Harper leads bounce-back hitters list

Should you intentionally walk away from Bryce Harper in 2017? Eric Karabell doesn't think so. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A year ago at this time, a reasonable case was being made that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was the equal -- for both real-life and fantasy purposes -- of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. It seems rather silly today, of course, after Harper hit a mere .243 and went from being the No. 3 overall selection in ESPN average live drafts to ending up outside the top 20 outfielders and top 50 hitters on the Player Rater, but it’s true. Harper was terrific in 2015, though. Remember, a year ago he was coming off a season in which he hit .330, while Trout hit only .299. Each topped 40 home runs, nobody accrued more wins above replacement. Neither stole many bases.