Skip to content

Red-hot Harper doesn’t need a break

Feb 27, 2013, 1:08 AM EDT

Associated Press
Bryce Harper went 3-for-3 today and is now hitting .750 for the spring.

Because the calendar still reads February, we're obligated to issue the same caveat that is uttered when discussing just about any player this time of the year: You can't read too much into spring training stats.

OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can turn to the real point of this: Bryce Harper has looked fantastic so far this spring, and there's no reason to think he's going to slow down anytime soon.

With a 3-for-3, two-double performance today in the Nationals' 9-5 loss to the Braves, the second-year, outfielder raised his Grapefruit League batting average to .750 (6-for-8). He's hitting the ball with authority. He's hustling like no one else and taking extra bases at will. And he's rifling throws to the plate from his new regular position in left field.

In other words, Harper is performing this spring exactly as he did throughout his Rookie of the Year campaign.

He doesn't need to do this. Harper isn't trying to convince team officials he deserves a spot on the Opening Day roster like he did the previous two springs. His job is as secure as anyone's on the club, and more and more it's looking like he's going to hit third in Davey Johnson's lineup, in between Jayson Werth and RyanRead more ยป

  1. We are the Nationals - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    This kid is making me wish it's already opening day!

  2. Positively Half St. - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    This is very entertaining, but not as entertaining as when he does this in the regular season. While I'm at it, let's make that every season for the rest of his career, all with the Nats.Ah, that felt good.+1/2St.

  3. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Got to love the fact that Bryce is talking his way into the line up of a spring training game.

  4. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    Programming note. On Fox 5 DC tomorrow at 8:45 AM a Young Nats fan get's his TV debut. Matts Bats is on with Dave Ross. I am sure he will be adorable (and some of the grouchy people should watch, might actually melt their hearts)

  5. MurrayTheRed - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Who is Matts Bats?

  6. Gonat - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    MicheleS, I've read the MattsBats blog and the kid has to be a genius. He writes better than most 20 year olds and he's only 8.I have to wonder there isn't a "ghost writer" situation.

  7. tayo - Feb 27, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    An average of .750? Bryce told me those are about close to some of the lofty expectations/goals for this season that he was reluctant to share to the media.

  8. SonnyG10 - Feb 27, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    Wow, I love Bryce Harper. With his desire and drive he would be a great player even without his gifted ability, ala Nellie Fox many years ago. But to have the drive and desire along with the gifted ability…just WOW!!!!

  9. NatsNut - Feb 27, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    what, more excellence on this team? yawn. ;)

  10. Doc - Feb 27, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    Hard to believe that there might be a better manager in MLB for Bryce Aron Max, than Davey.Without Davey, Harps probably wouldn't have been in the Bigs last year. Wiggleman wouldn't have had the courage, or whatever else, to do it.Too bad Bryce's parents didn't have triplets!

  11. BigCat - Feb 27, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    "I'm not gettin on that bus without an extension!!" Really Riggs? Well…..bye.Somewhere Matt Stairs is misty eyed

  12. Rabbit34 - Feb 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Simple. Harper, best player in baseball.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Harper is nowhere near best player in baseball. He may have best potential at ML level right now but he has yet to realize it.

  14. BigCat - Feb 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Harper picking right up where he left off in game 5 against the Cards. As you recall, he tripled off the wall in the first and then homered to deep right in the 3rd to help us build a 6-0.

  15. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Murray, MattsBatts is an 8 year old who writes about the Nats mattsbats.com. Gonat. I am sure his mom and dad probably review/edit before it's posted, but you really can tell it's from an 8 year old. Saw him at Nats Fest and he was SOOO geeked up about being there.

  16. Coach Mac - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Great that Harper wants to play all the time. It's Davey's job to make sure he gets the amount of rest in Spring that is required. This is the kind of stuff that Davey loves. He loves creating some kind of story out of nothing. Davey should have either had him in tomorrow's lineup originally, or else just told him no.

  17. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    I love Harp in the No. 3 spot.

