At this time last year, we were introduced to Bryce Harper as a Major League Baseball player. Harper took the league by storm, winning the NL Rookie of the Year quite easily. In his first calendar year in the majors, Harper has shown an amazing amount of raw power combined with an unbelievable desire to play the game hard. On ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” this afternoon, one of the analysts said that Harper had been clocked at under 4 seconds to first base on a routine ground out, which can only mean one thing: absolute hustle, something not always seen out of today’s superstars. Bryce Harper has an intriguing and uncommon combination of power and speed. Last season, Harper was absolutely phenomenal. He had a .270 batting average and a .340 on-base percentage with 22 home runs and an amazing 9 triples. In addition to his batting prowess, Harper played a great centerfield even though it was the first year he played mainly centerfield in his life. In over 715 innings in centerfield, he committed only 4 errors, while showing off an absolute cannon of an arm. So last year is great, but what can Bryce Harper do in the future.
If this season is any indication of what Bryce Harper will do in the future, he could go down as one of the best players in the history of Major League Baseball. Harper has already hit 9 home runs and can become the first player to hit double-digit home runs in April as a 20 year old. Harper is hitting .373 on the young season with a .453 on base percentage. He has fixed some of the holes that pitchers found in him toward the end of last year. He has been hitting breaking balls that he would have missed by a mile last year. According to ESPN, Harper has seen the lowest percentage of fastballs in the league this year. This only shows how scared pitchers have been of the young phenom.
That is all tangible evidence that Bryce Harper was not a fluke last season. But there is another piece to Bryce Harper. He plays the game with the enthusiasm of a little leaguer who simply loves the game. He gallops and dives in the outfield as if he is just out there for fun and it’s not a job. His helmet flips off his head as he stretches a single into a double. Eye black is smeared across his face like he can’t see what he is doing. Harper plays the game with a joy that is not usually seen by superstars in sports.
Photo Credit: (Patrick Smith/Reuters)
Harper is already an early season favorite for an MVP this year, and he is only 20 years old! Imagine what happens with he really figures out all his holes at the plate. Even if Harper levels off and produces the rest of the way he did last year, Harper would have over 30 home runs and 80 RBI. It may not seem obvious to some, but it is glaringly obvious to me. Not only will Harper be in the Hall of Fame, when all is said and done, we will look back at Bryce Harper’s career and put him in a category with the greatest to ever play the game. Harper will be up there with Mays, DiMaggio, Mantle, Williams, Ruth and Aaron.