Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper
9TH Bryce Harper.jpg
Harper with the Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals – No. 34
Outfielder
Born: (1992-10-16) October 16, 1992 (age 22)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Bats: Left Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 28, 2012 for the Washington Nationals
Career statistics
(through August 14, 2014)
Batting average .269
Hits 314
Home runs 48
Runs batted in 138
Runs 195
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Bryce Aron Max Harper (born October 16, 1992) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball. Harper was selected by the Nationals with the first overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. He stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 225 lbs.[1][2][3]

Harper won the 2010 Golden Spikes Award, awarded annually to the best amateur baseball player.[4] Going into the 2012 season, baseball prospect-watchers, including Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus routinely ranked Harper as a top-3 prospect. He made his MLB debut with the Nationals on April 28, 2012. Harper was selected for the 2012 All-Star Game, becoming the youngest position player to ever be selected.[5] He has been touted as a "five-tool player".[6][7] He has been chosen as the No. 2 corner outfielder in the MLB by professional baseball analytics.[8]

Amateur career

Harper attended Las Vegas High School. After his sophomore year, he earned his General Educational Development (GED) in October 2009, making him eligible for the June 2010 amateur draft in order to begin his professional baseball career earlier.[9][10]

For the 2010 college season, 17-year-old Harper enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada of the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) in National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). An advantage for Harper in his eventual transition to his professional career was that the SWAC, like MLB, uses wooden bats in conference play. In 66 games, he hit 31 home runs, 98 RBIs, hitting .443/.526/.987 (AVG/OBP/SLG).[11] His 31 home runs shattered the school's previous record of 12. He was named the 2010 SWAC Player of the Year.[11]

In the Western district finals of the 2010 NJCAA World Series, Harper went 6-for-7 with 5 RBIs and hit for the cycle.[12] The next day, in a doubleheader, he went 2-for-5 with a three-run double in the first game, and in the second game went 6-for-6 with 4 home runs, a triple, and a double.[13]

On June 2, 2010, Harper was ejected from a National Junior College World Series game by home plate umpire Don Gilmore after a called third strike. Harper drew a line in the dirt with his bat as he left the plate, presumably to show where he thought the pitch was. It was Harper's second ejection of the year, and resulted in a two-game suspension.[14] The suspension ended his amateur career, as Southern Nevada lost the game from which Harper was ejected and lost their next game with Harper suspended, which eliminated them from the tournament.[15] Harper won the 2010 Golden Spikes Award.[4]

Professional career

Harper playing for the Hagerstown Suns, Single-A affiliates of the Nationals, in 2011.

Draft and minor leagues

Harper was drafted No. 1 overall by the Washington Nationals in 2010,[16] becoming the Nationals' second consecutive number one overall pick of the Major League Baseball Draft, following Stephen Strasburg in 2009.[17] Although Harper had previously and predominantly played catcher, the Nationals drafted him as an outfielder to extend his career and to accelerate his player development, so that he could debut in the MLB earlier. They also moved him because, instead of having to demote Wilson Ramos, a promising catcher, they could move Harper to the outfield.[16]

Harper was represented by Scott Boras. Following in Stephen Strasburg's footsteps, Harper held out until the very last minute before the deadline. With twenty-six seconds remaining, Harper and the Nationals agreed to a 5-year contract worth $9.9 million, including a $6.25 million signing bonus, and eight semesters of college tuition.[18] When asked about the signing, Nationals President Stan Kasten said, "The truth is, with a full minute to go, Mike and I both thought we were not going to have a deal." Asked what changed in that final minute, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo replied, "It was both sides compromising and knowing that we were so close, it would be fruitless not to get a deal done."[19] On August 26, 2010, Harper was introduced by the Nationals. Harper said he chose to wear No. 34 because "I always loved Mickey Mantle, three and four equals seven."[20]

After batting .319 with a .407 OBP (and leading his team in hits, homers, RBIs and walks) in the Nationals' fall instructional league, Harper was selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League as a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions taxi-squad,[21] the second-youngest player in the history of the league (two days older than when Mets' prospect Fernando Martínez appeared in the league in 2006).[22] He batted .343 and slugged .729.[23] On November 20, Harper and the Scottsdale Scorpions won the 2010 Arizona Fall League Championship.

