How do you begin the week after you have been named National League Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks (he’s just the 10th player in Major League history to achieve this feat)? You hit a home run against your favorite boyhood team.
Bryce Harper was clearly looking fastball from Nate Eovaldi, but it didn’t matter in the end. It wasn’t the longest home run Bryce Harper has hit, but it definitely was impressive. Harper gets bat to the ball on an offspeed pitch down in the zone, and the pitch lands in the front row of right-center field at Nationals Park.
This was the 15th home run of Harper’s 2015 season. My daughter, who is six months old today; sat calmly on my lap just before her bedtime to watch this at-bat of Harper’s against who my wife says is her favorite team, the Yankees. In the first baseball season of her life; through 40 team games played, Bryce Harper is on a 61-home run pace.
The Nationals won the game 8-6 in extra innings on a Ryan Zimmerman walk-off home run.
If you watched Bryce Harper this weekend, you saw just about everything there was to see done by a player on a baseball field. He put up a pretty insane weekend in baseball’s finest pitcher’s landscape, Petco Park.
On Saturday, he didn’t homer; so you didn’t get a post. But he did bunt for a hit (finally), and get on base three times. He also stole a bag Friday night.
On Sunday, Harper tripled, infield singled, and finished off the Padres with a three-run line shot to the direct opposite field off Dale Thayer.
It was his 14th home run of the season and Stephen Strasburg was the winning pitcher in a 10-5 ballgame. Right now, at age 22, on this date; it’s hard to argue that Harper is not the best player on the planet. He has a Barry Bonds slash-line right now.
On the night that the Washington Nationals caught the New York Mets in the win column, Bryce Harper wrestled away the National League lead in home runs from Todd Frazier. He homered off a guy who isn’t famous enough to have a post tag on this blog named Shawn Kelley. Kelley was just trying to mop-up for Odrisamer Despaigne and Harper caught an off-speed pitch for his 13th home run of the 2015 season.
Harper also singled twice and walked. His current slash line sits at .317/.460/.690, which is Barry Bondsian. If he manages to stay healthy, he’s going to put together a special season for everyone that has been so patiently or impatiently waiting on it.
I think Rubby De La Rosa is a nice little arm, to be honest. I am probably in the minority; but he’s caught my eye. Bryce Harper is so torrid right now, he hits a pitcher’s pitch out of that great run-scoring environment by simply putting barrel to ball.
Now we warn you before watching, this is not your typical, beautiful Harper swing. He’s just insanely locked in. And this ball is getting out in that good humidity out there in Scottsdale.
At the end of the day, the Nationals lost the game 14-6 and things got out of hand because Stephen Strasburg has not yet tapped into his vast potential. But let it be written that Bryce Harper recorded his 67th career home run and 12th of the 2015 season off a pretty good young arm in Rubby De La Rosa.
No matter what Harper does from this point forward, he just closed out what was probably the best week of his career. Displaying power to all fields, Harper had a three-homer game, a two-homer game, and a walk-off job in three consecutive games. Mixed in with all those damn homers were a bunch of line drives up the middle and through the left side. He also doubled 400 feet to center today and added another single.
He’s just really hitting well right now – and the walks were already in the equation.
We have ALWAYS really loved Harper, tantalized by his talents that he would show from time to time but frustrated that injuries and his own (understandable) immaturity was keeping him from tapping into this vast potential. A potential that we think could see him become a Derek Jeter type of ambassador of the sport; a guy that kids ask you about someday when you’re old (“you really saw Bryce Harper play in person?”).
If you’ve been admittedly nervous about Harper’s development, it’s time to relax some. Barring injury, this breakout is real. Just watch him some night. He’s been having the quality at-bats all year long, his swing is perfect right now; and he’s staying on pitches a lot longer than ever before in his career. The homer binge should continue unless pitchers just decide it’s easier to go after Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos, which is a likely outcome. In that case, he’s going to achieve a .400 on-base and a .900 OPS in his sleep which at age 22 is what you call a star player.
This will forever be the week that he announced his great presence in the game. It should never be forgotten.
“It’s not that I’m hot, it’s just how I hit the ball,” Bryce Harper told Ken Rosenthal shortly after walking off some poor soul named Cody Martin (who looked like he had semi-decent stuff). It doesn’t really matter right now what kind of stuff you have. Bryce Harper is on one of the most incredible hot streaks in modern baseball history.
