Phillies shouldn’t get worried after one bad Bryce Harper week
Bryce Harper has not been his best self in the last week or so, but Phillies fans shouldn’t get too worried about his performance.
I wondered how long it would take after the Phillies signed Bryce Harper it would take before I would have to write this article. Well, we made it a month at least.
After Harper struck out for the second time in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers, he received some boos from the fans in attendance. He told reporters that he probably would do the same thing after watching the team’s offensive performance.
As the newly-minted $330 million man, Harper will be under scrutiny his entire time as a Phillie. The New York Post uploaded what will surely be one of many posts talking about Philadelphia fans not being pleased with Harper’s performance in the coming years.
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Harper has certainly struggled in the last week; there’s no denying that. In his previous nine games, he has just three hits with six walks and 12 strikeouts. His three hits were impactful with two doubles and a home run, leading to six runs batted in. All this combines for a .107/.286/.286 line.
In this small sample size, it’s obvious Harper is struggling; he admits as much. With that said, it is still far too early to get worried about the team’s biggest star.
Altogether this year, Harper has a .240/.388/.490 line with six home runs and 20 runs batted in through 29 games. At this pace, he will hit 33 home runs and drive in 111 runs, which would be more than okay.
A substantial cause of concern is Harper’s strikeout rate, which has risen from 24.3% last year to 29.5% this year. His swinging strike rate has also increased from 12.9% last year to 16.4% this year, eighth-highest among qualified hitters. His 38 strikeouts are second-most in the National League.
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However, Harper has still pulled together good results despite his strikeout issues. He leads NL hitters with 23 walks and ranks eighth with 50 times on base. On the Phillies, Harper ranks second in on-base percentage and OPS and third in home runs and runs batted in. All in all, he has still been a significant offensive contributor.
Also, Harper’s numbers so far this year are considerably better than his numbers from the first half of last season when he was still an All-Star. His batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, and wRC+ are all currently higher than they were at the All-Star Break last year. What may seem disappointing now could still make Harper an All-Star this year.
It’s just too far early to get worried about Harper, especially since he has still been one of the more prominent offensive contributors on the team. Philadelphia is still in first place in the NL East with a 16-13 record, and there are more significant issues than Harper.