Results tagged ‘ Bryce Harper ’

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. caught up with Harper to talk about his brief time in the big leagues. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

Harper not in lineup because of back issues

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was not in Sunday’s lineup against the Red Sox because of lower back tightness — “mostly muscular” — according to manager Davey Johnson.

The injury is not considered serious and there isn’t any talk about Harper getting an MRI. Johnson said Harper most likely will be in the lineup on Monday against the Blue Jays.

Harper, 19, has had back issues for at least four days. Johnson would have never known about the injury if not for bench coach Randy Knorr and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz telling Johnson about Harper’s problem.

Later in the morning, Harper didn’t look like he was injured. He was seen jogging in left field at Fenway Park. Later in the day, he was seen hitting in the batting cage.

“Bryce hasn’t said anything to me, but we are just being on the safe side.” Johnson said. “Normally, I don’t have coaches and trainers saying that about players. … Anybody that has a little something going on, I have to be on the safe side. I give them a day.”

Harper’s back problems first surfaced on Thursday against the Mets. With one out in the top of the ninth inning, Mets third baseman David Wright hit the ball to right field. Harper went after the ball, dove and let the ball go by him for a triple. After throwing the ball to the cutoff man, Harper fell to the ground in pain.

After the game, Harper said he was OK, that it wasn’t a big deal. Harper most likely will be available to pinch hit against the Red Sox.

Eckstein: Harper advanced as hitter

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has impressed hitting coach hitting coach Rick Eckstein. It’s more than just putting up the nice numbers Harper has put up in his brief time in the big leagues.

According to Eckstein, Harper is advanced as far as studying pitchers and having a plan when he steps to the plate. For example, Harper already knew what he was he was going to do when he faced Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay for the first time in his career on May 22nd.

After watching Halladay for the last three years on TV and on video, Harper’s game plan was to look for the curveball on the first-pitch. In the third inning of a 5-2 victory, Harper thought right and hit the ball in the gap for a triple, driving in two runs.

“He is a very talented young man with a great head on his shoulders, especially for being 19,” Eckstein said. “Some of the questions that he asks and his thought process is so advanced. Months before he ever faced Halladay, Bryce knew what he wanted to do. He has watched him and knew in his mind how he was going to approach that at-bat. He is always thinking ahead. He is always thinking further along. It’s not just here and now, it’s where am I going. It’s a very mature mind-set.”

Harper also doesn’t let to left-handers bother him. Entering Saturday action against the Red Sox, Harper is 15-for-41 [.366] with two home runs and seven RBIs. Against, right-handers, Harper is hitting .255.

“I love lefties. I really do,” Harper said. “I’m a little more calm against them. I try not to do too much. Against righties, I get so excited. I like righties a lot.”

Bench coach Randy Knorr said he is not surprised to see Harper having success against southpaws. Knorr managed Harper last year when both were with Triple A Syracuse and the Arizona Fall League.

“When I had him in the Fall League, we would have some tough lefties go against us and I would have guys that were left-handed [at the plate] and Bryce would make better adjustments already at his age,” Knorr said. “He was 18 at the time. They threw a couple of breaking balls at him and then he tried again and he hit [the ball somewhere]. He was already doing it back then. We have certain hitters who see the ball better than others.”

Some random notes on Espi, Nady, Harper

* Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa continues to be productive from the right side of the plate. On Friday, he went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and two runs scored. He raised his batting average to .359 [14-for-39].

“I feel like no one can get me out,” Espinosa said. “I feel pretty good. I have a good approach up there. I know what I can’t hit.”

On the other hand, from the left side of the plate, Espinosa has had problems all year long. Going into Saturday’s action against the Red Sox, he is 30-for-156 [.192]. Espinosa doesn’t have an explanation on why he is having problems from the left side of the plate. For most of his life, he says, Espinosa has been successful against right-handed pitching.

“It has been real weird for me,” Espinosa said. “My whole life I was a better left-handed hitter. It’s kind of confusing. I don’t understand it. Left-handed, I feel like, I’m not using my hands. I feel like I’m using my shoulders, my body, almost trying to create too much.

“Right-handed, I try to use my hands. … My strength will get there as long as my hand gets there, but it has been a work in progress, I guess, this whole year. It gets frustrating at times because I was a better hitter left-handed. It’s like, why all of a sudden am I struggling left-handed?”

