Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper our player of the week

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Bryce Harper
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Bryce Harper /

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper continued his MVP-caliber season this week, leading to him being named District on Deck’s player of the week.

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has cooled off a bit since getting off to an otherworldly start in 2017, but is still putting together an MVP-caliber season. He struggled and battled through injuries in 2016 after being unanimously named NL MVP in 2015, but is back with a vengeance this year.

Through his first 73 games this season, Harper has a slash line of .313/.421/.578 and has bashed 18 homers. The Nationals have one of the most dangerous lineups in the league, and Harper plays a crucial role in the heart of it.

On top of his outstanding offensive prowess, he is a solid defender in right field. His best attribute in the outfield is undoubtedly his arm, which ranks among the best in the league. He already has six assists, which is fourth in the majors.

This is especially impressive because some of the players in front of him, such as Billy Hamilton, are not necessarily known for having strong arms. Everyone in the league is well aware that Harper has an excellent arm, so not as many people attempt to run on him, thus providing less opportunities for assists.

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Harper continued his phenomenal season this week, reaching base in all seven games and extending his on-base streak to nine games. He also led the potent Nats lineup in quite a few offensive statistical categories.

He played in all seven games and led the team in hits (nine), doubles (three), walks (seven), batting average (.375), on-base percentage (.516), on-base plus slugging (1.016), and total pitches seen (132).

A few of these stats stand out. First of all, he managed to lead the team in both hits and walks. This is very difficult to accomplish because if you walk a lot, you have less opportunities to hit and vice versa. Harper led the National League in walks and finished the week with at least one walk in five consecutive games.

Another stat that stood out is his on-base percentage. His ridiculous on-base percentage is a product of his plethora of hits and walks. This week, over half of his plate appearances resulted in him getting on base! That’s an insane stat and while it is unsustainable, it sure is fun to think about.

Harper’s best game of the week was Sunday against Cincinnati. Scott Feldman started against the Nats and shut them down over seven innings, but Harper still managed to go 3-for-3 with a double and a walk. The Nats were only able to record eight hits, so Harper contributed nearly half of their hits.

Harper also flashed some leather on Sunday. After temporarily losing the ball in the sun, he was able to find it and make a nice sliding catch near the wall. This game is a perfect example of how Harper is capable of making an impact on both sides of the ball.

Next: Our conversation with ESPN's Tim Kurkjian

Bryce Harper has had a fantastic first half of the 2017 season, and the league has taken notice. He was the National League’s leading vote-getter in every All-Star game voting update and is likely to be named a starter when the rosters are announced tonight. He has been among the best players in the league so far this season, and must stay hot in order to lead the Nats on a deep postseason run.