3 – Bryce Harper (5%)
Should Bryce Harper re-sign with the Washington Nationals this offseason, then his chances of being the first Nat would instantly increase. But with his future still up in the air, we leave him here at third behind Stephen Strasburg.
Like Strasburg, Harper is a former number one overall pick that has grown up with the Nationals and been a key part of the rebuilding process the team went through. He was probably the face of the franchise in that time as he was easily in the top 10 players in baseball during spells of his first seven years in the bigs.
Harper also has that unanimous MVP award that he won in 2015 on his mantelpiece when he hit .330 with 42 home runs, 99 RBI and sported a truly remarkable 1.109 OPS. He also looked set for another MVP in 2017 before a wet base forced him to miss significant time towards the end of the year.
The flipside to his argument is that despite two amazing seasons, the rest of his career isn’t quite as special. He has three seasons with an OPS+ under 120, and two seasons where he hit under .250, including 2018 where he suffered a prolonged slump to start the seasons.
If his career continues on the path that it is currently on, he would have a pretty good chance of getting into Cooperstown. But, again, the biggest problem may be that Harper goes elsewhere this offseason and ends up cementing his legacy in another ballpark, ready to go in as a member of his new team.