If you’re a baseball fan, the name Bryce Harper is familiar to you. He’s the very young (22 years old right now) and incredibly talented former first pick overall in the draft just four years ago.
The lucky team that selected him, the Washington Nationals, now has a superstar and team leader for at least the next ten years, probably longer than that.
When Harper was selected by the Nationals four years ago he was a high school graduate considered to be a “lock” to succeed in Major League baseball. This 5-tool player (he hits for average and for power, excels defensively, has a strong arm and steals bases) began his career at the tender age of 19 – at the big league level.
The Nationals, impressed with his obvious skills, never sent him to the minor leagues. And that decision proved to be the correct one.
Harper was immediately successful as the team’s starting right-fielder. He hit for power and played solid defense. His performance improved steadily and consistently in his second and third years as he grew more comfortable in his role and began to mature, as well.
But it is this year, 2015, in which Harper’s career has really taken off. His performance on the field in the first half of the season was exceptional. He has played great from Day One and has hit for power and average even though five regulars have spent time on the disabled list robbing him of protection in the lineup.
When the season’s second half began last week, Bryce Harper was at or near the top in several key offensive categories. That is still true at this very moment. Consider the following …
Graphic via maxmayo
Bryce Harper leads the National League with twenty-seven home runs. He is hitting for average, too and is currently ranked third, just twelve points behind the league leader.
Add to that the fact that the young outfielder is not too far from the top in runs batted in and it becomes obvious that this dynamic player has a fair chance at winning the Triple Crown (most hits, home runs and RBIs).
And even if he fails to lead in all those categories this season, it’s reasonable to believe that he will win a Triple Crown before his career ends.
The truth is that Bryce Harper has gotten better each year of his career. He played well in 2014 showing improvement in all facets of his game, especially offense. And he has topped that this year, putting up even better offensive numbers so that he is viewed as a superstar by virtually everyone in baseball.
He figures to play the game at an even higher level over the remaining seventy games of the regular season. That’s because Washington will be getting back many of the starting players that have missed time due to injury.
When the roster – and the batting order – improves, opposing hurlers will not be able to “pitch around” the young slugger. His offense figures to get dramatically better in August and September.
Graphic via battingleadoff