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2012 Stats: .270 batting average with 22 home runs, 59 RBI, 98 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 139 games
Average Draft Position: 32.0 in ESPN drafts and 32.5 in Yahoo! drafts
Why He'll Be a Bust: It might be more accurate to predict that Harper will be a fantasy "bust" this year, relatively speaking.
Look, I love Bryce Harper's talent and I think he'll be a really solid fantasy player this season. But I also think the 20-year-old is being dramatically over-drafted in the third or fourth round.
I believe in the sophomore slump. It happened to Jason Heyward two years ago. It bit Eric Hosmer last year. I even think Mike Trout's numbers will regress—how could they not?—though a regression from Trout still probably means he'll hit .300 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI, 40 stolen bases and 110 runs scored.
That's still worth a first-round pick.
But if Bryce Harper regresses —or improves slightly on last year's numbers in a full season—are you really going to be happy you used a third-round pick on him?
And let's be honest—the closer we get to the season, the more likely it is that some owner will draft him in the second, or perhaps even first, round. I think Harper is a future MVP and mainstay atop fantasy baseball drafts, but I don't think that ascension will happen this year.
Don't overpay for Harper. Not yet. He won't be a complete bust, but he's not going to put up the numbers worthy of where he's being drafted. Expect his rise to prominence to take a little more time than two years.