Bryce Harper: Flourishing Major League Baseball Player

Super-prospect Bryce Harper is up with the Washington Nationals, and if he's in over his head, he's sure as hell not showing it.

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25 Total Updates since February 8, 2012
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The Bryce Harper We Should Have Expected

Bryce Harper has been in a terrible slump over the second half of the season. We probably should have seen this coming.

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Bryce Harper Passes Another Test

Ozzie Guillen yelled at Bryce Harper for strange reasons and called him out after the game. Harper didn't do anything in response. Looks like this really is what Harper is like.

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Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, And Clown Hype

Bryce Harper is burning up the Internet because he said a funny-sounding sentence. Why does he get so much more attention than Mike Trout?

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The Instant Fear Of Bryce Harper

Nationals outfielder and super-prospect Bryce Harper is new to the major leagues, but he hasn't been treated like a lot of guys who're new to the major leagues.

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Washington Post: Is There Anything Bryce Harper Can't Do?

Bryce Harper had himself a skillset and a reputation. He came up to the majors at the age of 19, having posted just a .708 OPS over about a month in triple-A. With the Nationals so far, he's batted 8-for-26 with five doubles, five walks, a steal of home, and boundless energy at the plate and in the field. For the Washington Post, James Wagner wonders: is there anything Bryce Harper can't do?

Harper’s impact has not only added spark to the Nationals, especially at a time when the offense has been ravaged by injuries, it has shown that his game and style of play make him among the most electrifying and potent players in baseball.
[...]
"A lot of times, whether it’s coaches or media, you get caught up and you go, ‘Wow,’ " Porter said. "Is it ‘wow’ because he’s playing the game unlike other people? Or is he playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played? You ask me, he plays the way it’s supposed to be played. Not many guys have the ability he has."
[...]
"He’s been good," Werth said earlier this week. "He’s focused. I think he’s where he needs to be. Minor leagues is tough. Sometimes it’s tougher than people realize. I like him here with the right coaches, the right manager, the right teammates. I think that’s going to help his development than with him being anywhere else."

And so on. When Harper was first promoted, Nationals officials acknowledged that it was happening before they wanted it to, and there was reason to wonder whether Harper was ready to play at the highest level given his minor-league performances. Since Harper was promoted, he's answered all the questions, and though he doesn't yet have a home run, he's done just about everything else. To address Wagner's question, yes, there are things Bryce Harper can't do. The list of them is shorter than it is for most other baseball players.

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On Bryce Harper And Attendance Boosts

Washington Nationals attendance didn't skyrocket when Bryce Harper started playing at home. Nor would we expect it to.

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Bryce Harper Makes Major League Debut, Nationals Lose In Extra Innings

Washington Nationals über-prospect Bryce Harper made his highly anticipated debut on Saturday evening at a sold-out Dodger Stadium, hitting seventh in the Nationals' lineup against Chad Billingsley. Though the Nationals lost, Harper certainly made noise in his first big-league game.

After two ho-hum at-bats, a chopper back to the mound, and a soft fly out to left, Harper smoked a high 93-m.p.h. fastball for his first big-league hit, a rocket to dead center that screamed over the head of Matt Kemp and thumped into the base of the wall. He flipped the visor of his helmet to knock it off so his overgrown-mohawk thing could flow in the air as he cruised into second base standing up. The Nats' dugout retrieved the ball, but that's definitely not the only keepsake that will memorialize his first major league hit.

Harper also made good on his hype as a five-tool player, showing off his arm on an A.J. Ellis single that scored Jerry Hairston, Jr. Harper threw a perfectly placed rope right into the mitt of catcher Wilson Ramos, who couldn't hold on to the ball as Hairston slid into home, knocking the ball loose and tying the game, 1-1.

Harper came to the plate for the fourth time with a chance to break a 1-1 tie, hitting with runners on first and third and one out in the ninth inning. He attacked the first pitch from Javy Guerra and hit a liner deep enough to score Rick Ankiel from third and put Washington ahead 2-1.

That could have been the game-winning RBI, but after Ramos added another run with an RBI single, Henry Rodriguez allowed the Dodgers to score twice in the bottom of the ninth. And in the bottom of the 10th, Matt Kemp golfed a walk-off home run to center, leaving Harper with loss in his first MLB appearance.

For more analysis and discussion of the Nationals and Harper's debut, visit Federal Baseball and SB Nation DC.

Andy Hutchins also contributed to this post.

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