players in baseball today, and probably two of the five best players in baseball for the next fifteen years.

      In any case, this is the second article to mention Bryce Harper so far this season, which hardly constitutes a “pummeling.”

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      • Bubba says:

        I didn’t read that as sarcasm. I too would like to read all the Harper/Trout articles that i can.

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        • Ray says:

          Agreed, didn’t read like sarcasm to me either. And I’ll be the third to say that I love these articles, especially when it comes to Harper and Trout. They’re generational talents coming into the league at the same time, they’ll be great for the game because of the natural comparisons of the two of them. I for one hope they both have long, healthy careers and if so I have no doubt we’ll see plaques of both of them in Cooperstown.

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        • Well-Beered Englishman says:

          If this was not sarcasm, I apologise for my overactive sarcasm sensor.

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        • Coodle says:

          My initial comment was genuine, not sarcastic. I thoroughly enjoy these threads. They’re fun. Harper and Trout are fun. I welcome any content related to them.

          The confusion lies in my poor choice of the word “pummel”, to be sure. I suppose my reasoning for using the term would be because I’ve associated Dave with a number of Harper/Trout articles over the past calendar year.

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      • LTG says:

        In fairness to WBEM, a great connoisseur of irony in all its forms, the diction of the comment fits sarcasm. Indeed, my first reaction was, “Is this sarcasm?” But the sarcastic interpretation seems so outlandish that it doesn’t read like sarcasm.

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        • Tommy says:

          This is an amazing comment, best one of the thread really

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        • Jason B says:

          “Amazing?” Either you’re not using that right or my sarcasm detector just blew up.

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        • Well-Beered Englishman says:

          I spent 5 minutes parsing Tommy’s comment to determine whether it is sincere or ironical, which makes it one of the finest comments I’ve yet seen.

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    • Baltar says:

      Yeah, reading about young guys who are on the verge of superstardom is so boring.
      I’ll bet if this was the 50’s, they’d be stuffing stories about Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle down our throats.

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  6. chuckb says:

    Great stuff, Dave, and on a Sunday, to boot! My lucky day!

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  7. Will H. says:

    I was going to suggest one of the ten best “position” players, not of all players overall, since pitchers weren’t part of this list, but with Verlander the only one above 6.2, and only Felix also at 6.2, I guess that still holds when using fWAR of the past 365 days as the measure (which I had no idea was an available split… very cool).

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  8. Anon21 says:

    It’s a damn tragedy. Can only hope he gets popped for PEDs or something.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      Do you even like baseball?

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      • Anon21 says:

        Only when the Braves are winning everything. Bryce Harper is an impediment to my one condition for baseball happiness.

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        • LTG says:

          So, you have only liked baseball once in the past 55 years (which is perhaps once your entire life)? Why are you reading Fangraphs?

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        • vlock1 says:

          So you’ve been baseball happy once in the last twenty years?

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        • Anon21 says:

          Well, I’m happy whenever they win, and would be even happier if they won the World Series. They generally win enough to make fandom a positive-happiness proposition. But Harper cuts into it, thus my ill wishes.

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        • NatsLady says:

          We had to lose an awful lot to get Harper. Not that it was done on purpose, but your baseball happiness would have been pretty scant in those years.

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        • The Braves have been a continually-operating franchise for 142 years, and they have won three World Series, one in each of three cities. They waited 43 years to get the first (of course, they started in the NA, so they had to wait 32 years for the World Series to even exist). Then they waited 43 years to get to the second, 38 years to get to the third, and they’ve waited 18 years and counting for a fourth.

          We Braves fans have had to find other ways of being happy. Fortunately, a fellow named Charlie Mops came along and invented beer.

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    • ZZ says:

      And now I understand your whole nonsensical bit about only sticking to Harper’s ZIPS numbers despite them being obviously wrong. You’re a petty little fanboy. Plenty of ways for a team to make the playoffs while their rival has a young superstar (Look at Stanton’s Marlins.) I’m a Braves fan too, but I’m also a fan of the game, and Harper is an absolute treasure. We are watching an inner circle hall of famer blossom before our eyes. Oh, and PED’s? LOL.

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      • Anon21 says:

        I really appreciate your expert opinion on how Harper’s statistically-derived projections are “obviously wrong.”