And we think anyone who has watched the last few days kind of had a feeling after Jayson Werth struck out, runner on first; that Harper was going to put one in the seats to end the game.
No one, will ever forget this Ruthian run that Harper has put together at age 22. No matter what happens from here.
It was Harper’s 11th home run of the season, his 66th of his career. He’s not going to be stuck in the 60’s for too long if he keeps at this pace. He now leads the National league in home runs and walks, is second in runs scored and RBI, and fourth in runs scored.
Unanimous NL MVP selection if he doesn’t get hurt.
Fangraphs recently pointed out that Bryce Harper is getting his pitch, staying on it longer, and not missing them. They of course went into a detailed explanation of the ‘why’ behind the fury you’re seeing.
Tonight he tagged poor Eric Stults and some guy trying to just get through his first major league inning named Williams Perez (Perez recorded one out). Two more home runs, ten on the year, and he surpasses a guy named Mark McGwire as the youngest player in baseball history to hit five home runs in two games.
Harper completely took the game over to get the Nationals back to .500, displaying more power to all fields. There isn’t much more to be said other than I’m not sure you’ll ever see a guy this white hot at the plate. This is the pinnacle of ‘locked in’.
No matter how many games that Bryce Harper plays, this is the one you’ll always remember. No matter what happens from this day forth, this was probably the moment you can say he came out and said ‘I am a star’ with his play. There’s no turning back from this moment, I don’t think.
This feat could not have been achieved without the stubborn efforts of Tom Koehler. Koehler simply would not give in today – usually when you say that about a pitcher you are saying that the pitcher refuses to give the hitter something to hit. This was the opposite. Koehler continued to challenge Harper on a day when he was a man possessed with fastballs up in the zone and finally in his third at-bat he thew some kind of hybrid pitch that didn’t work either. Instead of just putting Harper on base that third at-bat, Koehler went right into the mouth of the beast and when it landed in the upper deck you could tell that Koehler had been completely defeated. Stripped of his manhood for the day.
Tom Koehler, Bryce Harper just made you famous.
When a guy hits three home runs in a game; and he’s already a prodigal son, he starts getting mentioned with the greats.
No Yankee hit three homers in a game for almost five years until Mickey Mantle did it on May 13, 1955, against the Tigers. He drove home all the Yankee runs in the 5-2 win. Mantle hit all his homers into the center field bleachers and hit the first two from the left side of the plate and the third as a righty. The Times estimated that the shots traveled around 1,300 feet.
There is some similarity here folks. Mickey Mantle’s three home run game took place one week in May after Harper’s; some 60 years earlier. Mantle was 23, Harper was 23. The linescore by Mantle’s name: 4 3 4 5. The linescore by Harper’s name: 4 3 3 5. I haven’t seen the measurements, but Harper’s three home runs probably traveled around 1,300 feet; like Mantle’s. Both came in wins in front of the home crowd.
Two of Harper’s three home runs were gargantuan blasts into the upper deck of Nationals park where they just don’t get home run balls. If you’re at that park live, it doesn’t look like someone can hit a ball up there. The first home run of the day for Harper was a long opposite field shot that almost cleared the bullpen.
Here they are, in all their glory. All three of Bryce Harper’s home runs today.
Home run number one:
Home run number two:
Home run number three:
Bryce Harper (22 years old) is youngest player to hit 3 HR in a game since Joe Lahoud did so for the Red Sox on June 11, 1969
Haren has been in a few different clubhouses since that season, and the unlikely paths of Harper and Haren crossed for the first time. The ball landed in the bullpen for a 1-0 Washington lead, and the 60th home run of Harper’s career.
Haren somehow smoke and mirrored the Nationals for another couple innings and the Nationals dropped the game 6-2. The Nationals were swept out of town in Miami this weekend and now have the worst record in their division at 7-12.
Bryce Harper has five home runs in the 2015 season and 60 for his career.
This was the one. The one that shows off the ’80’ grade power. If you thought Friday night’s homer was a bomb (it was), this one on Saturday afternoon is the one that will be talked about for ages (or a few days on social media) and have the Washingtonian school children imitating Harper in the schoolyard on Monday.
Look where the ball lands – I told my wife off the bat something like “holy shit, look at this one” – it hits a back wall in the bullpen in center. If you watch many Nationals games, it’s an area that just isn’t reached by baseball’s.
