MLB: The most valuable right fielders of 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a catch on the wall on a hit by Howie Kendrick #47 of the Washington Nationals for an out in the fourth inning of game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a catch on the wall on a hit by Howie Kendrick #47 of the Washington Nationals for an out in the fourth inning of game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

5. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies, $10.924 million value; $11.538 million salary

What do you suppose would have been the reaction of Phillies fans if you told them, following Harper’s signing of a contract that will basically pay him $27 million through 2031, that they had just obtained MLB’s fifth best right fielder?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The big financial hit begins this season, the first of nine consecutive seasons when he’ll make $27.5 million. For the final three seasons, it will tail off to $23.5 million. For the low, low introductory price of $11.5 million in 2019, the Phils got a .260 average but 35 home runs, 114 RBIs and an .882 OPS.

His 4.2 WAR, the position’s fifth best, amounted to $7.867 million in on-field value.

Give Harper credit: He worked hard. His 1,318 innings, all of them in right field, trailed only Merrifield for workload and rendered another $1.639 million in value. He also demonstrated his ability to throw. Runners who tried to take an extra base on Harper were gunned down 13 times, ranking him No. 1 in assists amongst MLB right fielders with a value of $1.418 million.

In short, Harper in 2019 proved that he was not just an offensive force. What he needs to affirm in order to move up the positional list in 2020 is that he can generate the offensive firepower that’s been expected of him.