Even though he has played just eight games this season, Bryce Harper already ranks among the top rookies in baseball in Wins Above Replacement. As crazy as that sounds, that makes him a viable Rookie of the Year candidate.
We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Harper is the type of player who was born to win the Rookie of the Year award. He has been ranked the No. 1 prospect in baseball the last two seasons, his pro debut was national news and he even appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated while in high school. In the era of publicized advanced scouting and ranked high school prospects, Rookies of the Year are reserved for those who have been tabbed to be the next great stars in baseball by the time they are 20.
Very quietly, however, another Nationals rookie has crept his way up the Wins Above Replacement leader board among rookies in the National League. Steve Lombardozzi,who almost did not make the club out of spring training, and was tabbed to be a super utility player this season, has taken full advantage of his opportunities early on in 2012.