Bryce Harper is set to be a free agent in the winter, and he’s quickly showing why he may get a $400 million+ contract on the open market.
After Harper homered in the sixth inning of the Nationals’ game on Sunday in Cincinnati, a Reds fan yelled that Harper was “overrated!” in the ninth inning. Harper immediately made that fan look like a dummy.
1. Bryce Harper's up…
2. Someone yells "OVERRATED."
3. Bryce launches his SECOND HR of the game. pic.twitter.com/BTttlni4M2
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 1, 2018
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 1, 2018
And on Monday, the Braves played “The Imperial March” (Darth Vader’s Theme) at SunTrust Park as Harper approached the plate. On the first pitch, Harper cranked a three-run homer.
In the sixth inning, Braves fans also brought out the “overrated” nonsense, and Harper drew one of his four walks in the game.
Even after hitting a three-run home run tonight, Braves fans chant "overrated!" with Bryce Harper at the plate pic.twitter.com/VsgnaTSnca
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) April 3, 2018
Before grounding out in the ninth inning, Harper had reached base in eight straight plate appearances.
Here’s Bryce Harper’s last 8 plate appearances: HR, BB, HR, BB, HR, BB, BB, BB.
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) April 3, 2018
In 20 plate appearances this season, Harper has three homers, six walks, zero strikeouts, and a 1.717 OPS. That’ll do.
Of course, this isn’t exactly surprising. Harper was our most popular pick to win the NL MVP this season, and put together a 1.008 OPS last season (that even topped Giancarlo Stanton’s OPS, despite Stanton hitting 59 homers). In 2015, Harper put together a 10-WAR season (according to Baseball Reference), something that hasn’t been done by a player outside of Mike Trout since Barry Bonds did so in 2004.
Harper’s issue has been staying healthy; he was limited to 111 games in 2017, for example. But Harper clearly is healthy now, and at his peak, there isn’t a better non-Trout player in baseball.
And keep in mind: Harper is still just 25 years old! He’s six months younger than Aaron Judge.
He’s young, he’s insanely talented, and he’s out to remind everyone of that before his likely record-setting payday. And he’s off to a hell of a start to help lead the Nationals to a 4-0 record.