Since his call-up in 2012, Harper has had a reasonable claim has the most exciting player in the entire sport, so of course he deserves a spot on this list. And now that Harper is finally in his contract year, the spotlight is sure to shine even brighter on the 25-year-old outfielder.
It’s no coincidence that Harper’s presence in Washington has coincided with the franchise’s most successful run ever. Harper has piled plenty of division titles, All-Star nods, Silver Sluggers, and an MVP award onto his resume in just six seasons. He has provided some of the team’s highest highs, and been on the receiving end of some the team’s lowest lows.
Harper has been injured too often in a Nationals uniform, but he has been electrifying even more. He hits violent rockets deep into bleachers, hoses runners with heat-seeking missiles, and caroms around the field as his wild hair bounces free. At anytime, he could hit a ball harder than you’ve ever seen or ignite a bench-clearing brawl. He can’t help but fly close to the sun and, while sometimes he gets burned, you’re going to want watch every second.
There’s a real chance Harper leaves Washington this upcoming winter, particularly if he can get through an injury-free season in 2018. But, until that point, embrace Harper’s heroics and recklessness, because D.C. will probably never see another player like him.
(Unless he stays).