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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.

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Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year deals today with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.

If team's and players didn't agree to contracts by today's 1 p.m. ET deadline, an independent arbitrator will rule on the contract at a later date and decide how much the player will play for in 2017. 

Harper and the Nationals agreed to a $13.625 million deal, which was significantly more than the $9.3 million contract that was projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Last season, coming off his 2015 MVP campaign, Harper made $5 million. The 24-year-old will be a free agent after the 2018 season. 

Harper is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, in which he hit just .243 with 24 homers, which was way down from his total of 42 dingers in 2015. 

According to multiple reports, Rendon signed for $5.8 million, Roark signed for $4.315 million and Norris' deal was for $4.2 million.

Roark made just $543,400 last season, which he vastly out-performed. Roark was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League last year as he won 16 games and posted a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings of work. 

With today's signings, all of the Nationals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for 2017. 

Related: Tanner Roark to replace Max Scherzer on World Baseball Classic roster

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LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

Nationals star Bryce Harper has a bold fashion sense, that's for sure. Just take a look at that hair. But he a more romantic fashion risk for his own wedding with a custom suit jacket. 

He opted for a navy blue tuxedo with black piping. It was the lining that really stood out as special. 

If you look closely, you'll see photos of Harper and his wife, Kayla, decorating the lining of the jacket. 

There's also the date of wedding and script reading "Mr. and Mrs. Harper." 

He credited the makers of his tuxedo, Stitched, in the tweet. 

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals’ Bryce Harper ecstatic to see bride on wedding day