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MLB MLB Editorials

Bryce Harper has Finally hit his Stride in Baseball

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper was the definition of hype. The former number one overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft hasn’t really been all that despite winning rookie of the year in 2012 and two all-star selections in his career. The numbers haven’t been as great that many expected. However, in his third season in Major League Baseball, Harper has skyrocketed to one of baseball’s best in just the month of May and even his last 11 games as he has really torn it up.

Harper is batting .338 with 14 home runs and 37 runs batted in so far this season. Harper is only eight home runs away from tying his career high for home runs in a single season which he set back in 2012. Harper also needs just 22 more runs batted in to tie his career high for runs batted in for a single season. That was also set back in the 2012. Let’s dive deeper just to see how much Bryce Harper has really improved other than just your old plain statistics you find on baseball cards and let’s start some comparisons.

Harper has finally shown the raw power that we all heard about five years ago and is now waiting back on the ball more allowing him more power in his hips to drive the ball out of the park. The proof can also be found it Bryce’s longest home run of his career. The home run came this season versus the Philadelphia Philles on April 18th which traveled 461 feet.

Let’s take a look at Bryce Harper’s numbers compared to one of the games best players when he was Harper’s age: Miguel Cabrera.

Bryce Harper: 1,659 plate appearances, 12% walk percentage, 22% strikeout percentage, 0.212 isolated power (measures a batter’s raw power), 0.324 batting average on balls in play, .278 batting average, .364 on base percentage, .490 slugging percentage, .369 weighted on-base average (measures a player’s overall offensive contribution per at bat), and 134 weighted runs created plus.

Miguel Cabrera: 1,716 plate appearances, 9% walk percentage, 21% strikeout percentage, 0.223 isolated power, 0.343 batting average on balls in play, .300 batting average, .366 on base percentage, .523 slugging percentage, .377 weighted on-base average, and 131 weight runs created plus.

Pretty incredible stuff. If Harper keeps going at the rate he is at, he will finish with a .287 batting average, a .382 on base percentage and a slugging percentage of .524. With the rate he is at,  Harper would then be a career .280 hitter with an on-base percentage of .368 and slugging percentage of .497 with a .373 weighted on-base average and 136 weighted runs created plus. The 136 weighted runs created plus would also be something incredible for Harper, placing in a group with baseball legends and some of baseball’s best players.

Players who have stepped to the plate 2,000 times by the age of 22 and have a weight runs created plus of 136 and above:

Mike Trout: 165

Ty Cobb: 159

Mickey Mantle: 149

Mel Ott: 147

Ken Griffey Jr. had a weighted runs created plus of 134, and Alex Rodriguez had a weighted runs created plus of 130. As noted above, Cabrera had a weighted runs created plus of 131.

I’d say this Bryce Harper kid is something pretty special.

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