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Saturday, March 2, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: BRYCE HARPER OUTFIELDER PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

While shortstop Manny Machado made a run for the top contract of the winter, fellow free agent outfielder Bryce Harper blew away the field when he finally inked a 13-year deal worth $330 million earlier in the week with the Philadelphia Phillies.  The move was as good as could be for Harper in terms of ballpark potency as he goes to a launching pad in Philly that should allow him to post his best ever power numbers and make a run at his second MVP.   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.  Add in the new ballpark boost and Harper is a slam-dunk pick in the middle of the first round. 
2019 PROJECTION:  .288 35 HR 97 RBI 104 R 11 SB 

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