  18. Gonat - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    MicheleS, that's what I would guess that it's a collaboration with most coming from the parents.Since Matt seems to be really in to it, that's great.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    I told a friend of mine who asked how I thought Bryce would do this year and I said if he hits .340, hits 40 home runs, steals 40 bases and drives in 130 I wouldn't be suprised.

  20. MicheleS - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    NatsJack if he does that..oh my….

  21. BigCat - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Agree, Davey needs to keep the governor on this guy. Its a loooong year. Also agree he could tear it up this year.Any word on how Ryan Zim is throwing….if at all. He is probably on a program, on one day off the next

  22. BigCat - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Interesting that Werth thought the Phillies are going to challenge more than the Braves. Braves picked up the Uptons, but also lost Chipper and Prado.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Wren sat behind us as he usually does when we go to Braves/Nats at Disney. I thanked him for moving Prado and not enticing Larry to forgo retirenent.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    As I have written a few times, if Bryce bats 3rd where you get prime RBI opps, Bryce can be a legit MVP candidate.

  25. BigCat - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Prado and Chipper…..both Nat Killers. Time will tell about the chemistry in that Braves clubhouse with the Uptons now aboard. Seems like Chipper has been there forever. I won't miss him

  26. Doc - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Seems like a modest prediction for Brycie Baseball, NatsJack. Let's hope for it and see what we get!

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I see Bryce at .285 BA and a .355 OBP with 115 RBIs and 32 HRs which puts him solidly in the MVP discussion.Eventually I see him approaching those 40 HRs. I think pitchers will be pitching around him too much.

  28. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/birthdays.cgi?month=2&day=27Denard Span is having a birthday today! In the words of MicheleS WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/21393281/8-year-old-blogger-covers-the-nationals#axzz2M6x86fhGHere's the Matt's Bats link! For 8 years old, he did good. His call is for a lefty specialist!

  30. UnkyD - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Ghost…."Eventually I see him approaching those 40 HRs. I think pitchers will be pitching around him too much."————–Pitching around him….. To get to Zim…? This is the conundrum…. You can't pitch around 1-4…. This is gonna be SO much fun!!!

  31. Knoxville Nat - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    "I thanked him for moving Prado and not enticing Larry to forgo retirenent."Hey Jack, think you can entice Wren in to trading Kimbrell to an AL team?

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    UnkyD, you are correct. If you look at Ryan Braun with Prince Fielder behind him Braun was IBB'd 2 times in 2011. Last year without Prince there, Braun was IBB'd 15 times!It's called, pick your poison. If Bryce doesn't expand his strike zone and take what they give him, it will be some long innings for the opposing pitchers.It's exactly how the Phillies did it for several years stacking the middle of their lineup around Howard and Utley. Bryce's BB% was 9.4% last year which is good.

  33. Rabbit34 - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Oops. Sorry, I guess I was wrong. I was informed that Harper is nowhere near the best player in baseball. Well, golly gee. Kick my backside! Seriously, everyone is entitled to their opinion and my opinion isn't waivered. Harper is the best baseball player in baseball. He plays the game like it should be played. I am proud to have him as a National!

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Rabbit, its the intangibles that Harper brings like causing havoc on the base paths and the arm in the outfield that dares baseruners to attempt another base.Those stats don't show up necessarily in WAR just like his enthusiasm and the energy he brings to the dugout.I'm not ready to annoint him with "Best" in baseball but I would say top 5 in position players if I was building a team.

  35. Joe Seamhead - Feb 27, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I also am not ready to say that he is the best player in baseball, but I will say that Bryce Harper may end up being the best baseball player since Mays and Mantle. This kid is really special, and like Mr. Rabbit, I'm thrilled to have him as a National.I'm not sure that I have seen more unbridled enthusiasm than Bryce displays every play.

  36. PlugNPlay - Feb 27, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    If Bryce is the best baseball player in baseball, does that make Nyjer the best hockey player in baseball? Is Chris Young the best basketball player in baseball? Just curious.Other nominations…Deion Sanders – the best football player in baseballGreg Maddux – the best darts player in baseball

  37. Rabbit34 - Feb 27, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Ghost…..you're on track with me as to what I cconsider a "best" player. I agree with the "top 5" assessment. I just have him at number 1 in the top five! :)!!!!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter