Chicago Cubs: Harper hasn’t put up the numbers – at least not yet
When you’re playing on the largest contract ever given to a free agent, people tend to expect things. I mean, we’ve seen this at Wrigley Field the last three years in Jason Heyward, who initially struggled to live up to the hype of his eight-year, $184 million deal signed prior to the 2016 campaign.
This year, at long last, he seems to have settled in – and is putting up some of the best offensive numbers of his career, while providing his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense across the Chicago outfield. But that success certainly didn’t come overnight, as we all know.
The same might be said for Harper. He leads the league with 137 strikeouts and a lackluster 116 OPS+ across 117 games. To this point in the year, according to Baseball Reference, he’s been worth just 1.9 WAR – barely more than Heyward, who clocks in at 1.7 WAR.
Philadelphia’s lackluster performance this year has certainly increased the pressure on Harper, who was supposed to lead a revitalization for the ballclub and begin a new era of success where the Phillies reigned supreme in the National League East.
Instead, the team appears destined to miss the postseason for the eighth consecutive campaign. Harper seems likely to put up another 30-100 performance, but at the end of the day, Philadelphia needs more – a lot more.