Bryce Harper was the crown jewel of the offseason, and the Phillies were able to sign him. Just how big of an impact can he make this year?
When the news dropped that the Phillies signed Bryce Harper, they became the main talking point in Philadelphia. Even with the surging Sixers and Flyers and the ever-present Eagles, Harper was able to bring the most conversation back to the Phillies for the first time in years. His 13-year, $330 million contract certainly raised some eyebrows, but one thing was clear: baseball will take the town over again, just like it did around the turn of the decade.
In his final year with the Nationals, Harper started off slow, hitting just .214 with 102 strikeouts in 94 games. He still hit 23 home runs and posted a .833 OPS, but it was not the kind of start he wanted for his contract year.
Things turned around for Harper during All-Star week as he won the Home Run Derby. His production skyrocketed during the last two and a half months of the season, posting a .300/.434/.538 line, 11 home runs, and 46 runs batted in during 65 games. There was a deal in place for him to go to the Astros at the trade deadline, but Nationals ownership rejected the move to try and make a last-ditch run at the playoffs.
Throughout his career, Harper has had his peaks and valleys. At his best, he is an MVP-caliber player capable of putting up 10 wins above replacement. Even at his worst, Harper is still capable of All-Star production. Just what can we expect from the new face of the franchise in his first season?