Q&A with Bryce Harper
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been in the big leagues a little over three months and played in an All-Star game and leads all National League rookies in runs scored with 58.
Harper, 19, now finds himself in a slump, going 28-for-124 [.226] in his last 31 games. MLB.com caught up with Harper to talk about his brief time in the big leagues.
MLB.com: You have been in the big leagues for over three months. What has the experience been like for you?
Harper: It has been a lot of fun. I just try to have fun every day and enjoy myself with this team.
MLB.com: You guys have been winning big time. Has that been a surprise to you?
Harper: I think so. We have a great team and organization. We have a great manager in Davey Johnson. Everybody around him has been doing a great job. It leads into us wanting to win and us wanting to win every single day for him, this organization, this town, this city. We have that attitude to win. That’s what we want to do.
MLB.com: How do you think you have done in the big leagues so far?
Harper: For the first year, I think I’ve done pretty well, but I’m never satisfied with the things I’ve done. You can always get better every day — get better in the outfielder, hitting, throwing, catching and everything like that. That’s the game of baseball. You can learn something new every day — mentally, physically and that’s what I try to do.
MLB.com: What do you need to do to get better?
Harper: Everything. Trying to go out there and have good at-bats. I want to see a lot of pitches, be as patient as I can and work on the mental side of baseball — not get too high, not get too low. I want to try and stay as even keel as I can. Just worry about everything I can control. That’s hustle, grind it out every day and play hard.
MLB.com: Is it more mental in the big leagues than you ever experienced in the past?
Harper: I guess so. I think you try to have fun and try to do the best that you can and not worry about things around you. …. First year in the big leagues, the biggest thing is, I try to enjoy myself, take it all in, hustle as best as you can that first year.
MLB.com: After missing more than three months of action because of a wrist injury, Jayson Werth is back on the team. You said many times that he was your mentor. How good is it to have him back?
Harper: It’s a lot of fun to have him back in the clubhouse and on the field. He is captain on this team. He is one of the guys you try to emulate and look after. You look at things that he does and work off that.
MLB.com: You have been in a slump lately. What are you doing to make things better at the plate?
Harper: I don’t think I’m in a slump. You just go there and have good ABs and not worry about anything else. We are winning. That’s the biggest thing. I’m not too worried about my numbers or anything like that. I could care less really. As long as we are winning, getting hits in good situations — try to get that runner from third or Ryan Zimmerman or somebody else driving them in — that’s the biggest thing.
MLB.com: What is the biggest thing you have to adjust to since you have in the big leagues?
Harper: Pitchers try to pitch me in different ways. I’m trying to learn what they are trying to do. I really try to get that one pitch in that one zone that I can drive. I’m trying to stay within myself, believe that I can do it and not worry about anything around me.
— Bill Ladson