A video game simulated Bryce Harper's 2019 season with every team and only the Angels won the World Series
Earlier this offseason, it was announced that Bryce Harper would be the cover star for MLB: The Show 19, despite not knowing what uniform he'd be wearing. While there has been no shortage of rumors swirling around Harper's free agency, there have been a limited number of teams involved in the pursuit of the outfielder ... at least, so far.
To help us envision what kind of impact Harper could have on any team, MLB: The Show simulated 30 different seasons -- each with Harper on a different team -- and showed us the results. Harper himself has been following along:
💪- Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) January 14, 2019
👀- Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) January 14, 2019
Here are the five biggest things we learned from this grand virtual Bryce experiment:
Only one team is a Bryce Harper away from a World Series title
Sixteen different teams made the postseason with Harper added to their roster, but only one went the distance and won it all -- the Los Angeles Angels. Despite having one of the greatest players of all-time in Mike Trout, the Angels have struggled to have much success in October, last making the postseason in 2014. Apparently adding another generational talent alongside Trout and Shohei Ohtani might just be the key for the Angels to take the next step.
Harper is almost guaranteed to win some hardware in 2019
Harper won at least one major award in 19 of the 30 simulations. He won MVP for the virtual Yankees, Phillies and Marlins. Despite a disappointing defensive season in 2018, he won a Gold Glove Award for the virtual Cubs, Brewers and Mets. Harper also won the Silver Slugger for 15 different teams.
Don't expect Harper to hit .249 again
Harper's on-base percentage in 2018 was traditionally impressive (.393), but his batting average was ... not so flattering (a career-low .249). Thankfully, virtual Bryce didn't seem to have trouble rebounding from that across his various 2019 campaigns, hitting over .300 for 14 different teams and only falling below .249 for one team: the Dodgers (.227).
The Orioles should sign Harper as soon as possible
Of all the simulation results, arguably none stands out more than the incredible impact of adding Harper to the Orioles. Baltimore lost 115 games last year, and new general manager Mike Elias seems to be more focused on rebuilding the organization from the ground up in 2019. But the virtual world seems to suggest that simply making a Harper-sized splash could vault Baltimore back into postseason contention. We'd love to see it.
If Harper returns to the Nationals, they will finally get to the second round of the postseason
Despite making the postseason in four of his seven years in D.C., Harper has yet to make it out of the first round. If he does choose to return to where his tremendous career began, our trusty video game simulation suggests that Harper will finally help the Nationals break through to the NLCS. Virtual Bryce's return also features a batting title (he hit .343!) and a franchise-best 105 wins for Washington. Perhaps he shouldn't go anywhere after all.