After being the first overall selection in the 2010 draft, he has always been viewed as the next superstar.
Throughout his young career, he has shown glimpses of that potential.
A laser for Bryce Harper's first homer of the year 🤯
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 26, 2020
He has also routinely been marketed in this way, having some of the greatest name recognition in the entire sport.
However, his time in the majors has coincided with fellow superstar Mike Trout, whose personal statistics overshadow Harper’s.
Regardless, Harper did sign a whopping 13-year, $330 million contract that was the largest in MLB history at the time.
For many, this means that Harper is actually overrated.
When delving into the numbers, there may be solid reasoning behind this belief.
This is also a consistent belief around the league, as Harper was voted as MLB’s “Most Overrated Player” for two years in a row in 2018 and 2019.
Since then, he hasn’t helped his case very much.
Here are three reasons that Harper is overrated.
1. Nationals Success Without Harper
After Harper decided to leave the Nationals after the 2018 season, many anticipated that the franchise would be impacted.
They were losing a core member of their lineup and a powerful left-handed bat.
However, quite the opposite happened.
While the team struggled out of the gate, they began to put together a solid season.
Of course, the emergence of star outfielder Juan Soto helped boost the Nationals as he quickly became one of the league’s most dangerous hitters.
Juan Soto is 20 years old and dominating his first World Series 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 23, 2019
In fact, at just age 20, Soto put up numbers that largely dwarfed Harper’s.
This showed just how replicable Harper actually was, as the Nationals were able to save $330 million.
It also paid off even further when the team won the World Series over the Houston Astros.
For many fans, this was a clear indication of what they thought all season; the Nationals were simply better off without Harper.
2. Inconsistencies and Struggles
In his nine-year career, Harper has struggled with finding consistent success at the plate.
His breakout year came in 2015, as he led the MLB with 42 home runs and hit .330.
He won the MVP award with those numbers.
However, since that season, he only posted a batting average higher than .300 once.
His power numbers also haven’t quite gotten that high either.
This is even as home run totals across the league spike.
Because of this, Harper falls into the “very good” category but not quite the “great.”
Compared to many of the league’s other hitters, he seems to fall short of the same quality of numbers.
This certainly suggests that he is overrated.
It is especially fair considering the size of his contract.
3. The $300 Million Man
With the sheer size of Harper’s contract, he is being paid to be one of the sports top players.
So far, he has fallen well short of his price tag.
Bryce Harper's batting average dropped to .226 yesterday.
Eric Karros gives his take on Harper's struggles: pic.twitter.com/62ZkTAVFxl
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 7, 2019
In two seasons with the Phillies, Harper has hit just .260 and .268.
As a result, his contract size indicates that he Is an overrated player.
Of course, that is always subject to change and Harper has shown the ability to perform well above that.
Fans in the sport just continue to wait for him to return to that level.
If he were able to, then he would certainly be well worth the money and re-establish himself as one of the league’s best players.
There is reason to believe that Harper is still a threat at the plate.
In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he had a standout OBP of .420 and OPS of .962.
Each of these numbers were at an elite level.
He is also still just 28-years-old, with a lot of time ahead of him.
If he can carry this into 2021 and have another power resurgence, he can begin to have his name mentioned with other top MLB players.