He’s back! Bryce Harper made his return to the Washington Nationals lineup last night, and he lived up to his billing.
Harper was 1-4 with a home run, walk and a strikeout as Washington beat the Milwaukee Brewers 10-5. Harper had not played since May 26, and his return was immediately felt.
In fact, Harper’s impact was immediately felt so much so that he has become the East Coast version of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, but is it safe to make such a comparison? Let’s take a look at the numbers. From May 27, Harper’s first day out, to June 30, Washington’s last day without Harper, the Nats went 14-16 in games without him.
With Harper in the lineup, Washington is 28-24. Harper works counts, and of course will drive the ball to any field, as we saw last night with his opposite field blast.
When Posey missed all of 2011 with a knee and ankle injury, San Francisco finished 86-76, and were outscored by eight runs (578-570). In the two seasons San Francisco had Posey all season, they finished a combined 186-138 with two World Series Titles, Two NL West Titles, and outscored their opponents 1,415-1,232.
San Francisco is known as a team that scores just enough to win, but consider the impact Posey has: when he’s not in their lineup, they are outscored by eight runs, and when he is, they outscore their opponents by 183 runs. that’s a huge improvement.
Obviously, Washington does not have the hardware San Francisco has with Posey, but Harper is on his way to having that kind of impact on his team. Washington has a lot of players like the sophomore: quieter guys who lead by example and let their play do the talking. Harper may have gone 1-4, but his presence goes far beyond the box score.
East Coast Posey? Harper’s certainly on his way.