As we all know, 2012 was a magical year for the Washington Nationals. They won 98 games, won the NL East, and had their phenom Bryce Harper come up and help carry them to all these accomplishments, while winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Harper finished with the second-most home runs ever by a teenager, and finished with the most extra-base hits of any teenager’s year.
But how will his follow-up season be remembered?
Many predicted Harper would have a huge season, winning the NL MVP along with helping to carry Washington to another NL East title … and maybe to the World Series. Of course, the games are played for a reason, as Harper missed over a month with knee bursitis that he attempted to play through after crashing into the wall in Los Angeles,
In 2012, Harper had a similar swoon in the July/August range, but then turned things on towards the end of August and finished with strong numbers. He could still do that this year, and most likely will. The problem is that Harper will most likely be thought to have fallen victim to the infamous “sophomore slump” that afflicts most second-year players.
Many believe that Harper plays too hard and will end up shortening his career because of that. Of course, these were the same people commending Harper for his effort, so those words need to be taken with a grain of salt. However, Harper’s season should be remembered as more of a “what could have been”.
Of course, Harper is having a solid year regardless and will probably finish with his second-straight 20-home run season. He could help carry Washington to a huge turnaround, with the makings of it already there.