Found May 13, 2012 on Taking Bad Schotz:
With runners on first and third and two outs in a game last week between the Nationals and Phillies, Cole Hamels threw to first base to keep the runner in check.  The Nationals’ 19 year old phenom Bryce Harper exploded towards home plate the moment Hamels lifted his leg like a sprinter leaving the blocks at the sound of a gun.  Harper, who was called up on April 28th, was on base because Phillies starter Cole Hamels took it upon himself to “welcome him to the big leagues” with a fastball in the back.  The first basemen realized Harper was running, and fired the ball to the catcher, but it was too late.  Harper had stolen home, avenging the bean ball that later caused Hamels to be suspended for five games. I had the pleasure to watch Harper play quite a bit last season, when he was with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.  The first thing that struck me about Harper was his super-human bat speed.  He generates this bat speed by contorting his lower body and then releasing the stored energy in a violent motion reminiscent of a rubber band being pulled back and released.  The swing is more backyard wiffle ball than Major League Baseball.  The second thing I noticed was the hustle he showed on the base paths.  Even on routine ground balls, he made sure the fielder was forced to make the play in a timely manner by hustling down the line. While it was clear last season that Harper had the talent to be one of the best, he was not a polished player as expected from an 18 year old.  He had trouble judging off-speed pitches down in the zone.  He often got out in front of curveballs below the knees, which led to numerous off-balance swings at pitches that should have been taken for a ball.  In the field, he occasionally took awkward routes to reach a fly ball.  Usually his athleticism allowed him to recover in time to make the catch, but on a couple occasions balls that should have been caught found grass instead.  These are minor gripes about an extremely talented ballplayer, but they are the kind of things that make the minor leagues necessary for young players. So when the Nationals announced that Harper would be making his debut so early in the 2012 season, I was slightly worried that it was too soon.  So far Harper seems to be putting my worries to rest.  Although it is a very small sample, he has put up a 93 wRC+ on the back of a good walk rate (11.8%), and a lower K% (15.7) than he posted at any stop of his minor league tour.  According to a tiny sample from UZR, he has been above average in the outfield, and has been worth 0.4 wins in only 51 plate appearances.  There is no reason to expect a drop in production either.  His BABIP is only .278, and his ISO is currently sitting at .140 (ZiPS projected an ISO of .167).  So essentially, he should start to hit for some more power as he becomes more comfortable with big league pitching. Only six other players in the last twenty years have amassed over 100 plate appearances as a teenager, something that Harper will do this season barring injury.  Those players include Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Adrian Beltre, both Upton brothers, and Mike Trout.  Every single one of these players turned out to be, at the least, above-average major leaguers (although it’s a little early to tell for Trout).  So will Bryce Harper live up to the hype?  It’s still too early to tell, but baseball fans should begin to take note that this 19 year old in Washington with the wiffle-ball swing could possibly be the future of baseball. -Albright

Harper bloodied after smashing bat

Bryce Harper was bloodied and needed to be treated after cutting himself smashing a bat in the Nationals' dugout.


Bryce Harper cut off the rattail

Bryce Harper got a haircut and is no longer wearing the rattail on the back of his head. See a picture of his new look.


Bryce Harper hits his first MLB home run

On the HR board Bryce Harper has done just about everything else on the field since getting the call up to the “Bigs,” and now he’s added his first Major League home run to his resume. The San Diego Padres were in Washington D.C., to take on the Nationals, Monday night. In the 3rd inning, with nobody on and two outs, Bryce Harper laced a line drive over the center field fence...

When Bryce Harper lost one in the tough sky

Hasn't been the best of times since Bryce Harper cut off his skullet, eh? Friday night: 0-5, smacks himself in the eye with his bat. Saturday: 0-4, finishes his day by striking out on three pitches against Aroldis Chapman. Then on Sunday, Harper lost a Jay Bruce fly ball in the twlight/mist/clouds/sky in the 8th inning (video here). Ball lands ~15 feet behind him on the warning...

Bryce Harper Bloody Chronicles: Bashes Bat On Wall & It Hits Him In Face

Add another level of awesomeness to the legend of Bryce Harper (also known as Pete Rose’s love child) thanks to his antics last night. Why was Harper bleeding above his eye during an at-bat? Why was there blood trickling down his face while he was in the outfield? Somebody got p*ssed off after an AB and went nuts with a bat. Somebody isn’t coming out of a game for stitches....

Nationals' Harper accidentally cuts face with bat fragment

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper swung and hit the wall with his bat in the runway to the clubhouse after making an out at the plate Friday night. A part of the bat hit Harper near his left eye, opening up a cut that manager Davey Johnson said would require a few stitches. Harper was bleeding from his face and was replaced by OF Xavier Nady. Johnson expects Harper...

"Bam Bam" Bryce Harper is in Nats starting lineup tonight.

A day after throwing a temper tantrum (swinging a bat against a wall, and hitting himself above the left eye, opening a gash that required 10 stitches) and bleeding profusely on the field Friday night, Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals starting lineup for Saturday night's game against the Reds. Besides stitches, Harper also got a new nickname out the the deal: "Bam...

Cole Hamels vs. Bryce Harper/ MLB Managers Rant

PRESS THE PLAY BUTTON TO LISTEN! IT'S ONLY TEN MINUTES! The reign of T- Money continues and again I want to thank you for taking your precious time to listen to my thoughts. I have made the show more accessible to you by limiting the podcast to ten minutes or less. If you like what you hear the only thing I ask is for you to continue to spread the word to your friends...

VIDEO: Bryce Harper's first MLB home run

Just a few days after requiring stitches from his bat richocheting off the wall and back into his face in the midst of a 0-for-5 game with three strikeouts, 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper hit his first big league home run to help the Washington Nationals to an 8-5 win on Monday night. The start of a new era of superstardom is met with an embeddable video: Harper...

Harper already getting compared to The Greats

CINCINNATI Brandon Phillips, The Tsar of Twitter, tweeted this to his constituents Friday morning: "We play Babe Ruth and the Washington Nationals this weekend. He was not referring to Rick Ankiel or Adam LaRoche or even Ryan Zimmerman. He was, of course, referring to 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper baseball's newest cover boy. Phillips' tweet was not disparaging...

Bryce Harper's Howard & Other Stuff

*The teenage sensation, the Wunderkind, the Natural, the adolescent phenom, the one and only uber-hyped Bryce Harper hit the first homerun of his career last night.  He also committed an error.  He also struck out.  Oh yeah, he committed his first career Howard.  Welcome to the list kid.*Placido Polanco helped put the game away in the bottom of the 8th inning last night with...

Out of the Batter's Box - Phillies earn second home series win of season

Cole Hamels was good yesterday. Hey, he should have been with the extra rest after being suspended last week. With yesterday's 3-2 win against the San Diego Padres, the Phillies picked up just their second home series win of the season (and first since taking two of three from Miami from April 9-12). So far the Phillies are 7-9 at Citizens Bank Park. If Charlie Manuel really...

Cole Hamels is looking for a seven-year deal

Baseball's new villain Cole Hamels is looking for a seven-year contract extension that surpasses C.C. Sabathia's seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees in 2008 according to Andrew Kulp Apparently he'll hold the world hostage if nobody gives that kind of money to him. Back in March, I speculated that Hamels could ask for a C.J. Wilson's type...

Phillies 3, Padres 2

PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels threw seven strong innings in his first start back from suspension, Jimmy Rollins ended a long homerless drought and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres 3-2 on Sunday. Hamels (5-1) allowed one run and five hits, striking out five. The two-time All-Star left-hander was suspended five games by Major League Baseball after admitting he intentionally...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.