According to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, Harper said Friday he will participate in the Home Run Derby if and only if he's an All-Star. From Svrluga:
"So count me in for the Derby if and only if I make the team," Harper said in a text message to The Washington Post Friday afternoon. "But if I do I will be a participant in the 2018 HR Derby."
Many players have participated in the Home Run Derby without being an All-Star over the years, including 2016 Home Run Derby champ Giancarlo Stanton. It's possible Harper is planning a quick vacation -- lots of players spend the All-Star break on an island somewhere -- and doesn't want to stick around town during the break if it's not necessary.
Truth be told, Harper has not had an All-Star caliber season to date. He does lead the National League with 19 home runs, though he's hitting .213/.352/.469 (119 OPS+) with plus-0.4 WAR through 73 team games. Among NL outfielders, Harper is ninth in OPS+ and 39th in WAR. It has not been a typical Bryce Harper season so far.
Now, that said,. His lead on a starting spot is over 300,000 votes as of this week's update. The All-Star Game is in Nationals Park and I imagine Nationals fans are stuffing the ballot box because they want to see their players in the game.
, but now it's up to the All-Star selection process. .