Bryce Harper has been the most transcendent player in the first half of the 2015 season, whether its putting up Triple-Crown type numbers to start the season or breaking Buster Posey‘s fan vote record for the All-Star Game by more than 6.3 million votes. When you think about first half MVP in the National League, the only name that should stand out to you is the Washington Nationals 22-year-old right fielder. Harper has slashed .344/.471/.714 on the season with 25 home runs, 60 RBI’s, scored 58 runs and has three stolen bases.
Harper has sky rocketed this season compared to his first three major league seasons and a lot of that success can be credited to the increase of his patience at the plate. Through 75 games, he has walked 62 times, already passing his previous career high of 61 walks from 2013.
Over the past seven games, Harper has slashed .391/.533/.696, but we’ve seen his power numbers dip recently as he’s hit one home run and driven in three runs over his last nine games. That being said, the plate discipline is still here, He has drawn seven walks in his last seven games, including three walks in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Giants.
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At this moment, Harper may be the most exciting player to watch in the Majors. When he comes to the plate, I fully expect to see him hit a bomb. He is the definition of playing with his hair on fire. He gives 120% every game and it is refreshing to see. He has shown strides in improving his defense as well and has saved eight runs in right field in 2015.
Harper has been the most important player to his team this season, as evidenced by his 6.0 WAR (leads the league). If you took away his production from the Nationals ball club, they probably lose 10 to 15 more games, and are looking at third place in the National League East.
My bold prediction for the second half is that Harper just finishes short of winning the Triple Crown title. I think in the second half, we will see his average dip to about the .315 area. Even with his average dipping, it should still put him at the top of the MVP conversation and put the Nationals in a good position to make a deep playoff run.
Harper has always been referred to as one of, if not the most talented guy in the league. This season, we are seeing him put his five-tool skill set together. At the end of the season, I predict we will see Harper’s name revealed as the National League MVP.