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Thursday, May 02, 2013

SoE: Normandin: Best Is Yet To Come For Bryce Harper

It’s too early in the season to make any hardcore declarations about what Harper is and isn’t doing—these things take time, you know—but we can get some ideas about possible developments from what is there. For one, Harper to this point has cut his strikeout ratio down to 15 percent, or a little less than what he produced in the high minors, rather than last year’s 20 percent of the time. It’s how he was hitting .344 entering action on Wednesday night, despite a batting average on balls in play of “only” .338. That latter figure is a lofty one, 44 points above the current league average BABIP, but unless strikeout figures are high, there tends to be some separation between standard average and BABIP’s version.

In addition, he’s boosted his walk rate from 9.4 percent to 13.1 percent. Like with strikeouts, it’s a bit early to say that he’s going to keep doing that, but you can infer that it’s likely an intentional shift by Harper: he’s seeing 4.16 pitches per plate appearance, up from last year’s already high 3.85. He was already disciplined, and seeing more major-league pitchers (and more importantly, their major-league pitches) is only going to help him improve his selectivity, and by extension, his production, as he waits for pitches he knows he can cause damage with and lays off those he cannot. His P/PA probably won’t stay that high all year, as pitchers might find a weakness and try to exploit it, but if Harper keeps hitting for power, it’s going to be difficult to outright challenge him, too.

That power is unbelievable right now, with Harper already having logged 16 extra-base hits, largely due to nine April homers. He won’t keep going yard on every third ball he hits, but he does have room to grow there: he hit a homer at about half that rate in 2012. You could easily see 30 homers out of him, or more, and you don’t even have to wait for what will likely be his peak years to see it: he’s nearly a third of the way there with over 130 games left on the schedule.

Thanks to Breen.

Repoz Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:21 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nats

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4432222)
In my role as young player pessimist, my desperate search for things to discourage us about Harper is coming up pretty empty. Let's see....

his baserunning value has cratered!

All of his numbers are believable except probably his HR/FB of 26%. McGwire I think was the best in "history" (it doesn't go back very far) and he had a few seasons above that but was only 22.5% for his career.

One thing I find amazing about this is that Harper has 110 PA in 27 games -- exactly 1/6 of a season. He has 1.8 WAR already. If he maintains this pace, he'll have 10.8 WAR for the year. Trout had 10.9 WAR in 2012.
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4432444)
Well he obviously took the whole, "Mike Trout is better then you are thing" very personally and decided to do something about it!
   3. There's a bustle in Misirlou's hedgerow Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:50 PM (#4432567)
Well he obviously took the whole, "Mike Trout is better then you are thing" very personally and decided to do something about it!

Roids, like Bonds in '99.
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4432568)

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