Washington Nationals 2015 Player Review: Bryce Harper


Our roster review series continues with the player who got the highest grade of the season, Bryce Harper

As we continue our player reviews for the 2015 Washington Nationals’ season, we get to the player that continues to dominate the national headlines this week. Earlier this month, Bryce Harper was awarded the National League MVP, the first one in the history of the Nats. At age-22, Harper had a fantastic season for the Nats, even though the team failed to reach its goal of the postseason.

Yes, Harper didn’t get his ring, but he got a bunch of hardware this offseason. Whether it was a MVP, a silver slugger, the Hank Aaron Award, Most Outstanding Player in the NL (Players’ Association), or the two E-Surance MLB awards he won (best Major Leaguer and best everday player), Harper deserved each one of those accolades.

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In 153 games this season, Harper had a slash line of .330/.460/.649 with 42 home runs, 99 RBI’s, 118 runs scored, 124 walks, a 1.109 .OPS, and a 9.9 WAR. He led the National League in runs, home runs, slugging, and .OPS, and was second in batting average and walks.

When I joined District On Deck in January, one of the players I was excited to write about on a daily basis was Harper. Even though injuries prevented him from reaching his potential in the past, he showed this season that his at-bats are something you have to stop what you are doing and watch what might happen next.

Back in spring training, I had a conversation with my fellow co-editor, Pablo Roa, about Harper and the plate discipline he was showing when he was one of the leaders in walks at the time. Back when I saw that, I knew it would be a special season for Harper if he stayed healthy, but I never imagined he would have this type of season in an All-Star year.

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As you examine the right fielder’s numbers more closely, he did not hit lower than .286 in any given month (April). He drove in double digit runs in every month except August (nine RBI’s in 98 at-bats). Plus, he was an excellent hitter at Nats Park this year. He had a slash line of .345/.448/.682 with 23 home runs and 53 RBI’s.

There are so many memories to look back on about Harper’s year, but if I had to pick one moment, it would be that torrid stretch he had in the month of May. In a month where Harper hit .360 with 13 home runs and 28 RBI’s, it was a three-day stretch from May 6-May 8 that stole the show. He hit six home runs over that span, which included a three home run game against the Marlins and a walk-off home run against the Braves (one of his two walk-off hits in 2015).

While Harper did get thrown out a few times, including late in some games, and being involved in the Jonathan Papelbon incident in September, he did show a lot of maturity in his fourth year in the league. For me, he has come a long way from a player that was once voted the most overrated player in the game.

The main question for Harper going into the 2016 season is can he duplicate what he did in 2015? If you listen to what will soon be his former teammate, Ian Desmond, there might be more greatness to come from Harper in the future, especially if he gets aggressive on the bases:

Next: What Nats Fans Should Be Thankful For

While Harper’s future in the Nation’s Capital continues to be a topic for conversation and will be for the next couple of years, let’s take a minute to look back and remember a historic season by one of the game’s very best. To me, this grade was probably the easiest one to do in our roster review series.