What to make of Bryce Harper’s second season in the majors. Most people will say that he had an OK year. He had good points and bad points and got hurt. Looking at his stat totals will paint that picture. 3.8 WAR (3rd on the team, worse than last year) He hit .274 (pretty good, but not great) 20 home runs and 58 RBI (fine, not a lot of RBI for a guy who hit 4th) less than 500 ABs (didn’t even quality). Most average or casual baseball fans will stop there. I know this because listening to sports radio in DC I heard the Harper season summary end there on the National’s flagship station (OK, it was the Junkies).
One of the problems you have when analyzing Harper’s season is that he missed an entire month, zero at bats in June. I am a big fan of wOBA and wRC+ to analyze player hitting. I like this stat because it, like batting average is not impacted by a player like Harper missing a month of the season. wOBA is the stat general managers use to calculate players total offensive contribution and wRC+ is a park adjusted stat that give a % rank of how good a player is compared to the average MLB player. Here is how Harper stacks up: Harper had a .371 wOBA and 137 wRC+.
Putting that into perspective
Harper was the 7th best hitting outfielder in baseball behind Trout, Werth, McCutchen, Choo, Holiday and Cuddyer. That’s it. That is the list.
The more interesting list is the players who Harper out hit this year. Stanton, Bautista, Pence, Beltran, Upton, Bruce and Adam Jones
If you want to take that out to all positions, he also out hit: Beltre, Molina, Longoria, Posey, Zimmerman, Fielder and Hosmer,
How does this rate to his stats last year? He improved wOBA .019 points and wRC+ by 16%. Yep he was better this year in an incremental way you would expect year to year.
Is it possible for Harper to be underrated. Can he be one of the best players of his generation, appear on national magazines, head national TV ads and still be underrated.
- Can Harper qualify with enough at bats this year: It is going to be close (halfstreetheartattack.com)
- Bryce Harper Sophomore Slump? (getrealbaseball.com)
- The Angry Faces of Bryce Harper and the Nationals (halfstreetheartattack.com)
- Bryce Harper second player ever with two 20-homer seasons before turning 21 (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Year End: Jayson Werth is one of the best hitters in baseball and had the best season of his career (halfstreetheartattack.com)
- Harper: No surgery; working to get ‘big as a house’ (cbssports.com)