Can we talk about how awesome of a season Bryce Harper is having?


After seeing a column today suggesting, of all things, that Yoenis Cespedes should be the NL MVP, it occurred to me that some might not realize just how outstanding Bryce Harper has been this year. Let’s recap a little bit.

– Harper is currently in line for the sabermetric triple crown, leading the NL in average (.333), OBP (.465) and slugging (.640). There are several challengers in average, and Joey Votto could still overtake him in OBP. The slugging title would seem to be wrapped up, though.

– His .465 OBP would be the highest mark for a batting-title qualifier since Chipper Jones came in at .470 in 2008 (Votto finished at .474 in 2012, but he played in just 111 games).

– Harper’s .640 slugging would be the highest mark since Albert Pujols finished at .658 in 2009.

– His 1.106 OPS would be the top mark since another Pujols season in 2008 (1.114). He’d join Pujols as the only other player to finish above 1.100 in the last 10 years.

– His 198 OPS+ (adjusted for league and ballpark) would be the highest mark in either league since Barry Bonds’ 2004 campaign.

– He leads the NL in runs scored at 101.

– He leads the majors at 8.7 rWAR. That’s a higher total than anyone finished with last year, even though there’s 24 games left in the Nationals’ season. Prorating his current figures gives him 10.2 WAR, which would be the highest total for an NL player since Bonds finished at 10.6 in 2004 (Mike Trout came in at 10.8 in the AL in 2012).

Harper’s season is set to go down as one of the five greatest for someone 22 or younger in the history of the game. Here are some single-season leaderboards, using players only 22 or younger (must qualify for the batting title).

.552 – Ted Williams 1941 (22)
.465 – Bryce Harper 2015 (22)
.463 – Jimmie Foxx 1929 (21)
.458 – Mel Ott 1930 (21)
.449 – Mel Ott 1929 (20)

.735 – Ted Williams 1941 (22)
.673 – Joe DiMaggio 1937 (22)
.640 – Bryce Harper 2015 (22)
.637 – Jimmy Foxx 1930 (22)
.635 – Mel Ott 1929 (20)

235 – Ted Williams 1941 (22)
198 – Bryce Harper 2015 (22)
193 – Ty Cobb 1909 (22)
179 – Mike Trout 2013 (21)
177 – Stan Musial 1943 (22)

There aren’t any flukes on those lists. Harper is currently 11th on the rWAR list for 22-year-olds and younger, but he’s on pace to finish third. Everyone around him went on to have a Hall of Fame-type career.

10.8 – Mike Trout 2012 (20)
10.6 – Ted Williams 1941 (22)
9.9 – Rogers Hornsby 1917 (21)
9.8 – Ty Cobb 1909 (22)
9.7 – Eddie Collins 1909 (22)
9.4 – Alex Rodriguez 1996 (20)
9.4 – Stan Musial 1943 (22)
8.9 – Mike Trout 2013 (21)
8.8 – Rickey Henderson 1980 (21)
8.8 – Dick Allen 1964 (22)
8.7 – Bryce Harper 2015 (22)
8.5 – Alex Rodriguez 1998 (22)
8.3 – Eddie Mathews 1953 (21)
8.2 – Cal Ripken 1983 (22)
8.2 – Al Kaline 1955 (20)
8.2 – Joe DiMaggio 1937 (22)

None of this is an MVP argument as much as an appreciation. Trout has spoiled us the last few years, but for sheer firepower, he hasn’t matched what Harper is doing right now. Unless you were lucky enough to have witnessed Ted Williams 74 years ago, you’ve never seen a 22-year-old hit like this.

Report: Rangers’ deal with Seung-hwan Oh is off

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The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.

Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.

While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.