JABO: Bryce Harper’s All-Time Breakout

Bryce Harper was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player. This is because he was almost certainly the National League’s most valuable player. I don’t want to get into the argument about the definition of “value,” and there are some halfway decent arguments that might conclude Harper got topped, but Harper is a wonderfully deserving winner, and his win comes absent any real controversy. The voting was unanimous, I should probably say. Harper got every single first-place vote. Which meant zero first-place votes for Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto, who each had maybe the best seasons for a first baseman since Albert Pujols in his prime. The National League had some awesome players! Harper ran away with things.

This was the year Harper reached a new level. It was a level people long suspected would be achievable for a player with Harper’s skills, but you have to realize how uncommon it actually is for a player to perform around his ceiling. Mike Trout has spoiled us, but now Harper’s up there, too, having broken out. Here’s an easy way to visualize this: Before the year, at FanGraphs, we published player projections. Player projections are everywhere, and we had our own numbers. Then players subsequently posted real numbers. It can be fun to compare the actual numbers and the projected numbers, and here’s a table of the 10 hitters who batted at least 500 times and who beat their projected OPS figures by the most:

Read the rest on Just A Bit Outside.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Yes, Beltre moved into a hitter’s graveyard and that’s why he had a crazy career year right before he was a free agent that he never came close to duplicating. *wink wink*