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        • ZZ says:

          I’m not an expert, I just took the time to look at what the numbers mean. Once again, from the Fangraphs library: “ZiPS projections “adjusts for aging by looking at similar players and their aging trends.” How many other 20 year olds with 162 games and a clear as day 80 power tool are there for ZiPS to compare Harper to? I’m waiting. The methodology cannot effectively cover Harper. It doesn’t make ZiPS a bad tool, it just makes it ineffective in this one particular instance.

          But please, keep spouting your ignorant jingoist vitriol about wishing Harper will be sidelined and how it’s a “damn tragedy” that MLB is gaining a highly marketable, exciting star.

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        • Esoteric says:

          People, this is Sam Hutcheson. Why are you arguing with him? His entire schtick is Braves trolling and Harper hating.

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        • Anon21 says:

          Um, no, it isn’t? Sam likes to defend Fredi’s stupid decisions and took Constanza’s side in the Great Heyward Benching Controversy of 2011. I think Fredi should be unemployed, and I will cut the lungs out of any Braves fan who doesn’t pledge their undying devotion to Heyward.

          I’m just a different Braves fan who hates Harper. We’re unsurprisingly common, given that Harper is a budding superstar who plays for a hated rival.

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        • scraps says:

          Common? Yes. Asshole? Yes.

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    • tylersnotes says:

      make yourself feel better by imagining that if Harper played for the Braves he’d end up batting 7th in the lineup and being told to swing at every pitch regardless of location

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    • Juan Fernandez says:

      Hey man suck a fat one

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  9. Phantom Stranger says:

    Trout may provide more value in the long run because of speed and defense, but Harper is definitely the hitter with more upside to put up some monster 180-200 OPS+ seasons. So far he’s gotten by with sheer hitting talent at the plate, but you can tell once he masters the league’s pitchers that he will likely be the next coming of a young Alex Rodriguez. I don’t see that level of upside in Trout’s hitting.

    The Nationals better try and lock Harper up soon, or he will be commanding $300 million on the open market.

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    • YanksFanInBeantown says:

      They’re not gonna be able to lock him up.

      Do you really think that Harper doesn’t want to break A-Rod’s record, (and see if he can get more than Trout)?

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      • philosofool says:

        I think everyone who thinks they know Bryce Harper is mistaken.

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      • TKDC says:

        Sorta like Votto, Kemp, Braun, Posey, do I really need to keep going? Yanks fans are incorrigible.

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        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          All I know is that Bryce Harper listed playing for the Yankees as one of his career goals in his first interview with SI.

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        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          On an unrelated note, Jesus H. Fuck, I’m probably gonna change my name after that addendum.

          My comment was perfectly reasonable, and you wouldn’t be giving me your bullshit if you didn’t know I was a Yankees fan.

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    • Mark says:

      This is assuming that he masters the league’s pitchers. Not the league’s pitchers mastering him.

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      • philosofool says:

        Yeah, he’s 20 and has a better than league average K, BB, and HR rate. I’m pretty sure I know who’s mastering whom by the age of 25.

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  10. Old School says:

    Clown article bro.

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  11. boomer says:

    Interesting data to chew on…How many guys have have 11.0 WAR over the course of a season???

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  12. boomer says:

    I know…have had a 11.0 WAR –

    Here they are:

    Babe Ruth – 8
    Rogers Hornsby – 6
    Willie Mays – 5
    Ted Williams – 5 – with 12’s in the year prior to 3 years military service and a 12 in the year after military service
    Barry Bonds – 4
    Ty Cobb – 3
    Lou Gehrig – 3
    Mickey Mantle – 3
    Honus Wagner – 2
    Stan Musial – 2 – with years served in the military during his prime
    Jimmie Foxx – 2
    Carl Yastrzemski – 2
    Roger Connor – 2 – (1880’s)
    Tris Speaker – 1
    Eddie Collins – 1
    Joe Morgan – 1
    Cal Ripken – 1
    Joe DiMaggio – 1
    Lou Boudreau – 1

    But none of these were in their first year/…Alex Rodriguez had a 10 in his first year.

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  13. Scott McKenzie says:

    I know it’s very noob of me to ask, and for what it’s worth I promise to try to look it up on my own, but can someone explain the ‘Fld’ stat a little more? As in, I assume it regards fielding, as Miggy has the biggest negative, which I would guess largely factors in range…but how would McCutchen be the only other guy on this list with a negative in the category, while Braun has a 4.7?

