In the off season, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Happer to a 13-year, $330 million contract, instantly making him the face of the the franchise. What they’ve gotten in return so far hasn’t been Hall of Fame worthy. On the season, Harper is hitting .243 with 12 home runs and 50 runs batted in.
For comparison’s sake, Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers leads the league with a .358 batting average, 60 runs batted in, and 24 home runs. Defending NL MVP Christian Yelich has similar numbers; a .348 batting average, 59 runs batted in, and 28 home runs. So what’s going on with Bryce?
The natural answer is first year jitters. It usually takes players a while to adjust to new surroundings. When expectations are as high as they are on Harper, that adjustment period can take even longer.
Then again, for his career, Harper is a .276 hitter who averages 71 runs batted in and 25 home runs a season. Perhaps he just isn’t the player his agent advertised in the off season. Making matters worse in Philly is their lack of a true leadoff hitter. With Andrew McCutchen sidelined all year (torn ACL), the team has juggled players at the top of the lineup. Can you guess who is batting leadoff now? The answer is Bryce Harper.