JABO: Bryce Harper, Ultimate Post-Hype Sleeper

I came across a stat the other day that took me by surprise. Someone on Twitter was defending Starlin Castro, and made the point that he’s already amassed 1,000 hits before his 25th birthday. I thought to myself, “Surely, that can’t be true. Surely, Starlin Castro isn’t already one-third of the way to a milestone that all but guarantees one’s place in the Hall of Fame.” Turns out, it’s not entirely true, but this is:

846 hits! Not bad, Starlin Castro. Especially considering it was around this time just a year ago when many were leaving Castro for dead after he put up one of the worst offensive seasons by a shortstop in recent history. In hindsight, that notion seems like quite the overreaction, given that Castro followed up the dreadful year with the best offensive season of his career and has re-cemented himself as the young, exciting Cubs shortstop of both the present and future.

But Castro’s case got me wondering: do we, as a community, take young talent for granted? Are we too quick to write off young players as one-hit wonders who burst onto the scene and then struggle — even if those struggles last for a full season or more? Seems to have been the case with Castro. Surely, I thought, there are others like him.

Naturally, my attention then turned to Bryce Harper.

Read the rest on Just a Bit Outside.

August used to cover the Indians for MLB and ohio.com, but now he's here and thinks writing these in the third person is weird. So you can reach me on Twitter @AugustFG_ or e-mail at august.fagerstrom@fangraphs.com.

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7 years ago

Harper also had to contend with Mike Trout performing like Harper was supposed to with all the hype, which shouldn’t affect the perception of Harper’s talent but probably does.

7 years ago
Reply to  PackBob

Apparently, Trout is a bust too, according to the Google machine and its 323,000 hits for “Mike Trout Bust.”

7 years ago
Reply to  TKDC

Was about to make this point. Heck, “Bryce Harper donut” gets you 592,000.

7 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Sorry to pile on, but I was also about to make this point. The incorrect citing of google search results is a pet peeve of mine. “Bryce Harper Bust”, in quotations, gives 281 results, while “Bryce Harper is a bust”, in quotations, gives only 10 results. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper Nintendo, without quotations, gets you 455,000 results.

7 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Super Mario Lemieux: 408,000 hits
Super Mario Nintendo: 40,700,000 hits

That Guy
7 years ago
Reply to  Drew

“francis says” nets 424,000 hits