Originally written May 06, 2012 on Reading Between The Seams:
Prime-Time Performer Bryce Harper continues to shine under the spotlight. It’s been a long time since a position player has come into the league and made such an early splash as Harper. He’s doing more than just performing at a high level. Bryce has found a different way to impress almost every game, and he has done it in dramatic fashion with the nation watching. Harper received the call-up just over a week ago. This call was a bit of a shock to baseball people, as many expected the 19 year-old to get the shot much later this season. Many were skeptical as to whether he was ready to hit Major League pitching. In his first game, Harper showed his abilities by taking a 3-2, high fastball and planting it off of the center field fence for a stand-up double. It wasn’t much later that he showed his defensive prowess, as he threw a laser to the plate from leftfield that would have had the runner dead in his tracks had the catcher held onto the ball. Days go by and Harper continues to “wow” the fans in several manners. He makes the move from leftfield to center and takes away an extra base hit while crashing into the wall and proudly raising the ball as if to show a trophy. There never seems to be a dull moment when Harper is on the field. Sunday night, with the Philadelphia Phillies in town, the Nationals are on prime-time TV as the ESPN game of the week. First inning of the game, Harper is hit by a pitch and soon makes the Phillies pay. He goes from first to third on Jayson Werth’s single. Harper was not satisfied. Pitcher Cole Hamels makes a pick of throw to first and Harper dashes to the plate…Safe. The first steal of home for Harper’s career and only the second in Nationals’ history. Harper’s hustle never seems to stop. Later in the game, with the Nats in the field, Philadelphia loaded the bases with no outs. As the ball his hit out to Harper in left, he plays nothing safe. Harper comes running in with the diving catch, saving what could have been a very long inning for the Nats. When Bryce Harper stepped to the plate in the 8th inning, the Nats trailed 3-1. He fists off a pitch, barely sending if past the shortstop for a soft-bloop hit.  Harper again is not satisfied. He sprints out of the batter’s box and doesn’t stop until he’s sliding into second base. Off the bat, this was no double. Bryce stole a double and did it with young aggressiveness that you rarely see in the Major Leagues. This guy is fun to watch. When a player has the talents that Bryce Harper possesses, you will see amazing things when that player shows with the type of vigor that Harper comes with. There is a new star on the scene, and this is no laid-back, pampered athlete. This kid is a go-getter. The Spotlight Kid has arrived.
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