Bryce Harper returns for the Washington Nationals but is a fantasy option? The Nationals outfielder makes his return to the ball club after missing 57 games with a torn ligament in his left thumb. The anticipation has built up for the team, the Nationals fans and fantasy players who have missed his fantasy production.
Harper last played on April 25th against the San Diego Padres, a game he would leave early due to the injury. Before leaving the game Harper had two hits in two at bats with four runs batted in. The hits pushed him to five hits over the last 11 at bats before going on the disabled list.
Now does his return make him a legit option for fantasy owners? Prior to his injury Harper had only one home run in 23 games he appeared in with nine runs driven in. Each of those stats were alarming after we seen him hit at least 20 home runs the past two seasons. Now the one key stat that was on the rise was his batting average after hitting .270 as a rookie and .274 last season.
Harper has the ability to be a fantasy stud but the hype and his ability to over exert his self has caused him to miss time due to a variety of different injuries. This is the way you want a ball player to play the game but from a fantasy status we would all love him to play 162 games. The return will also give Harper a chance to get 12-13 games under his belt before the 2014 MLB ALL-Star Game.
Over his next five games Harper will face off against five pitchers he has yet to face in his career.
Tuesday, July 1st VS Christian Friedrich: Friedrich enters this game with an 8.10 earned run average and an 0-2 record in two starts.
Wednesday, July 2nd VS Tyler Matzek: Matzek will be making his first career start against the Nationals. Matzek enters this matchup with four career starts with all of them coming this year. Matzek has a 4.24 earned run average and 11 earned runs allowed.
Thursday, July 3rd VS Jason Hammel: Harper will be facing his third straight pitcher that he has yet to face. Hammel is having a solid season pitching to a 2.98 earned run average in 16 starts.
Friday, July 4th VS Jeff Samardzija: Despite having a 2-7 record, Samardzija has pitched to a 2.83 earned run average in 17 starts. In 17 starts Samardija has allowed seven home runs and 34 earned runs.
Saturday July 5th VS Jake Arrieta: Arrieta might be the most difficult of the five this season as he has put together the best 11 game stretch of his career. Over that stretch he has pitched to a 1.83 earned run average with 73 strikeouts. Opposing hitters have a .209 batting average and two home runs.