Can you believe it’s been a year since the Phillies signed Bryce Harper?
In most years, the final day of February will be the anniversary. Not 2020 because it’s a leap year, but here we are on Feb. 28, some 365 days after the afternoon splash that left Phillies fans delirious for months.
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Harper had a strong first year with the Phils. An overlooked component of it was his durability. He played in 157 games, the second most of his career. The Phillies will need him to be on the field that much to reach their ultimate destination. Perhaps at some point during his contract the rest of the roster will be good enough to contend even if he’s at less than 100%, but that time isn’t now.
Friday marks 365 days down and 4,268 to go in Harper’s Phillies contract.
That 4,268 figure could be off by a few days but you get the point. It assumes the 2031 World Series ends on Halloween.
Harper enters 2020 with 219 career home runs — averages of 27 per season and 33 per 162 games.
If he averages just over 35 home runs for the next eight seasons, he would hit his 500th home run toward the end of the 2027 season. Factoring in future time missed to injury and the fact that so far, he’s exceeded 35 only in his 2015 MVP season, 2028 is more realistic. Maybe even 2029.
Schmidt more than safe
Harper could hit 35 homers every year for all 13 years with the Phillies and still be 93 shy of Mike Schmidt.
Harper does have a decent chance to reach second on the Phillies’ all-time list. Ryan Howard occupies that spot with 382. Harper would need to average 29 longballs a year over the next dozen to surpass The Big Piece.
Schmidt had 11 seasons of 35+ home runs. No other Phillie had five. Harper is a safe bet to do so.
Howard had four, Chuck Klein three, and Greg Luzinski and Jim Thome had two.
The only other 35-homer seasons in Phillies history belong to Harper, Jayson Werth (2009), Pat Burrell (2002), Dick Allen (1966) and Cy Williams (1923).
Schmidt averaged 68 extra-base hits and 102 walks per 162 games in his career.
Harper has averaged 69 extra-base hits and 102 walks per 162 games in his.
Which Phillies records could Harper set?
This should show how difficult it is to set franchise records when you don’t begin your career with that franchise. The longevity of Schmidt (18 seasons) and Jimmy Rollins (15) will make it difficult for Harper to reach higher than second in several categories.
Harper would need to average just over 117 walks per season to break Schmidt’s mark. Highly unlikely.
Doubles? Harper hit 36 in 2019. He would need to average 37 a year over the next 12 to break Jimmy Rollins’ mark of 479.
He’d need 180 hits per season to surpass Rollins.
Sifting through careers, the best chance at a big offensive Phillies record for Harper would be seasons with 100+ RBI. He had 114 last year. Schmidt had the most seasons in Phillies history of at least 100 RBI with nine. Can Harper do it nine more times in 12 years?
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