* Lost in the Nationals’ 7-4 victory was the fact that outfielder Xavier Nady robbed Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of a solo homer in the third inning.

With Stephen Strasburg on the mound and the Nationals leading, 3-2, Gonzalez swung at a 0-1 pitch and hit the ball to deep right field.

Center fielder Bryce Harper shouted to Nady, “You have room, you have room.” Nady climbed the five-foot wall and caught the ball while on running on full speed.

“When I realized that it was in my glove, I kind of shocked myself,” Nady said. “With the sky — once I turned my head and ran — I didn’t pick up the ball until it was close to hitting me in the head. I didn’t pick it up immediately, but I was fortunate enough to hold on to it. I’m still in shock.”

* Although Bryce Harper went 3-for-5 against the Red Sox n Friday, manager Davey Johnson felt the 19-year-old made two mistakes in the games.

In the sixth inning, Harper singled off left-hander Rich Hill to drive in Tyler Moore. Harper was out trying to stretch the single into a double.

Although first-base coach Trent Jewett told Harper to go to second, Johnson felt Harper should have used his instincts and realized he didn’t have a shot to take the extra base.

“[Harper] saw the throw coming to second,” Johnson said. “He was going to hold, but Trent was assuming the ball was going to be [thrown to home plate], so he went on Trent’s instructions. I told [Harper], ‘You have to read that, no matter what he says. [Jewett] is thinking it’s going to be a close play at the plate, then you go give yourself up.’ Harper knew it.”

The second mistake was Harper, who batted second during the game, tried to bunt to reach base.

“I don’t want him to do that,” Johnson said. “I don’t know where that came from, what box of Cracker Jacks he got that out of. … I didn’t ask him about the bunt, but I’ll get to that tomorrow.”

* Stat of the day courtesy of the Red Sox: Harper’s six home runs this season are the most by teenager since Adrian Beltre had seven with the Dodgers in 1998 with the Dodgers.

Harper: Having Werth as mentor has been ‘huge’

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said recently that he missed his mentor, outfielder Jayson Werth, who is currently on the disabled list with a broken left wrist.

Harper said Werth has been the guy who showed him the ropes ever since Harper’s first Spring Training in 2011. In fact, after he was called up to the big leagues on April 28th of this year, Harper remembered that Werth was the guy who made him feel welcomed.

“J-Dub has been in this game for a long time and ever since the first day of Spring Training in my first year, he has always helped me out,” Harper said. “He has been there for me. Anything that I ever needed, [he was there].

“When I went into L.A. inside the locker room, Werth was sitting there. He really took me under his wing and he said, ‘Follow me, let’s get this thing done.’ He has taught me a lot about running the bases, playing the outfield, hitting and what pitchers do. Just a lot of things rookies need to learn. He has been there since day 1. .. He wants what’s best for the whole team. He tries to help everybody on this club. It has been huge to have him.”

Harper said Werth will text him once in a while to go over what Harper did during a game, whether it’s getting thrown out while running the bases or how he felt at the plate during a particular night.

“To have him be here for me anytime I need him is great,” Harper said.

Harper will not play for Harrisburg in playoffs

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will not play for Double A Harrisburg in the Eastern League playoffs, according to farm director Doug Harris.

While Harper’s right hamstring is getting better, Harris said Harper is not in playing shape to participate in the playoffs. Harper needs to see live pitching before returning to action. Harper is now heading home to Las Vegas and will get ready to play in the Arizona Fall League, which starts in October.

Harper even said farewell to Harrisburg on his Twitter account.

“It’s been real Harrisburg! Had a blast! My teammates and fans have been the best! Get that ring boys! Wish I was playing with you!,” he said.

The first overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Harper had a great first season in professional baseball, hitting .297 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs for Harrisburg and Class A Hagerstown

Harper promoted to Double A Harrisburg

WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper has been promoted from Class A Hagerstown to Double A Harrisburg, has learned on Monday morning.

Harper, 18, has lived up to the hype of being the first overall pick in 2010 First-Year Player Draft. In 72 games for Class A Hagerstown, Harper hit .318 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Harper will be on center stage once again Sunday, for he will play in the 2011 Futures Game for the U.S. in Phoenix on July 10.

