Yes Bryce Harper didn’t put video-game numbers last season as we all expected him to do. Yes the batting average plummeted horribly to an ugly .243. Yes Harper went from 42 home runs in 2015 to only 24 last season. I guess he stinks huh? In a performance that should change nothing about Harper’s status as a top tier player in fantasy baseball regardless of position, Bryce Harper no doubt had an “off year” by his insane standards. Going into 2016, nobody should have expected Harper to repeat his 42 homers, 118 runs, 99 RBI, and .330 average. Those type of numbers come along once in a blue moon and even Harper can’t be expected to maintain them. Also keep in mind that Harper goes into the 2017 season STILL just 24-years-old and with a few years of ceiling left to his name. Harper will be just fine folks so don’t for a second downgrade him past th early second round at worst. Now in terms of what happened a year ago, Harper was actually just fine with his advanced numbers as he actually IMPROVED on both his K/9 and BB/9 rates. So why the average drop? Try a very unlucky .264 BABIP which haunted Harper all season. Consider that in 2015, Harper’s BABIP was a sky-high .369. That is more than a 100-point drop on that front and so it is no shock Harper’s average dipped. Also don’t discount the fact that Daniel Murphy hitting in front of Harper got a whole bunch of fastballs that his teammate did not. With Murphy having an MVP-season himself in 2016, expect the fastballs to be more even from opposing pitchers in 2017. Finally don’t overlook the fact that Harper ran like never before in setting a career-best in steals with 21. If Harper continues to run like that when his offensive numbers shoot back up this season, we are talking about top-five production. If you choose to stupidly knock Harper for his 2016 performance, we will laugh all the way to the fantasy baseball bank in snatching him up.
2017 PROJECTION: .300 36 HR 95 RBI 110 R 17 SB