In his first season in the majors, Harper has been impressive. Despite a recent slump, he leads the Nationals in on-base percentage (.347) and is second in on-base plus slugging (.844). He is hitting .274 with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 22 runs batted in.
His on-base plus slugging percentage is 17th among NL outfielders, but the all-star game is also entertainment, and fans may want to see one of the game’s best young and exciting players.
Harper is up for the final spot against Braves center fielder Michael Bourn, Cardinals infielder David Freese, Diamondbacks infielder Aaron Hill and Braves infielder Chipper Jones.
LaRussa hinted on the selection show on Sunday afternoon that he liked Jones, 40, a veteran and elder statesman of the National League who is playing in his final season. But the vote is entirely up to fans. Jones stands to be Harper’s biggest competition for the vote.
Harper and Bourn may be get a lift elsewhere. Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was voted an all-star starter but has been injured and targeting a return until after the all-star break. If Kemp doesn’t play, Harper or Bourn could make the team as reserves. That way, Jones could be voted on by fans if they so desire.