It is time for another installment of "Nationals Supreme Court," where we lay out arguments and vote on the most timeless debates in Nats history. With three people, we can break the tie.
Yesterday, we debated the second-most iconic moment in Nats history. Today, we look at who gave the Nats more value between Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper. The votes were cast by Todd Dybas, Nick Ashooh and Chase Hughes...
Chase Hughes: Both guys played seven seasons in Washington before departing in free agency and from a pure production standpoint, it was nearly a statistical dead-heat. Rendon had more hits and doubles (of course), but Harper clubbed more homers, drew more walks and held a higher OPS (.900 to .859). Rendon was a better defensive player, but Harper was a better baserunner and run producer.
Rendon was more consistent, when he was healthy, but Harper's peak was much higher. He won the MVP in 2015 with one of the best offensive seasons in recent MLB history. Rendon, though, was a key ingredient to a World Series.
It is so close between them, but I give the tiebreaker to Harper because of the transformational quality he brought off the field. He was one of the most marketable figures in the sport and, I think, played a larger role than any other Nationals player in drawing young fans to the team. I think that is important given 'value' is the operative word in this debate. So, I go with Harper here.
CHASE'S VOTE: Bryce Harper
Nick Ashooh: Rendon was the more consistent player, but value extends beyond just stats in pro sports. Bryce Harper was the face of baseball when he was in Washington. He put butts in the seats, won an MVP, and was a dynamic personality on the field. Look at how much he helped the Phillies from a ticket-selling perspective. That matters.
Fans may have soured on him at the end here, but let's be honest, that was based on the astronomical paycheck he wanted. Harper just brought extra intangibles Rendon never did beyond the diamond.
NICK'S VOTE: Bryce Harper
Todd Dybas: Here's where Chase and Nick fall into a common trap: Harper's flash and media personification outweighs his actual value.
Harper did bring fans to the park. That's not in doubt. But, once there, they saw a better player -- Rendon -- on the field. Both played seven seasons in Washington. Rendon compiled more WAR (29.1 to 27.5) and played a more important position. He also out-performed Harper in the postseason.
One other thing: Rendon leaves with a ring following the best season of his career. When Harper left, Rendon took over as the Nationals' best hitter. The vote here is for Rendon.
TODD'S VOTE: Anthony Rendon
WINNER: Bryce Harper, based on a 2-1 vote.
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