The Phillies may occupy first place in the NL East at the moment, but Bryce Harper isn’t living up to his massive contract.
The moment Bryce Harper signed his $330 million mega contract with the Phillies it became inevitable that fans in Philadelphia would boo him. Harper might have hoped he couldhave made it to May until that happened.
Instead, Harper’s 0-for-4 outing on the last day of April was enough to draw significant boos from his new team’s fan base. The fact that two of his four outs at the plate came on strikeouts definitely didn’t endear him to anyone in attendance. Add in that he also dropped a very catchable ball in right field and it’s easy to understand why fans were upset.
The good news for Harper is that his team has found decent success in the early season despite his struggles. A 16-13 record may not be great, but it’s still good enough to earn the Phillies a narrow one-game lead in the NL East as of May 1. Optimistic Philadelphia fans can dream of how well the team will play once Harper really gets going.
That hasn’t happened yet for the 26-year-old outfielder. His overall numbers aren’t terrible, but he’s only produced .2 WAR on the young season. If he wants that to increase, he’ll need to pick up his performance at the plate. The Phillies don’t need Harper to win a batting title if they’re going to contend this season, but they do need him to improve his batting average from its current mark of just .240.
The important thing to remember is that the 2019 season is still in its infancy. It might be irrational to expect Phillies fans to be patient, but that’s the prudent course of action. Booing Harper isn’t going to help him play better baseball. The more patience they give Harper the better he’s likely to play down the stretch.