By: Noah Wright
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
Bryce Harper is one of the best young players in The MLB, but many fans compare him to other young star Mike Trout, and some saying he rivals all time greats like Vladimir Guerrero, and Dave Winfield, but does he really deserve all the praise he receives? Let's compare him to today’s stars, yesteryear’s stars, and why he does, or does not deserve the praise he gets.
How he compares to today’s stars:
Harper has proven he can be an MVP caliber right fielder, but let's look how he compares to other young players, in WAR the last 3 seasons:
Bryce Harper: 16.2 WAR
Kris Bryant: 19.7 WAR
Mike Trout: 26.5 WAR
Carlos Correa: 16.6 WAR
As you can see, he has the lowest WAR compared to the other 3 stars above, but that does not mean he’s is a bad player. Of 2 of the 3 years the WAR was taken from, Harper won an MVP (2015), and a silver slugger(also 2015), along with batting above the slashline of .315/.410/.590, and showing good defense in both years (2015: 9 DRS, -2.4 UZR. 2017: 8 assists, 4 DRS, 2.6 UZR).
How he compares to stars of the past:
ESPN ranked Bryce Harper 88 of 100 on their all time, which in my mind is absurd (at least, as Harper is right now), but how does he compare to some of the players that they ranked below him, or slightly above him?
(war taken from best season of player’s career)
Bryce Harper: 10 WAR
Dave Winfield: 8.3 WAR
Vladimir Guerrero: 7 WAR
Harper’s best season, 2015, is easily one of the best seasons by an outfielder in the past decade. Only Mike Trout has produced a WAR above 10 since 2005 for position players. His 2015 season WAR of 10 ranks 53rd all time in one season. While he has some numbers that rival hall of fame players, Harper is still playing, unlike the two I mentioned in the table above.
Yes, Bryce Harper is overrated, but I would not say by much. I think he is overrated because of the comparisons to today’s guys like Mike Trout, or a legend, like Vladimir Guerrero. While I think he has the potential to rival those guys, he has not shown the consistency, both in performance, and health. For example, since Trout has come to The MLB, he has hit at least 27 homers, and has batted .300+ 4 of his 6 seasons in the bigs (missing .300 by one point in 2015, and batting .287 in 2014). The legendary Vladimir Guerrero, played at least 140 games 12/14 seasons after his rookie season in 97’. Harper though, has only batted over .300 twice out of his 6 big league seasons. He also has only played 140+ games twice in his career, in 2015 and 2016. Also, if you take away his 2015 MVP season, Harper is only a .274 average hitter. Like I said, Harper easily has the potential to become a once in a lifetime star player, as he has shown it before, but until he can prove his consistency, I still consider him slightly overrated, but hey, that’s just me.