ESPN says Nats Bryce Harper is best LF in baseball

ESPN says Nats Bryce Harper is best LF in baseball
March 27, 2014, 11:00 am
Share This Post

Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates with teammates after a 6-2 win against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Last week ESPN ranked the best shortstops in baseball and I argued that Ian Desmond was mistakenly slotted fourth. I felt he should have been higher.

Now ESPN is going in the other direction, giving a Nationals player a little too much praise. In their rankings of the 10 best left fielders in MLB, Bryce Harper comes in first.

That's first, as in ahead of Carlos Gonzalez and Matt Holliday, and ahead of Shin-Soo Choo. All three of those players are established big league stars and Choo finished 12th in NL MVP voting last season.

ESPN's rankings are, to be fair, projections for 2014. They are not saying Harper was the best in 2013, as no statistical argument could be made to back that up. They are saying that this season he will pass CarGo and Holliday and become the best player at his position.

Harper was actually ranked ahead of both Gonzalez and Holliday before last season. Before 2013 he placed third among MLB left fielders while Gonzalez came in fourth and Holliday fifth. The latter two went on to have better seasons as Harper was injured.

Here is a look at each player's numbers in 2013:

Bryce Harper - Nationals

118 G, .274 BA, .854 OPS, 71 R, 24 2B, 3 3B, 20 HR, 58 RBI, 11 SB, 61 BB, 94 SO, 3.8 WAR

Carlos Gonzalez - Rockies

110 G, .302 BA, .958 OPS, 72 R, 23 2B, 6 3B, 26 HR, 70 RBI, 21 SB, 41 BB, 118 SO, 4.9 WAR

Matt Holliday - Cardinals

141 G, .300 BA, .879 OPS, 103 R, 31 2B, 3B, 22 HR, 94 RBI, 6 SB, 69 BB, 86 SO, 4.5 WAR

Harper hasn't been as good as Gonzalez or Holliday since he entered the league, but we are about to begin a new season. Will Harper reach the heights ESPN has projected in 2014? Check out their full list right here.

[RELATED: Is Bryce Harper the most overrated player in baseball?]