Not only is Bryce Harper the biggest name in baseball under the age of 20, he’s the only name in baseball under that age.
At 19 years old, the top draft pick in the 2010 amateur draft entered into his rookie season as the youngest player in the MLB, and after making his debut in late April, he became a fixture in the Washington Nationals lineup. However, the teenager who some raved to be the best prospect ever found things more difficult on the major league level. That’s no reason to avoid drafting him in fantasy baseball leagues in 2013, though.
Below are two stat lines. The top is Harper’s 2012 rookie season, a season in which he played in 139 games, starting most at center field for the Nationals. The bottom is Mike Trout’s first exposure to the majors which only lasted 40 games, but propelled him into an explosive 2012.
Harper: 139 GP .270/.340/.477, 22 HRs, 59 RBI, 18 SBs
Trout: 40 GP .220/.281/.390, five HRs, 16 RBI, four SBs
While Trout’s line is obviously a smaller sample size, the point is still there. Trout struggled mightily in his first stint in the majors, so much so that the Los Angeles Angels chose to send him back to the minors heading into 2012. A year later, Trout became one of the best players in baseball.
There’s no reason to believe Harper can’t do the same.
At 19, Harper probably has more raw talent than Trout, maybe even more than any other player in the majors. He’s a physical specimen with impossible bat speed, and it’s only a matter of time before that starts to show on the field. If that happens this season Harper will become the Trout of 2013. There’s no doubt. He’s just too good not to.
Expect the teenage protégé to explode in 2013 just like Trout did in 2012. A tune of 30 home runs and 100 RBI is probably the low end of what Harper is capable of. He could get to 40, maybe 50 long balls, and with a high-powered Nationals lineup around him, the RBI could well exceed 100. Not to mention he’s got enough speed to snag 20 to 30 stolen bases. That’s the kind of talent he has.
It’s just a matter of him making things click.
Either way, the 19-year-old comes in at 37th overall on most fantasy baseball draft boards, making him a third or fourth round pick. He’s a great deal there, and if he can do in 2013 what Trout did in 2012, he’s an absolute steal there. At the very least, Harper’s a solid outfielder on any fantasy roster with an almost unlimited upside.
Draft Harper with confidence in 2013.