Quick Links

Is Harper already among NL's best?


Is Harper already among NL's best?

With each passing day, Bryce Harper looks more and more like a legitimate major-league player. Actually, with each passing day, the 19-year-old looks more and more like a legitimate major-league star.

Yes, it's only been five weeks since Harper made his much-ballyhooed debut at Dodger Stadium. And yes, plenty can change over the remaining four months of the regular season. But if he keeps this up, Harper is going to threaten some of baseball's most significant records for teenagers.

Through 32 games and 137 plate appearances, Harper currently boasts a .922 OPS. How impressive is that? Well, only 15 teenage players in modern history have ever amassed 400 or more plate appearances in one season. And only two of those players ever finished with an OPS higher than .757: Mel Ott (.921 in 1928) and Tony Conigliaro (.883 in 1964).

Among those same 15 teenagers, Ott is the only one to post an on-base percentage higher than .358. Harper's current mark: .380.

Ott and Conigliaro also are the only teenagers ever to amass a slugging percentage higher than .420, with Conigliaro's .530 mark the record. Harper is currently slugging .542.

So clearly, Harper is going to wind up in the discussion of the greatest teenagers in baseball history. But here's the thing: He's also going to wind up in the discussion of the best players in the game right now.

Because he didn't debut until late April, Harper doesn't yet have enough plate appearances to qualify for the league leaderboard. But he'll get there soon enough (probably in about 2-3 weeks). And once he does qualify, he's going to rank high up the list in most of these offensive categories.

Harper's .380 on-base percentage would rank 11th in the National League. His .542 slugging percentage also would rank 11th in the league. And his .922 OPS would rank ... you guessed it: 11th.

Is Harper the 11th-best offensive player in the NL? It's probably still too soon to say that.

But if he continues to perform the way he has to date, it won't be long before he's talked about as not only the best rookie in the game, but as one of the best players in the game.

Quick Links

Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Nationals star Bryce Harper has had an eventful week, which included finding out that he might not be the Nationals star much longer. 

An anonymous club executive said that the Nationals won't meet Harper's demands for a 10-year, $400 million contract, and are prepared to let him walk when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season. 

That happened on Monday, then on Tuesday Washington missed out on trading from White Sox ace Chris Sale, who ended up going to Boston. 

And then on Wednesday, the Nats ended up trading their pile of top pitching prospects to the White Sox anyway, but instead of getting Sale, they got centerfielder Adam Eaton

Eaton, 28, has never been an All-Star. But he finished last season with a .284 batting average, .362 slugging percentage, 59 RBIs and 14 home runs. He's also an asset defensively in the outfield. 

But the pitching prospects Washington gave up – Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning – amounted to a steep price for Eaton. So steep that the Nats reportedly offered almost the same package of prospects for Sale. 

Within minutes of the Eaton trade news breaking, Harper tweeted this. 

He followed it up with a message of welcome a few minutes later.

Obviously, the initial tweet is what grabbed peoples' attention. But who can really say if Harper meant it as a positive or negative reaction to the Eaton trade? Frankly, it might not have anything to do with the trade at all. 

Plenty of other "wow" things happened this week. 

MORE NATIONALS: Dusty Baker takes part in “Play Ball” clinics in D.C.

Quick Links

Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

The Washington Nationals were unable to trade the farm to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for former Cy Young winner Chris Sale. But still looking to make a splash, the Nationals went back to the White Sox, and have made a deal.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Nationals will trade Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, pending physicals.

Eaton, 28 years old, will be entering his sixth season, having played two seasons with the Diamondbacks and two season with the White Sox.

Eaton has never made an All-Star team, but has a solid OBP of .357 and has back-to-back seasons of 14 home runs and at least 50 RBIs. He also has a very friendly contract, having recently signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract.

In return, the White Sox get a treasure trove of prospects.

Giolito is the top prospect in the Nationals' organization and one of the top prospects in all of MLB. He appeared in six games for the nationals in 2016, finishing with a 6.75 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Lopez, the No. 4 prospect in the organization, appeared in 11 games in 2016, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Dunning, one of the ace of the Florida Gators' staff, was selected by the Nationals with the 29th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft.

But considering the Nationals were willing to give up numerous top prospects for Chris Sale or Andrew McCutchen, it's puzzling that the Nationals would receive just Eaton in return.

Heading into the 2016 winter meetings, it was well known that the Nationals were interested in making a big splash and shaking things up.

It looks like they're doing just that.