Last Thursday as Bryce Harper lay on the ground in a heap clutching the back of his leg I assumed the worst. A lot of people assumed the worst. The last time we'd seen Bryce Harper down in the outfield was 2013 after he ran into the wall in LA. It was an injury that would cause him to miss significant time in 2013 and to under perform for the beginning of 2014. I don't think it can be understated just how important to the Nationals Bryce Harper is, but yet when I said if Bryce Harper misses significant time the Nats hopes for the playoffs are done someone had a problem with that. Let me go ahead and lay out the reason for my logic and why Bryce Harper is of the importance he is.
Bryce Harper has been worth 5.1 fWAR to the Washington Nationals. All other position players combined have been worth 4.7. Bryce Harper accounts for more than half of the Washington Nationals fWAR by position players. If you aren't a fancy stats person and want something simpler let me break it down this way. Bryce Harper has scored 53 runs and driven in 58. Take out his 24 home runs so as not to double count them and Bryce Harper has accounted for 87 of the Washington Nationals 316 runs scored. Bryce Harper is more than a quarter of the Nats offense. Losing him from the line-up and then replacing him with Tyler Moore would be devastating.
It is in no way an overstatement to say the Washington Nationals are very lucky Bryce Harper's injury wasn't as bad as it appeared because if it were then the season would've been over. Bryce Harper has played that well and been that important to the Washington Nationals. Barring any sort of super slump Bryce Harper is going to be the NL MVP, and no arguments will work against him. By now you've all seen the numbers on where his season would rank historically and know how impressive what he's doing is, but it is also the reason the Nationals are where they are in the standings. The amount of need the Washington Nationals have for Bryce Harper cannot be understated.