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Thursday, November 1, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: BRYCE HARPER OUTFIELDER FREE AGENT

While shortstop Manny Machado may have something to say about it, free agent outfielder Bryce Harper is ready to set records in terms of the massive contract he is expected to ink sometime over the winter in entering the open market at just 26.  Harper certainly did what he could to maximize his earnings potential in 2018 as he hit 34 homers, drove in 100 batters, and scored 103 runs for a surprisingly listless Washington Nationals team.  What was also encouraging to see was Harper stealing 13 bases which were the second-highest total of his career and came just a year after compiling only 4 in 2017.  It wasn't all positive however as Harper's average struggled to reach even .220 during the early summer and he needed a hot to finish to post a still ugly .249 mark.  What is really shocking is that this is the second time in the last three seasons Harper has failed to hit .250.  A lot of that volatility has been as a result of some rapidly fluctuating BABIP marks and in 2018 that number was slightly in the unlucky realm at .289 but also WAY down from .356 the season prior when Harper batted .319.  What we do then is look at some of the advanced metrics and here it is mostly good as Harper walks at some of the highest rates in baseball which will only help a batting average but his strikeouts have trended up of late in rising to 24.3 last season.  Since it is tough to get a true gauge here given all the conflicting numbers, we instead should fixate on the supreme power game and remaining speed in keeping Harper as a late first-round or even early second-round pick given the addition of some new names at the top of the overall rankings.
2019 PROJECTION:  .288 35 HR 97 RBI 104 R 11 SB 

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