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Is Harper already among NL's best?


Is Harper already among NL's best?

With each passing day, Bryce Harper looks more and more like a legitimate major-league player. Actually, with each passing day, the 19-year-old looks more and more like a legitimate major-league star.

Yes, it's only been five weeks since Harper made his much-ballyhooed debut at Dodger Stadium. And yes, plenty can change over the remaining four months of the regular season. But if he keeps this up, Harper is going to threaten some of baseball's most significant records for teenagers.

Through 32 games and 137 plate appearances, Harper currently boasts a .922 OPS. How impressive is that? Well, only 15 teenage players in modern history have ever amassed 400 or more plate appearances in one season. And only two of those players ever finished with an OPS higher than .757: Mel Ott (.921 in 1928) and Tony Conigliaro (.883 in 1964).

Among those same 15 teenagers, Ott is the only one to post an on-base percentage higher than .358. Harper's current mark: .380.

Ott and Conigliaro also are the only teenagers ever to amass a slugging percentage higher than .420, with Conigliaro's .530 mark the record. Harper is currently slugging .542.

So clearly, Harper is going to wind up in the discussion of the greatest teenagers in baseball history. But here's the thing: He's also going to wind up in the discussion of the best players in the game right now.

Because he didn't debut until late April, Harper doesn't yet have enough plate appearances to qualify for the league leaderboard. But he'll get there soon enough (probably in about 2-3 weeks). And once he does qualify, he's going to rank high up the list in most of these offensive categories.

Harper's .380 on-base percentage would rank 11th in the National League. His .542 slugging percentage also would rank 11th in the league. And his .922 OPS would rank ... you guessed it: 11th.

Is Harper the 11th-best offensive player in the NL? It's probably still too soon to say that.

But if he continues to perform the way he has to date, it won't be long before he's talked about as not only the best rookie in the game, but as one of the best players in the game.

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

USA Today Sports Images

Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

By Ryan Wormeli

Max Scherzer is the ace of the Nationals staff, a fan favorite, and the 2017 National League Cy Young award winner. He's also a soon-to-be father whose wife, Erica May-Scherzer, once accidentally threw out the jersey he wore when throwing his 2nd career no-hitter. This time around, I'm guessing they talked it over first before deciding to sell some of his memorabilia garage-style for a new fundraiser.

We don't have any more information about the fundraiser yet, but May-Scherzer posted some photos on Twitter this afternoon. 

And in case you're wondering, no, the Scherzer family cat featured in one of the pictures isn't for sale (we assume). Plus, even if they were willing to part with their cat, considering Scherzer is on a contract worth over $200 Million, their price would probably be pretty steep. How much would you pay to adopt the cat of a 3-time Cy Young winner?

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.