Bryce Harper: 2012 National League All-Star, ROY and MVP?
Wednesday June 13th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: It’s finally Bryce Harper’s time. He’s been up for just about a month and a half and he’s already making a contribution. Some were a tad bit skeptical as to how he would break into the league (including myself), but with the way Harper is playing now, there isn’t a doubt in my mind about his readiness for The Show and the Midsummer Classic. Harper clearly hasn’t had a problem producing, hitting a solid .303 with seven home runs and 19 runs batted in, to go along with three stolen bases in 39 games. For the amount of games he’s played, with these numbers he should named be an All-Star in 2012. If he gets voted in to start, he would be the youngest positional starting player in MLB All-Star game history.
With the Nationals fans’ excitement behind him, Harper should have no problem getting the votes to get to Kansas City. Over the past few years, fans have elected some questionable players, most notably last year’s election of Derek Jeter, who got off to a slow start. Even if Harper isn’t a shoo-in (which with his numbers, he is), he should be on the team. Harper hasn’t played enough to qualify for the batting leader board, but if he did, he would rank 13th among National League outfielders in average, and he is ahead in home runs of notables Justin Upton (5), Adrian Gonzalez (5) Pablo Sandoval (5), and fellow rookie star Mike Trout (6).
Of course the All-Star Game has always been a stage for the best players to compete against one another. But for the past number of years, it has had a bigger meaning. Home field advantage for the World Series is at stake, even though it still does serve as a showcase. Almost every fan would love to see a guy like Harper play due to his explosive skills. Each player tends to play a maximum of three innings, some just pinch-hitting. With all this said, why not have Harper play? It would only be a positive for the game. Harper’s numbers for the full season are mediocre at best, but for the short time he’s played, the numbers are enough to put him on the All-Star team. If, for some reason, he is not selected (write-in campaigns can be difficult), maybe Home Run Derby captain Matt Kemp would select him. The addition of Harper to the Home Run Derby would definitely add hype and increase viewership (and Harper might even have a shot at winning!)
In the National League as of right now, there’s only one other solid Rookie of the Year candidate in Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley. Miley is 7-2 with a 2.53 ERA and has 41 strikeouts, which makes him a legitimate Cy Young candidate. If Miley keeps up this performance, he would probably be the Rookie of the Year, providing Harper does not do anything sensational. Chances are good though, that Miley will falter at some point and might even be shut down towards the end of the year to protect his young arm.
Harper earning an MVP this year would be unrealistic unless he suddenly goes on a Josh Hamilton-like jag. With the performances of Carlos Beltran, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp, among others, Harper would definitely be out-voted. Harper will undoubtedly receive MVP votes in his future, and probably will win one or more in his career. With a season like he’s having at age 19, he still has plenty of room to improve. Although it’s hard to believe, Harper is still growing. As his frame fills out, his power will increase, inevitably producing more home runs. With a powerful Nationals lineup for the future alongside Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, Harper could have the opportunity to drive in over a hundred runs per year. Additionally, his good speed could easily produce 20-plus stolen bases.
With all the strength, speed, and talent Harper has, one can expect a 30 home run-100 RBI season in the near future. Once he gets to this level, Bryce Harper will be a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate. The future is a lot closer than you may think.
***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, MLB reports Intern. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***
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Posted on June 13, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged all-star game, baseball, bryce harper, Kansas city, matt kemp, Mike Trout, mlb, mlb draft, nationals, phenom, prospect, royals, ryan braun, ryan zimmerman, washington, young talent. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.