He should be amazing this year. If you factor in his improvement curve and weigh it against games played, he’s setting up for a monster season. He played in 118 games last year which was 21 fewer than this rookie season. YET, he had only 2 fewer HR and 1 less RBI than the year before. In terms of total number of hits, he had a small drop to .98 per game played from 1.03. BUT, he had 5 MORE walks than the year before. Its certainly not breaking news to anyone that in 2014, The Bryce (should be) Right, but a couple questions still remain.
Can he stay healthy? Harper admitted that his injury was more significant than we realized last year. With his off-season training regimen, he should be loaded for bear. Add to that the education he has gotten by making mistakes. He knows he has to protect himself more in order to be of better long term value to the team.
So where do you put him in the lineup?
Last year he was faced with far too few opportunities to bat with RISP. In 2013, he ranked 6th on the team in At-Bats with RISP. Now, sure he was injured some, but 198th place for one of Major League Baseball’s top players is pretty bad. Out of the six Nats in front of him in number of ABs with RISP, only Werth and Laroche have better OBP and OPS.
Obviously Mike Rizzo is looking at all this and a lot more, and hopefully there is a plan to get Bryce more opportunity for RBIs. Games are won with RBIs, not solo shots.