Friday, August 10, 2012

Bryce Harper Groupies Will Hate Me For This

The Washington Nationals “Phenom”, Bryce Harper, is in quite a slump these days. He’s hitting just .176/.276/.265 since the all-star break, which gives him the lowest batting average and lowest OPS (.541) in the majors in the second half.
Apparently, part of his struggles is that umpires are being mean to him – let’s just say he had a little run in with one of MLB’s worst umpires, Angel Hernandez, last night.
Harper was even asked if he feels he has been pitched to differently in the second half and he suggested that pitchers have taken advantage of strike zones that have given opposing pitchers a few extra inches off the plate.
My suggestion to Harper is to stop whining and figure out the strikezone the umpire is calling that night, and then make your adjustments. The strikezone is rarely, if ever, fair to any one player (hitter or pitcher) and to suggest that it could possibly be more unfair for him is an insult to baseball and the umpires out there that actually try really hard to call a good game.
Many fans of the Nationals and Bryce Harper like to use the excuse that he’s still just 19 years old so some of his behavior can be attributed to being a bit immature – you know, because he’s so young.
The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout is only 20 years old and he has yet to declare himself bigger than the game.
The Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado just turned 20 years old on July 6 and, after going 2 for 4 with a triple last night in his major league debut, he’s not declaring himself – or being declared - Baby Jesus over all of baseball either.
Now, before some of you start googling my name to find out where to send your hate mail to (please direct all hate mail to and address it to Jon), let me ask this:
Why would you Harper fanatics anoint the kid the King of all Baseball, or the Phenom before he has even done anything substantial?
The “Phenom” was the instant National League Rookie of the Year winner before the season began and even now that he’s batting just .251 with 10 home runs on the season he will still garner far more of the RoY vote than he deserves, in my opinion.
Look at the four players listed below – how many of them would you choose to have on your team over Harper right now?
Player A
.287/.354/.421 batting line with six home runs and 14 stolen bases over 321 at-bats.
Player B
.272/.342/.399 batting line with six home runs and three stolen bases over 386 at-bats.
Player C
2.85/3.21 ERA/FIP with a 1.09 WHIP and 97 strikeouts over 132.2 innings of work.
Player D
3.97/3.80 ERA/FIP with a 1.35 WHIP and 96 strikeouts over 138.1 innings of work.
If you said to yourself that you wouldn’t take any of the four players listed over Harper right now, just for this season, then you are out of your mind and there is no hope for you – please stop reading…now.
Player A is Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki who would be the leading candidate for National League Rookie of the Year among position players.
Player B is the San Diego Padres first baseman/outfielder Yonder Alonso. I consider him to be the second best position player in the N.L. RoY debate.
Player C is Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks and he is having the best season of all rookie pitchers in the National League.
Player D is Lucas Harrell of the Houston Astros who is having a pretty good season considering he’s playing for the worst team in all of baseball, gets no run support, and the defense behind him fails him just about every start.
What do all four of these players have in common?
I would select every single one of them ahead of Bryce Harper for N.L. RoY right now. Wade Miley would be my actual choice for N.L. RoY, but all four of these players would get my vote for what they’ve done this season before Harper would.
So you see – declaring Bryce Harper the shoo-in for National League Rookie of the Year as well as the best player in the game today is quite preposterous. Harper isn’t even the best rookie in the National League, let alone the best player in the game today.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that Harper will be a great player one day – but that day is not today.

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