Has Bryce Harper Lived up to the Hype?
Almost exactly nine years ago to the day the prodigal son Bryce Harper graced the front page of ESPN magazine while still playing baseball at Las Vegas High School.
Bryce could hit balls 570 feet, he could throw a ball at 96 MPH, he was an absolute can’t miss who was going to change a generation of baseball players. At 16 years-old, Bryce Harper was said to be the Lebron James of baseball. Bryce then decides to leave high school two years early, get his GED, and enroll in CSN to play community college baseball. After his stint playing for the Coyotes of CSN, Bryce was selected 1st overall by the Washington Nationals in 2010 and made his debut at the ripe age of 19 in 2012.
Bryce Harper is still young (26 in October) and is playing in his seventh major league season. Seven seasons allows us ask the question: was Bryce Harper worth all that hype?
One anonymous executive in baseball doesn’t believe so. As reported from a source within the league: “He’s simply overrated. The good ain’t worth the bad. He’s a losing player. Cares about himself more than the team. If I was in charge and had money, my team would not pursue him. We would use that money to sign 2-3 winning players.” The exec ended his tirade by saying “If he gets more than 10 years, $300 million, I’d be surprised. I would not give him 10 years period and certainly not at that AAV. He’s just not worth it. He’s a selfish, losing player.”
Harsh words from a man hiding behind anonymity.
Through six full seasons, Harper has won Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger award, 2015 MVP and voted a 5x All-Star. The awards say Harper has been pretty dang good so far.
But still, was Harper worth all the hype surrounding him at age 16? Was he worthy of the “Chosen One” or was that magazine playing on the Harry Potter trend that was so big that year?
Dive down a little further into the statistics. Bryce is only a lifetime .281 hitter, he has only hit more than 30 home runs in a season once (2015 with 42) never eclipsed more than 100 RBI’s in a season, and only two seasons in which his wins Above replacement has been above a 5.0 (a 5.0 – 8.0 rating is an All-Star quality player).
Bryce Harper has never won a Gold Glove, and has never made it out of the National League Division series in the playoffs.
It would be an injustice not to mention the fact that Harper’s career has been riddled with nagging injuries and that in his one and really only full season is Harper’s MVP season where he batted .330 for the year.
Keeping all that in mind, it is hard to judge whether Harper lived up to the hype, when you compare him to Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, and some other guys. Some can make a valid case that maybe Harper didn’t deserve a cover. Time will only tell if he’s on top, or faded out.
He is however, a Las Vegas local, through and through:
I’m so proud to be born and raised in Las Vegas and so proud to call the @GoldenKnights my team! To be able to root for a team from my home town for the first time in my life was the most fun I’ve ever had! Now I understand what it means to be a fan! What a year fellas!⚔️ #VGK
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) June 8, 2018
Has Harper lived up to the hype? Let us know in the comments below!