After batting .399 in spring training, the Nationals optioned Harper to the Hagerstown Suns of the Class-A South Atlantic League to begin his minor league career.[24] In April 2011, after a slow start in the minor leagues, Harper visited optometrist Dr. Keith Smithson who reportedly told him, "I don't know how you ever hit before. You have some of the worst eyes I've ever seen." In his first 20 games after receiving contact lenses, Harper hit .480, collecting 7 home runs, 10 doubles and 23 RBIs.[25]

Harper was selected to represent the United States in the 2011 All-Star Futures Game during the 2011 All Star Game weekend. He was promoted to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators on July 4. Harper went 4 for 4 in his AA debut with two singles, a double, triple and a walk.[26]

On August 18, 2011, Harper injured his hamstring while running from first to third base on an extra base hit. The injury was severe enough that he had to be carried off the field by his coaches. Harper was placed on the 7-day disabled list, and it was reported that the injury had ended Harper's season.[27]

Washington Nationals (2012–present)

2012 season: NL Rookie of the Year

During 2012 spring training, Harper was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, where he started the season, playing exclusively at the center field position.[28] Harper was called up to the Nationals on April 27, 2012 after Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the DL. He made his MLB debut with the Nationals the next day against the Los Angeles Dodgers.[29] Harper grounded out to the pitcher (Chad Billingsley) in his first Major League at bat. He recorded his first Major League hit with a double in his third at-bat against Billingsley and got his first RBI on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth against Javy Guerra.[30]

Harper at Nationals Park in May 2012

After being hit by a pitch in the first inning on May 6, 2012, and advancing to third, Harper stole home plate, becoming the first teenager to steal home plate since 1964.[31] Cole Hamels later admitted to hitting Harper intentionally, and was suspended 5 games by MLB.[32] On May 14, 2012, Harper hit his first Major League home run off of San Diego Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer.[33] He was the youngest player to homer in the major leagues since Adrián Beltré did in 1998.[34] He was named National League Rookie of the Month for May.[35]

Bryce Harper slides into second, successfully stretching a single into a double during a 2012 game vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

Harper earned his first walkoff hit on June 5, 2012 with an RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning against the New York Mets.[36]

During a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 12, 2012, Harper hit a deep home run to center field that struck an advertising banner adjacent to the restaurant in the second tier of seats at the Rogers Centre,[37] estimated to travel 438 feet.[38] After the game, a reporter asked if Harper would take advantage of Ontario's lower drinking age (19, versus 21 in the U.S.) by drinking a celebratory beer with his teammates. Harper, who is a Mormon and does not drink alcohol, replied, "I'm not going to answer that. That's a clown question, bro." The comment quickly developed into an Internet meme,[39] and the phrase itself repeated, in response to a question, by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.[40] Harper filed an application to trademark the phrase.[41]

Harper was named a candidate in the All-Star Final Vote, with the winner being added to the All-Star Game roster. Harper finished third behind David Freese and Michael Bourn. However, Bourn would make the roster after Ian Desmond sustained an injury and Harper would become the youngest position player (and third-youngest player, behind Dwight Gooden and Bob Feller) to ever make an All-Star roster[5] when it was announced Giancarlo Stanton would undergo knee surgery.[42] "I don't have words to explain it right now. It's exciting to go. I'm excited to get there and be around all the top guys in the country, of course, and the top guys in baseball. I'm going to take it all in and try to enjoy it with my family and just be as mellow and as calm as I can be", Harper stated.[43] He went 0-for-1 with a strikeout and a walk.[44][45]