    Do my eyes deceive me that much when I watch McCutchen and Braun play defense? Because I know who I would rather have in my OF for defensive purposes out of those two, and it ain’t Braun.

    Thanks.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      I honestly don’t know nearly enough to answer this properly, but I would assume that the Fld stat is positionally adjusted – ie, Ryan Braun might have a positive number in left field because he’s above league average at left field specifically, but he’s still not good enough to play center.

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      • Scott McKenzie says:

        Okay, thanks. I think you have to be right, that it must be position-specific. Still, I’d like to find the Fld numbers for all the starting CFs over that year, because it still seems out of whack for McCutchen to be that far in the negative, even relative to other CFs. As an admittedly casual viewer of Pirate games, I’m just trying to reconcile how a guy whom I rarely see make egregious errors or not be able to get to balls (and has received two Gold Gloves, IIRC) would get that score. Perhaps it’s his arm?

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      • LTG says:

        WBEM is on the right track. Fld is runs saved/lost compared to an average defender at the position in MLB that year. To begin you should know two things. First, the positional adjustment in WAR accounts for a defensive bonus over a replacement defender at the position. So, McCutchen’s defensive prowess over Braun’s is already reflected in the bonus McCutchen receives from playing CF while Braun plays LF. Second, UZR takes a long time to become reliable, like 3 years and even then the subjectivity of the observations makes some squirmish. It is better to look at UZR over a long period and approximate than to focus on a single year’s results alone.

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        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          Not to mention that UZR can be pretty screwy with adjusting to defensive positioning and the like.

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        • Scott McKenzie says:

          Cool, thanks all. Love to have more stats and ratings to take a look at, so thanks for the clarification!

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        • Ignatius says:

          I’m sure this has been brought up before, but why don’t we use a larger, more stable sample of UZR when determining WAR? It seems like we get some very skewed single-year War totals because of UZR fluctuations.

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  14. Poinmonster says:

    Keith Hernandez has an amusing fatherly/big brotherly love for David Wright that comes through in his Met broadcasts and charts like this make me think I know why: both are very good players in New York who people don’t quite realize are elite. Hernandez has a legit Hall of Fame case but got no love in the voting. If you asked the baseball following masses to give their top ten most valuable players of the last year, how many would put down Wright? Don’t know if I would, and I’m a Mets fan.

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  15. Nick says:

    His first free agent contract is going to be hillarious.

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    • YanksFanInBeantown says:

      He’ll have just finished his age 24 season when he signs it. I’d pay 360 million for Harper’s age 25-36 seasons.

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      • dannyrainge says:

        He grew up idolizing Mickey Mantle and the Yankees are his favorite team (at least growing up…ummm which he is still doing i guess…) so I expect him to bust his tail and try to win a chip with the Nats so he can leave more ceremoniously than Lebron did. (cross-sports reference ftw)

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      • Mark R. Walter says:

        “I’d pay 360 million for Harper’s age 25-36 seasons.”

        Hey, me too!

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        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          So would Ted Lerner.

          If he leaves the Nats, who can pay him, it’ll be to go to his favorite team growing up, not the Dodgers.

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  16. Maverick Squad says:

    As a Nats fan, watching him is awesome. His bat is so explosive, it just leaps off the bar. His hustle is insane – although he tends to go overboard and run himself out. And his plate discipline is just getting better and better- if it continues he’ll be Bondsian.
    Free agent at 25 should end up biggest free agent contract ever. Washington might still be able to retain – they do have the possibility to end up a high payroll franchise.

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  17. MDL says:

    I’m surprised to see that Harper has a negative BsR. I’ve had relatively little exposure to his game but I always thought he had good speed and presumed he could run the base paths well. Can any Nats fans shed some light on this?

    On a related note, holy shit Mike Trout.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      One of the (few) parts of the game he has not yet mastered is when to steal and when not to steal. He makes some headlong mistakes on the basepaths, although his aggressive ways have also stretched singles into doubles and doubles into triples.

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      • Anon21 says:

        BsR doesn’t take into account SB or CS–those are factored into WAR as they are. BsR is just taking or not taking extra bases on hits, tagging up on fly balls… maybe a few other things, as well?

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        • philosofool says:

          I thnk that changed this offfseason. wOBA used to include SB and CS, but that was changed and it’s not in BsR. I could be wrong about that.

