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Bryce Harper left the Washington Nationals‘ game on Saturday in the first inning after slipping on first base, and it’s unknown how much time he might miss. He’s fourth in the majors in slugging percentage (.614), fifth in batting average (.326) and OBP (.419) and tied for ninth in home runs (29).
What would a prolonged injury mean for the Nationals?
Since Harper made his MLB debut on April 28, 2012, the Nationals have the second-most regular-season wins in baseball (they’re 526-397), behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But they’re just 5-9 in the playoffs and still haven’t won a postseason series since the 1981 National League Division Series, when they were the Montreal Expos (the only postseason series win in franchise history).
Harper has only been on the disabled list twice in his career: In 2013, he missed 31 games with left knee bursitis; and in 2014, he missed 57 games after having surgery on his left thumb. As noted in the chart to the right, the Nats have been pretty average when Harper has missed significant time.
The Nationals are 45-43 when Harper is on the DL.
Who would replace Harper in right field and in the lineup? Washington doesn’t have a lot of options, with 11 players currently on the DL, which is tied for second most in the majors. (The Dodgers have 12 on the list.)
That includes the Nationals’ Opening Day starters in left field (Jayson Werth) and center field (Adam Eaton), a player who has notched 66 games in center field (Michael Taylor) and one who has played 22 games in left field (Ryan Raburn).
And the player who replaced Harper in the lineup on Saturday, Andrew Stevenson, entered the game with 15 career major league at-bats.