Harper struggled in the games following the All-Star break, hitting only .176 with 26 strikeouts in his first 116 plate appearances in the second half.[46] Manager Davey Johnson began to give Harper days off due to his poor play and visible on-field frustration.[47] Johnson said that Harper had become "overly aggressive" at the plate.[48]

Harper's play began to improve in late August. He hit two home runs in a game against the Miami Marlins on August 29, 2012, his first career multi-homer game, although recorded his first major league ejection after throwing his helmet down in the ninth inning in response to hitting into a double play.[49] He had a second multi-homer game on September 5, 2012 against the Chicago Cubs.[48] Harper was named Rookie of the Month again in September after hitting .330 with seven home runs.[35] Harper's 254 total bases and 57 extra base hits were the most ever for a player under age 20, while his 22 home runs, 98 runs scored, .340 on-base percentage, .477 slugging percentage, and .817 on base-plus-slugging were the best regular season totals for a teenager in the past 45 years.[50]

In Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, Harper hit his first postseason home run. The Nationals would eventually lose the game 7-9 despite leading by 6 runs. He finished his first postseason appearance with a .130 batting average.[51]

Harper was named the National League Rookie of the Year. He received 112 votes, 16 of them first-place votes, beating Arizona’s Wade Miley (105 votes, 12 first-place) and Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier.[52]

2013 season

Harper hit two home runs on Opening Day of the 2013 season vs the Miami Marlins. He became the youngest major league player, at age 20, to hit two home runs in his team's first game of the season. He was voted a starter for the MLB All Star Game, his second career All-Star selection.[53]

After hitting 13 home runs in just 58 games, Harper was selected to participate in the 2013 Home Run Derby. Harper hit a total of 16 home runs in the first two rounds to advance to the final round, in which he faced Yoenis Cespedes, an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics. Although he lost 9–8 in the finals, Harper was the second-youngest player to participate in the Home Run Derby, and the youngest to ever make it to the final round. Harper hit his 17th homer of the season on August 6 and it was his 39th of his career, passing Ken Griffey Jr. for most home runs by a player younger than 21. Only 2 other players have more home runs than him before turning 21.[54][55] In 118 games, he hit .274/.368/.486 with 20 HR, 58 RBI and 47 XBH. During the 2013 off-season, Harper successfully underwent left knee surgery to remove a bursa sac.

2014 season

During a game against the San Diego Padres on April 25, 2014, Harper suffered a left thumb injury when sliding to 3rd base on a 3-run triple. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day on April 26. An MRI revealed that the thumb had a torn ulnar collateral ligament. On April 28, 2014, it was announced that Harper would require surgery to repair the ligament tear in the thumb. During a rehab game with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators on June 28, 2014, Harper hit 3 home runs in a single game. Harper returned to the Majors on June 30, 2014.

After the 2014 season, Harper will travel to Japan to participate in the 2014 Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series.[56]

Career accomplishments

Year Award / Honor
2013 MLB National League All-Star
2012 NL Rookie of the Year[52]
2012 MLB National League All-Star
2010 AFL Champion
2010 MLB Draft: First overall Pick by the Washington Nationals
2010 Golden Spikes Award
2010 SWAC Player of the Year.[11]
2009 Baseball America High School Player of the Year
2009 Longest HR in International Power Showcase HS Home Run Derby (Tropicana Field Record: 502 feet)
2008 First Team All Sunrise Division Catcher
2008 First Team All State Catcher
2008 Player of the Year North-East Division
2008 Batting Average Leader for the state of Nevada
2008 All World Team
2008 All Area Code Team
2007 TBS 14u All American Team [57]
2007 TBS 14u Player of the Year
2006 TBS 13u All American Team
2005 TBS 12u All American Team
2005 NYBB All American Team

Personal life

In junior high, Harper was a member of his school's basketball team.

Harper's older brother, Bryan Harper, was a left-handed pitcher for College of Southern Nevada with Bryce. Bryan played for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, back to back winners of the 2010 and 2011 College World Series. Bryan was also selected in the 2010 MLB Draft, by the Chicago Cubs.[58][59] He did not sign and then was drafted in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals.