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        • Anon21 says:

          No, if you recall seeing something like that I bet you’re right. Honestly, it does make more sense to have BsR cover everything conventionally associated with baserunning.

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      • willl says:

        He’s also way too over aggressive in turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples.

        He’s been thrown out several times this season attempting that. I imagine the same principles apply to extending extra base hits as it does to stolen bases. You have to be successful at least 66% of the time for it to be worth it. Harper’s aggressiveness is a blessing and a curse. Once he learns to refine it, his BsR should be one of the best in baseball.

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  18. Clint says:

    Couple of questions for fellow FanGraphers:

    1) what is a Bryce Harper contract extension going to look like if things continue on this path

    2) any chance in Hell the Nationals are able to sign him to an extension when the time comes?

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    • ZZ says:

      1.How can we possibly make even an educated guess what the contract will look like? Does anybody think Boras will advise Harper to sign an extension? If not, then we are talking about a negotiation that is 6 off-seasons away. Think about the last few off-seasons, and the explosions in baseball revenue from TV contracts with the ensuing ballooning in top-end player contracts. To outsiders, that was pretty much unpredictable a year ago, let alone six years ago. What if there is another explosion in revenue that causes FA salaries to spike beyond what we can imagine, making the A-Rod contract just a starting point for Harper? What if this current TV revenue has encouraged teams to overstretch budgets, the FA market stagnates, and Harper’s mega contract ends up being close to A-Rod’s? What if a Mike Illitch type owner says screw it, pay the man? My point is, there are a lot of factors that have absolutely nothing to do with Bryce Harper that will determine how much Bryce Harper gets paid. 6 years away, we have pretty much zero chance of hazarding any sort of reasonable guess.

      2.I’d hazard a guess that it’s a nonzero chance and possibly a significant chance, but 6 years out it’s nigh impossible to know. The Nationals have a payroll of roughly 114 million, good for 12th in the majors. However, their payroll increased by 40% over the last offseason. If they can continue making it to the playoffs (Which doesn’t sound unreasonable for a team with such a promising young core and a sound front office) for a majority of the next six years with a few deep runs and perhaps a world series sprinkled in, their revenues will continue to increase and that should be reflected in the payroll. They still have a relatively new stadium that is situated right on a metro line, which makes for easy access. As Wendy Thurm pointed out, the Nationals are in negotiations to substantially increase their yearly payouts from the MASN network. While a resolution from that front may not come close, even a result in the middle would given them another increased form of revenue. Bottom line, the Nationals have the potential to increase their payroll to the extent at which they can at least compete with the heavy hitters for Harper’s services, but a lot of that will have to do with their performance over the next six years, the result of their TV negotiations, and just how willing they may feel to shouldering a potential mega-contract.

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  19. Drew says:

    How come the table posted here and the one referenced via the link don’t match?

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    • dlk1100 says:

      heh, yeah – Harper’s at no. 12 on the board i’m seeing at that link…

      and Chase Headley’s at no. 8 with 6.6 WAR.

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    • Jon L. says:

      It’s a rolling 365 days, so the snapshot in the article captured one recent time point, and since then games a year old have dropped off and new games have been played. For instance, the game in which Chase Headley had three extra-base hits. Harper was pretty special when the article was written, but now times have changed, and he’s a tad overrated.

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  20. Clayton Thompson says:

    I’ve been going through Ken Burns’ “Baseball” for the second time since this season started. Episode 3 or 4 – forgive me I don’t remember which one – is basically all about Babe Ruth. All of these people telling stories about the Babe, how great he was, the impact he made.

    I know Bryce Harper isn’t Babe Ruth. But I caught myself shaking my head with the biggest grin on my face watching the Nats game at a bar a couple of weeks ago when Harper hit an opposite field home run. Even if Harper doesn’t pan out, isn’t his potential just extremely exciting? The fact that we may be watching a guy that you could compare to Williams makes me so happy, and thankful to the big guy upstairs that we have baseball.

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  21. cass says:

    Dave, your numbers seem to be off for home runs before age-21 season. Harper is tied for 9th with Ted Williams at 31, but Mel Ott had 61 home runs, so Harper needs to hit 30 more to tie that record. Possible, but certainly not a given.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=1871&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=14,20&filter=&players=0&sort=6,d

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