Bob Carpenter on the telecast: “Oh my look where it hits! We’ve never seen one on the back wall out there!” and followed it with “That’s the longest home run to center field that we’ve seen in this ballpark”.
The rumor according to MLB Gameday is the ball traveled an estimated 461 feet. Back in the days of Mickey Mantle there would be some legend that ended up derived through tales through the years that the ball went 500 feet or some shit. This was that type of blast.
And it comes off Aaron Harang. He’s such a kind, old ape isn’t he? It didn’t bother Aaron Harang at all that someone just hit one to Bethesda off him. He was just like ‘give me a new ball’. There are some pitchers it would get fired up, but Harang was his usual vanilla self. The Phillies won the game 5-3.
It appears that the Washington Nationals have found themselves a little bit, we would bet that the bullshit begins to come to an end with this team for the rest of the season. Tonight they beat the Phillies 7-2 at Nationals Park, and in Max Scherzer’s first win as a National, Bryce Harper hit a monster home run into that bullpen in center field. When you see one land in that pen, it’s a legit big league home run.
You’ll see in the footage above that Harper catches a 1-2 hanging breaking ball from Sean O’Sullivan. Let us make a quick point on the aforementioned O’Sullivan. We don’t know where the Phillies found this guy, and we don’t care to look it up. But this guy has to be one of the biggest ‘gimmes’ in the big leagues today. He’s sloppy. He hangs pitches that scream ‘hit me’. And he generally just can’t get anyone out.
This was Harper’s career home run number 58. The last two have come off O’Sullivan. You know these professional hitters wish they could face O’Sullivan every day.
And what’s that we spy in Harper’s lip? We know what that is. It appears the last two games that young Harper has acquired a very bad habit – ironically enough just as we are trying to quit (once again).
Kids at home who see that – never start if you haven’t. It’s an awful habit, even if you’re hitting big league homers 410 feet.
It has been said that Bryce Harper could end up the Mickey Mantle of his generation. Their 57th career homers have some career parallels, and I know this because I spent an abnormal amount of time studying The Mick’s baseball-reference page this weekend.
Harper continues to display his power to all fields – homering off some out of shape guy named Sean O’Sullivan to left center. Mantle’s also went to left center, off some guy named Mickey McDermott. Mantle’s came in a road win against the Red Sox. Harper’s came in a road win against Philadelphia. They were both hit in the first inning. Mantle was about a week from being 22 years old. Harper is 22 years old.
Here’s a look at the 57th career home run in the career of Bryce Harper:
I don’t know this to be fact, but I don’t think either guy was using batting gloves for number 57.
And then there was Max Scherzer. Boy, he was throwing pellets today. He sat down the first 15 or so hitters and then things got sticky. The Nationals only run on the day was the above swing of beauty by Harper that ended up in the seats. It would appear that Bryce Harper gets up to play on Opening Day; and Bartolo Colon was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I cannot believe that Bartolo Colon is still starting Opening Day games.
The Nats lost the game 3-1 because their middle infield tandem is Dan Uggla and Yunel Escobar. I should have thought long and hard about that before I said they would win the 2015 World Series.
Hopefully, this is the start of something beautiful that lasts 161 more games for Harper.
Sometimes you have to be objective and just react to the news, even if it’s something you don’t fully agree with. Via the Washington Post, Bryce Harper has once again been voted baseball’s most overrated player in a poll of current MLB players.
Bryce Harper was voted the “most overrated player in MLB” for a second consecutive year. Harper received 41 percent of the vote, while Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was second , just as he was last season, with 15 percent.
The voting was much closer last year, with Harper (24 percent), uh, edging out Puig (21 percent) and Alex Rodriguez (14 percent). Incidentally, the Dodgers are projected to finish with the second-most wins in baseball this season (89). Perhaps MLB players are just jealous of success.
Not exactly the type of confidence-inspiring thing you want to learn as a player while enduring a spring training that you’re hitting .176.
Yes, Harper might be a tad overrated by the media and public. He’s also been a pretty good player when he’s been healthy. His Scott Boras saying things like Harper deserves some 12-year, $300 million dollar deal is asinine. It probably rubs some guys around the game the wrong way if they’re not outright laughing at it.
We are getting to a point where you hope that Harper begins to shed some of the overrated tag in 2015. But he’s definitely not locked in at the moment. Here’s to hoping for an April like the one he had in 2013.