Washington Nationals superstar outfielder Bryce Harper took Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Justin De Fratus deep in the seventh inning on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park, Harper's National League-leading 40th home run of the season.
Not much has gone right for the Nationals in 2015, with the preseason World Series favorites just 75-70 and well out of the playoff picture. But everything has gone right for Harper, far and away the best player in the league and the MVP favorite, hitting a ridiculous .338/.467/.670 with 40 home runs, 34 doubles, 109 runs scored, 92 RBI and 112 walks.
Harper doesn't turn 23 until October.
With his 40th home run of the season, he joined an elite group of six other players to hit 40 home runs in a season aged 22 or younger. The group includes four Hall of Famers — Mel Ott (1929), Joe DiMaggio (1937), Eddie Mathews (1953 and 1954) and Johnny Bench (1970) — a two-time MVP in (1992) and Alex Rodriguez (1998).
The most home runs among that group was 47, by Mathews in 1953. Harper is seven home runs away with 17 games remaining. Would you count him out?
UPDATE: Harper was able to track down the ball, too!