Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals looks on during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on July 07, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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Why Bryce Harper Still Deserves to be an All-Star Though He’s Hitting .215

Harper’s home run and walk rates remain on par with his 2015 MVP season.

Under normal circumstances, a baseball player hitting .215 shouldn’t be in an everyday lineup, let alone the batting order of the All-Star team.

But the circumstances for both Bryce Harper and major league baseball are anything but normal these days, which is why the Washington Nationals outfielder deserves his spot in this year’s All-Star lineup for the National League despite hitting just a few points north of the notorious Mendoza Line.

With players like Harper, who has 22 home runs, 51 RBI and 76 walks, batting average is not the best metric to look at when evaluating how much he is helping his team offensively.

For example, his home run and walk rates this year are on par with 2015, when he was unanimously named the NL MVP. Likewise, his .839 OPS so far this season isn’t much worse than his career average of .895.

Thanks to those stats, Harper is creating runs at a clip that is 20 percent higher than the league average, which puts him 12th among the 33 NL outfielders who qualify for this season’s batting title.

Of course, that doesn’t automatically mean he should earn a spot over any of the 11 players who are in front of him, but it at least makes clear his batting average shouldn’t disqualify him from repping the NL. 

Of course, that the All-Star Game is being hosted by Washington this year also didn’t hurt the chances of Harper—who is that franchise’s most recognizable player—making the team.

Read the full story at The Washington Post