Harper was featured in an episode of ESPN E:60[60] and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in May 2009.[61] Harper received a sponsorship deal with a nutritional supplement company focusing on active lifestyles, MusclePharm.[62]

Harper's father, Ron, is an ironworker in Las Vegas. Harper attributes his work ethic to the lessons he learned from watching his father: "I wanted to come out and I wanted to work hard because he worked hard. He did it for over 25 years."[63] Harper is a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[64]

Harper owns a customized Mercedes-Benz CLS, outfitted with a low-light glow bat enclosure in the trunk and Nationals curly "W" insignia on the rear of the car replacing the Mercedes logo.[65]

Harper is currently dating Ohio State soccer player Kayla Varner. The two got engaged in May 2014.[66]

References

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  2. ^ Simpson, Allan (October 12, 2005). "2005 Baseball for the Ages". Baseball America. Retrieved June 15, 2009. 
  3. ^ Kerr, Byron (May 22, 2010). "Harper is "begging to play"". MASN Sports. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Harper wins Golden Spikes Award". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. July 13, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b Wagner, James (July 7, 2012). "Bryce Harper named to the all-star game". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ Lemire, Joe (July 16, 2012). "Josh Hamilton, others help make centerfield game's glamour position". SportsIllustrated.com. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ Morosi, Jon Paul (July 8, 2012). "All-Stars Mike Trout, Bryce Harper ride new wave of baseball". Foxsports.com. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  8. ^ MLB Lead Writer (2013-09-13). "B/R MLB 500: Top 70 Corner Outfielders". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  9. ^ Youmans, Matt (June 14, 2009). "Harper ready to give college try". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ Glassey, Conor (December 3, 2009). "Harper Passes GED". Baseball America. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c Oliver, Brian (June 7, 2010). "With the first pick". Nationals Farm Authority. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  12. ^ D.J. Short (May 22, 2010). "Bryce Harper hits for the cycle". Retrieved May 23, 2010. [dead link]
  13. ^ Youmans, Matt (May 23, 2010). "Harper lifts CSN to Junior College World Series: Four HRs, 10 RBIs power CSN to title". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Bryce Harper ejected, and suspended, perhaps ending amateur career - Daily Pitch". USA Today. June 3, 2010. 
  15. ^ Crasnick, Jerry (June 4, 2010). "Yeah, he's that good". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Kilgore, Adam (June 8, 2010). "Washington Nationals select Bryce Harper with first pick in MLB draft". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ Antonen, Mel (June 8, 2010). "Nationals take 17-year-old Bryce Harper with top pick". USA Today. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  18. ^ Brown, Tim (August 16, 2010). "Harper signs with Nats for almost $10 million". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  19. ^ Fendrich, Howard (August 16, 2010). "Nationals, top pick Bryce Harper agree at $9.9M". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  20. ^ Wang, Gene (August 26, 2010). "Bryce Harper introduced at pregame news conference". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  21. ^ Ladson, Bill (October 13, 2010). "Nats' Harper to play in Arizona Fall League". MLB.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  22. ^ Kilgore, Adam (October 14, 2010). "No. 1 overall pick Harper is ahead of his time for Nats". The Washington Post. 
  23. ^ "A Look At Bryce Harper's Final AFL Stats". USA Future Watch. November 18, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  24. ^ Ladson, Bill. "After win, Nats option Harper to Class A". MLB.com. Retrieved March 20, 1011. 
  25. ^ "Bryce Harper crushing ball after eye exam". CBS News. May 13, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2011. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Bryce Harper promoted to Double-A". ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Injured Harper's season likely over". MLB.com. August 19, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  28. ^ "Bryce Harper Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. October 16, 1992. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  29. ^ Ortiz, Jorge L. (April 30, 2012). "Nationals phenom Bryce Harper shows teen spirit in debut". USA Today. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  30. ^ Nats can't hold down LA in Harper's solid debut
