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Monday, March 17, 2014
Over/under: Bryce Harper's home runs

By David Schoenfield

Jerry Crasnick writes on Bryce Harper -- still just 21 years old -- and the importance of him staying healthy this year. Money quote from Harper about his collision with the wall last year, one reason he battled knee and hip injuries:

"I'm sure a lot of people thought, 'Oh, he was playing too hard and he ran into a wall.' But it wasn't a matter of playing too hard. I had a terrible route and no clue where I was. My feet were messed up and my head was all over the place. It was a freak accident, and I hope it never happens again."

After hitting 22 home runs in 597 plate appearances as a rookie, he hit 20 in 497 as a sophomore, playing through the knee issue that required surgery after the season. "My knee gave out when I swung," he told Jerry. "Some days it would feel good and there were others when I couldn't walk to first base. I was in a lot of pain. It wasn't a lot of fun."

The projection systems have Harper around 28-29 home runs while playing 142-143 games. Certainly, there's the potential he explodes past that number, but we'll set his over/under at 29.5 home runs.