The one blemish on Harper’s phenomenal career thus far has been his inability to remain healthy at times. He came into the league as a 19-year-old wanting to do everything he could to prove he belonged.
Early in his career, Harper suffered a few injuries from immature, hard-nosed, plays, such as running into the wall at full speed trying to make a catch. He has now matured and does not suffer these types of injuries, but has still struggled to remain healthy at times.
Most recently, we saw Harper tear up his knee on a wet first base. He only hyperextended it, but it could have been much worse.
Part of the blame is obviously on the wet base, but part of it falls on Harper as well. He was hustling down the line in an attempt to beat out an infield single, but the conditions did not allow this much hustle.
The game circumstances also did not require this much hustle. It was the first inning of a matchup with the unraveling Giants in August. The Nats had the division just about locked up and it was the first inning. His hustle is obviously appreciated, but he could benefit from toning it down at times.
After Harper returned from the injury, he was not the same. He missed nearly two months and had to rush his recovery to return in time for the postseason. Returning from any injury is difficult, but rushing made it even harder.
If Harper is able to remain healthy in 2018, he could have his best year yet. However, if he battles injuries again, he could struggle.