“Phillies fans will turn on Bryce Harper! It will never work!”
Yes, yes, we heard it over and over again as the Phillies signed Harper to a lucrative 13-year $330 million deal. It was smooth sailing in Harper’s first few games in Philadelphia. That has changed quickly. After his second strikeout against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, the attendees at Citizen Park lost their patience. Boos started to rain down on Harper as he walked towards the dugout.
Of course, national media outlets were salivating at the possibility of tension between Phillies fans and one of baseballs biggest stars. Although the boos came as everyone expected, there wasn’t a feeling of tension. Instead, what we got was an understanding of what is expected from each other.
By the time Harper inked his new deal with the Phillies, fans already knew what to expect. A great player, that at times, is going to to disappear. Harper is currently going through a slump that has his batting average down to .240 and a strikeout rate at 29.6%. It also doesn’t help that the Phillies have not won many games during Harper’s rough stretch.
Eventually Harper is going to break free from his slump. Previously his highest strikeout rate was in 2014 when Harper was just 21 years old. That year he went down on strikes 26.3% of his at bats. For his career, Harper has just a 21.3% strikeout rate. The strikeouts rate will go down. Harper averages 32 home runs per 162 games. The towering home runs will come.
— Jon Jansen (@jjansen34) April 27, 2019
Phillies fans will just have to wait for the All-Star outfielder to display his true talents this season. Yes, fans will be impatient, but that is just fine. Fans expected this and it’s safe to assume Harper did as well. That understanding is what makes Harper a perfect fit in Philadelphia and why he will have every chance to succeed with the Phillies.