Friday, October 19, 2018

Is It Okay to Jump on the Bryce Harper Bandwagon?

Another beard bites the dust...


The New York Yankees enter this offseason in a place where the team is not really used to being. The team is entering the offseason with money to spend after getting under the luxury tax threshold, and it seems like the owner and GM are willing to spend a lot this offseason as well. The Yankees have already been linked to top-notch free agents like Manny Machado and Patrick Corbin, among others, but one free agent I have kind of been skeptical about is Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Is it okay for me to now jump on the Harper bandwagon?

I will preface this by saying the same thing I said about Machado when I wrote about him. Harper, I feel, is a luxury for the team. The New York Yankees don’t NEED Harper, but I truly think the team could benefit from his services next season and beyond. It is not every day that a 26-year old hits the free agent marker, and it is even more rare to see one with such immense talent as Harper has hit he free agent market, period.

Look mom, I hustle...

Harper checks a lot of boxes for the Yankees. He bats left-handed, something that the Yankees are suddenly lacking with the loss of Didi Gregorius to Tommy John surgery, and he plays a position, outfield, that the Yankees could look to upgrade this offseason. Brett Gardner is a free agent at the end of the World Series and may not be back with the club for the 2019 season. I can remember the Yankees were ecstatic about having Gardner in left field because of his speed and ability to play center on any given day. The team stated that having a center fielder in left field inside Yankee Stadium was ideal, and the team would have that once again if Harper were to be signed. Harper’s defense is more than adequate with the ability to play all three outfield positions. Plus, the left field position is not completely foreign to the left-hander. Harper has only played 194 games in left field out of the 911 games he has played in the outfield, his last time coming in 2014, but I don’t think the transition would be that difficult for him to make.

It doesn't hurt that I already have two #34 Yankees jersey's. 

One major box that Harper checks for the Yankees is his offensive capabilities. Harper’s batting average may have plummeted to .249 in 2018, down from .319 in 2017, but he almost doubled his walks taken from 68 in 2017 to a whopping 130 in 2018, which lead the National League. Harper’s 162 game average, according to Baseball Reference, has him drawing 102 walks per season with a .388 OBP. That’s all before you mention his slugging percentage, OPS, and 30-40 home run per season power.

To put these walk numbers into a comparison, the Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge walked 76 times in 2018, albeit in a partial season, after walking 127 times in 2017. Having Judge hitting second, Harper hitting third, and presumably having someone like Aaron Hicks hitting leadoff (90 walks, .366 OBP) the Yankees would, by the numbers, have someone on base for Giancarlo Stanton and/or Miguel Andujar in the cleanup spot pretty much every single game in the first inning. That is how you extend innings, that is how you keep the line moving, that is how you make starting pitchers work, and that is how you get into the opposing team’s bullpen earlier. These are all recipes for success, and all things that the Yankees struggled with at times here in 2018.

I'm going to be here one day...

And if that doesn’t work, having Hicks, Judge, Harper, Stanton, Andujar, etc. etc. etc. means you can just slug your way to a few victories along the way as well.

I say again, Harper is still a luxury and not a need for the New York Yankees, but he is a luxury that makes a whole lot of sense for the Bronx Bombers this offseason, and beyond. Even more so than signing Manny Machado, if I am being honest. Get Greedy… Get Bryce. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it could likely result in a ring at the end of the 2019 season.

3 comments:

  1. But can Harper pitch? I'll wait. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not for anything, shitty hitting was a big reason why we went home early.

      Yes, starters need to be better. But I'm sick of the red Sox and and we need to crush these pieces of garbage.

      Delete
    2. Scott, you are lucky I like you...

      Delete

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)