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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: BRYCE HARPER OUTFIELDER WASHINGTON NATIONALS

$400 million?  $300 million?  No matter what the sum of the expected massive contract that pending Washington Nationals free agent Bryce Harper nets this winter, his 2018 numbers almost don't even matter given the still very young age and overall insane offensive ability here.  While Harper still has just one 30-home run season under his belt in 6 MLB campaigns, he remained locked in as a first-round pick in almost all fantasy baseball leagues this past spring given the brand and fresh memories of his still unfathomable 2015 campaign.  While there have been some issues we will get into, Harper generally has been terrific as he went into Tuesday's games with the following numbers:

.212
19 HR
43 RBI
41 R
6 SB
23.6 K/9
17.0 BB/9
.208

What obviously stands out here is the hideous batting average and it is almost hard to believe Harper would be capable of such a terrible number there.  But in another reminder of how random average can be, take a look at his .208 BABIP which is so incredibly unlucky that I can't remember that number ever going that low for someone this late in the season and who has good speed like Harper has.  As a result, I say you can give Harper almost a complete mulligan there and soon you should expect the hits to start falling in and the average taking a sharp turn upwards.  I mean Harper's average has fluctuated wildly the last three-plus seasons (twice going over .315 and twice going under .250 in that span) but the 17.0 BB.9 is as good as it gets and reinforces how that average can be tossed out into the fluke bin.

In terms of the rest of the numbers, Harper is on pace for over 40 home runs and his runs and RBI number are just fine.  Add in a few steals and Harper has hit the mark in four offensive categories.  So while we still don't know where Harper will end up in free agency, the bottom line is that he remains at the age of 25 as good as it gets in today's fantasy baseball and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon.


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