Harper recently played in the South Atlantic All-Star Game, a game in which he went 0-for-2 with an RBI. Harper said his first All-Star appearance will not compare to what he will go through in Arizona.

“[Playing in the recent All-Star] game was awesome, but I feel it’s just a miniature game compared to the Futures Game,” Harper said. “I was around a group of guys in the Sally League that are going to be big leaguers one day, but being able to go to the Futures Game and play there, it’s going to be an incredible experience.”

Harper to be introduced to media Thursday

The Nationals are scheduled to hold a press conference at Nationals Park on Thursday to introduce outfielder Bryce Harper to the local media.

Late Monday night, the Nationals agreed to terms with outfielder Bryce Harper, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. The two parties had until Monday at midnight ET to get a deal done.

Harper agreed to a five-year contract that is worth $9.9 million, which includes a $6.25 signing bonus. The deal is a new record for a position player signed out of the Draft. The previous record was held by Mark Teixeira, who received a $9.5 million, four-year Major League deal in 2001.

Harper not playing for Gulf Coast Nats

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, the  No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, will be introduced to the media during the team’s next homestand, but no specific date has been set.

After meeting with the media, Harper will work out with the Gulf Coast Nationals, but will not play in any of the reaming games with them. However, Harper will start playing in the Instructional League this fall.

“Contractually, he is not going to play in any games [in the Gulf Coast League],” general manager Mike Rizzo said.

Twitter Poll: Will Bryce Harper sign with Nats?

On Monday afternoon, I asked a question to my Twitter followers: Do you think the Nats will sign OF Bryce Harper? Yes or No? Why? It is unanimous. The fans and bloggers believe a deal will get done between the Harper and the Nats. 

@SodaPop6548: I think they will. The way I understand it, he wants to play so bad right now he can’t stand it.

@krypt0nate: He’ll sign because his stock will never be higher and 2011 is supposed to be a deeper draft.

@Jeffrey_Bergin: Absolutely. You don’t leave high school, get a GED and enter the draft at 17 to be J.D. Drew or Aaron Crow

@natcapskin: YES, WITHOUT QUESTION. He will sign for less than $10 million.

@JoeBHokie: Remember, Nats took Aaron Crow at 9 in 2008 and he didn’t sign. As compensation, Nats took Drew Storen at 10 in ’09. Crow to KC at 12 in ’09

@HappyGilmore233: yes

@Szul: I think they will. I believe he wants to play and play now.

@JoeBHokie: Yes, as the kid will lose a year of multi-million dollar earning power. No pressure on the Nats for a deal though, considering compensation pick next year.

@Natsnq: Yes. If they don’t, the Nats lose face and Harper is proved a liar because he obviously doesn’t want to play ball that badly.

@NatsEnquirer: Yes: Not doing deal would be very bad outcome for both sides. Bet you $1 it gets done several hours before deadline.

@Thebrowncoat: Of course they will. This is the standard game. Deal gets done at 11:59 p.m. tonight with about a $10 million signing bonus.

@eenyy820: Yes. He’s a Scott Boras client. Boras just wants more time to ask for as much money as possible

@orangepigon: Yes. Both sides would be dumb to not get a deal done.

@JFLANland: Yes. You don’t leave HS early just to go to JuCo. 2011 draft is deeper, no promise he’d be No. 1.

@TheNatsBlog: Yes. I think the real question is how much money. 

@md_schmidt: Yes. Nats definitely want him and I don’t think Harper’s career aspirations include more AB’s at the College of Southern Nevada. He signs.

@ndepetris: yes, but not if he is looking for a Stephen Strasburg contract. Strasburg was instant improvement. Harper is good but less vital or immediate help

@tbridge: Yes. Power numbers in wooden bat leagues too good to ignore. He has much to lose if he doesn’t. Deal will get done at 11:59:40.

@HendoDC: Yes. They both want it to happen.

@Sultan_of_Stat: I’d be surprised if he doesn’t sign. He has nothing to prove at CSN and his stock can only go down with another year in college.

@jeffdonald: They’ll get him. Risk of not signing is far greater for Harper than for the Nats.

@CapitolAvenue: Yes because Harper seems to want to play.

@Jake_Titleman39: He wouldn’t have left high school and gone through everything not to sign