Philadelphia Phillies fans have 330 million reasons to have high expectations for Bryce Harper. There is no question Harper has superstar talent all over him but how exactly does that translate into numbers.
Power, Power, and even more Power
Watching Bryce Harper take swings during batting practice or in a game always has pure power. In 2016, Harper launched a 481-foot home run for his longest in his career. He also didn’t waste any time in a Phillies uniform hitting a 465-foot home run for his first as a Phillie.
Having pure power is one of the biggest reasons hype was generated with having Harper in a Phillies uniform. But for the Phillies even with having a hitter’s friendly ballpark, Harper has concerns in Citizen Bank Park. Through 299 plate appearances, Harper has only been able to hit 18 home runs. The biggest concern with Harper’s numbers at Citizens Bank Park is the .244 batting average.
For Phillies fans, Harper’s career in a Phillies uniform is a small sample size. Over years past, he usually gets off to a fast start in a season but has yet to do so with the Phillies. It’s a reason for concern. But luckily for the Phillies, he doesn’t have to carry the team day in and day out with having talent top to bottom in the lineup. At Harper’s current pace he will come up short for hitting 30 home runs this season. For the Phillies and the contract size, those totals would be a disappointment.
Through Harper’s eight-year career he carries a .277/.387/.510 slash line. These are the type of numbers the Phillies paid for this offseason with a 13-year, $330 million dollar contract. Excluding this year, Harper has not been able to hit for an
Getting on base is the most consistent stat line throughout his career. He has been able to eclipse 100 walks in a season three times so far and is on pace for 115 plus walks this season in a Phillies uniform. Even during a hitting slump like he had recently been in, the walks have been a team advantage giving teammates Rhys Hoskins and JT Realmuto following him in the order RBI opportunities.
For a power hitter in the Major League, strikeouts are common. But for Harper strikeouts have been increasing over the years. Last year he struck out a career-high 169 times which ended up being a whopping 38 more strikeouts than his previous season high total from the 2015 season. This year as a Phillies Harper is on pace for over 200 strikeouts. A stat line Phillies fans will regrettably remember from the Ryan Howard years.
Expectations for Bryce Harper leave room for improvement
Bryce Harper has left much to be desired so far. Phillies fans know the potent player he can be with watching him in a Washington Nationals uniform over the past seven years. Harper has been trying to find new superstitions to take him to the next level. This season started off with him using Nick Williams’ bat to get him in his first hot streak. Harper has also experimented with his traditional arm sleeve by leaving it in the clubhouse. His latest superstition has been going up to the plate without batting gloves. Harper also started waving to his teammates every time he got on base, a superstition the whole team has adopted.
The pressure is high along with expectations for Bryce Harper. So for Harper now getting into his second full month of baseball in