Without question, this is the biggest year of Bryce Harper’s career.
After the peaks of his 2015 MVP season to the valley of 2016’s underwhelming campaign, Harper starts 2017 with heavy expectations and tremendous burdens. When you had his powerful spring, at least eight home runs, it adds pressure.
Although he need not match his 42 home run and 99 RBI totals from two years ago—although, it would not hurt—Harper has to top his 24 homer performance from last year.
Because of his ability to draw walks, his on-base percentage was not horrible in 2016 at .373, but his batting average was atrocious at .243. Harper need not hit .330 again like two seasons ago, but his eye and swing must be better.
We know about his future contract demands. The prospect of Harper leaving is a main reason the Nationals are pushing so hard this year. Yes, there is talent on the farm, but no one can replace his power and speed right now.
Wherever he signs that massive free agent deal, Harper wants to show what he can due under pressure. He is a player you build a championship contender around. If he can get back to 2015 with the supporting cast he has, they can win it all.
If so, if Washington proves they will build around him, then he might stay. With Scott Boras and his relationship with the Nats, you never know.
Zimmerman and Jayson Werth can enjoy their contributions for what hopes to be the big year. For Harper, he needs it.