We have gone zero days without Phillies fans booing their franchise player. Bryce Harper signed a $330 million contract with Philadelphia two months ago, and after a good start and a strong honeymoon period (to Washington D.C.), Harper has been slumping.
While his overall numbers aren't devastating -- he's slashed .240/.388/.490 to begin the year, mostly in line with his numbers from last year -- he's definitely hit a rough patch. Harper struck out twice against the Tigers on Tuesday and misplayed a fly ball in the wind, which was too much for the boo birds in Philadelphia to keep quiet about.
After the game, Harper told reporters that "I'd do the same thing," via NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Harper, who has just three hits in his last 28 at-bats (nine games), has posted a batting average above .300 just twice in his career, but the last time he did it was only two years ago. Either way, Phillies fans clearly want him to put his bat on the ball more consistently. He has six homers this year, on pace for 34 on the season, but he's striking out in 29.5 percent of his trips to the plate and is on pace for 212 strikeouts this season. One has to think that will normalize as the season progresses, as hitting averages often do -- Harper's career-high is 169 strikeouts last season.
Obviously when you sign a guy to a 13-year contract worth the largest amount of money in MLB history (for about a week), you expect him to perform. With that being said, you also have to expect some speed bumps along the way. Bryce Harper is a good hitter, so he'll get better. But there's no way he signed with the Phillies without knowing hearing from disgruntled fans was a possibility.