Bryce Harper is months away from potentially landing the largest contract in baseball history. But the Las Vegas High School product, who has been inconsistent throughout his career, might not even be the best player in the game today from his hometown.
Kris Bryant, a 26-year-old former standout at Bonanza High School, has a strong case for being the top player in baseball from the Las Vegas area. With a Rookie of the Year, MVP, and World Series trophy to his name by the time he turned 25, the Chicago Cubs slugger is one of the most dynamic players in the league, and, unlike Harper, he’s been more consistent at the plate.
Harper, still just 25-years-old and full of potential, also has an MVP and ROY, but hasn’t shown much consistency since entering the league in 2012, less than two years after being selected by the Washington Nationals as the top pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. After winning that MVP in 2015 in which he posted a ridiculous 1.109 OPS with 42 homers, he followed that season up with a pedestrian .814 OPS and just 24 homers.
Before getting injured last year, Harper was on pace for an MVP-type season, batting .319 with 29 homers in just 111 games. This year, a free-agency season, the Las Vegas native has been good but not great. The .237/.387/.538 slash line he’s posted through 49 games is well above average overall, and his 15 homers and 43 walks leads the National League, but he’s batting just .225 with a .279 OBP in May.
If you take away his hot start the first couple of weeks, he’s barely been an average hitter. On the season, he’s accumulated 0.9 WAR in 49 games, which computes to just under 3 WAR for the season, good enough for most big leaguers, not good enough for someone who’s asking for a $400 million contract.
Bryant, on the other hand, has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball, and he’s a better defensive player than Harper. The Cubs third baseman has a career .289/.391/.530 slash line, slightly better than Harper’s .282/.386/.517 line.
When Harper is at his best, he’s the best hitter in baseball. The problem is he hasn’t been consistent up to this point in his career. Bryant, on the other hand, consistently performs at the highest level.
I still think Harper will end up having the better career but I consider Kris Bryant the better player right now.