Bryce Harper made his debut last night, sooner than most people, including me, expected. He was struggling in AAA, hitting .250/.333/.375 in 82 PA. The Nationals were having even more problems with their lineup, especially in left field, prompting the call-up. After seeing him play two games, I don’t know how he ends up back in the minors.
In his two games against the Dodgers, he is 2-for-7 with a double, walk, and sacrifice fly, leaving his slashline at .333/.375/.500. Despite having a lunge in his natural swing, he has only struck out once. His double was a line drive to the base of the center field wall on a pitch at the letters. He has shown the willingness to go to left field, hitting his sac fly in that direction. As long as the strikeouts don’t pile up due to that lunge, offense will not be a problem.
He has really shown off his other skills which makes him an elite talent. First, his speed is well above average and he hustles, evident in his first at-bat when he busted it all the way down the line on a tapper back to the pitcher. That speed is now on display in the outfield, where he is raw, not playing out there consistently until last year. He already made a great catch against the wall in center field, also showing his all-out effort. He also showed off his cannon, throwing the ball from left field to the plate on a line and dead accurate. These skills can add upwards of two wins a year compared to a normal corner-style player.
Physically, Harper is much more developed than the typical 19-year-old. At 6’3, 225, he has the body to hit for power. In Alex’s article on Josh Hamilton, he mentioned that there aren’t many players that compare to Hamilton, but Harper may end up being that guy. Harper could also walk more often and stay healthier, which would make him one of the best players in the game very soon.