  31. ^ "Bryce Harper steals home, first time for teenager since '64". CBSSports.com. May 6, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  32. ^ "Cole Hamels on Bryce Harper: 'I was trying to hit him'". USA Today. May 7, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  33. ^ Harper hits first HR, Nats beat Padres cbssports.com Retrieved May 15, 2012
  34. ^ Comack, Amanda (May 14, 2012). "Bryce Harper hits first major league homer, gets curtain call". The Washington Times. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  35. ^ a b Wagner, James (October 2, 2012). "Bryce Harper named NL Rookie of the Month for second time this season". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Harper's the hero as Nationals edge Mets in 12". USA Today. Associated Press. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  37. ^ "WSH@TOR: Harper crushes a solo homer to center". MLB.com. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  38. ^ "ESPN Home Run Tracker :: Player and Field Detail". June 13, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  39. ^ Waldman, Katy (June 13, 2012). "Clown Question, Bro: Bryce Harper helps journalists understand what not to ask". Slate. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  40. ^ Steinberg, Dan (June 19, 2012). "Harry Reid uses 'That's a clown question, bro'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  41. ^ Brown, David (May 30, 2012). "Bryce Harper trademarks 'That's a clown question, bro' and Under Armour is selling merchandise". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  42. ^ "Nationals' Bryce Harper added to NL All-Star team roster". SI.com. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  43. ^ Kilgore, Adam (July 7, 2012). "Bryce Harper replaces Giancarlo Stanton, becomes the youngest position player in All-Star Game history". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  44. ^ "An eventful All-Star win for Nats". Csnwashington.com. July 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  45. ^ "Washington Nationals Trio Produces Highs and Lows at 2012 MLB All-Star Game". Bleacher Report. July 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  46. ^ Calcaterra, Craig (August 9, 2012). "Struggling, frustrated Bryce Harper to get the day off". NBCSports.com. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  47. ^ Wagner, James (August 18, 2012). "Bryce Harper to receive another day off on Saturday". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  48. ^ a b Kilgore, Adam. "Bryce Harper blasts two homers, ranks third all-time among teenagers". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  49. ^ Berry, Adam (August 29, 2012). "No clowning around: Harper, Nats stop slide". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  50. ^ Howard, Fendrich (October 7, 2012). "Age gap doesn't matter for Nationals' Bryce Harper, Davey Johnson". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  51. ^ "Bryce Harper Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  52. ^ a b "Bryce Harper lives up to the hype, earns NL ROY honors in extremely close vote". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  53. ^ "HARPER YOUNGEST WITH 2 HRS IN 1ST GAME OF SEASON". Associated Press. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  54. ^ Rolfe, Rebecca; Worthington , Dan (July 15, 2013). "Harper at the Home Run Derby". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  55. ^ Bowman, Mark (July 16, 2013). "Harper showcases power in second-place Derby finish". MLB.com. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  56. ^ Wagner, James (September 30, 2014). "Bryce Harper to play for MLB all-star team in Japan in November". Washington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Travel Ball Select". 
  58. ^ Muskat, Carrie (June 8, 2010). "Cubs select Bryce Harper's older bro". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  59. ^ "Chicago Cubs 2010 Draft Results | cubs.com: Team". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  60. ^ "Bryce Harper faces pressure on his unprecedented path to Major League Baseball". ESPN.com. August 12, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  61. ^ Verducci, Tom (June 8, 2009). "Baseball's LeBron". SI.com. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  62. ^ "MusclePharm Signs Pro Baseball Rookie Phenom Bryce Harper As Sponsored Athlete". PR Newswire. Retrieved May 30, 2012. [dead link]
  63. ^ Ortiz, Jorge L. (May 2, 2013). "Bryce Harper enlisted as AFL-CIO supporter". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  64. ^ Jerry Crasnick (June 7, 2010). "Millions of dollars and thousands of headlines await 17-year-old slugger Bryce Harper, the presumptive No. 1 pick in next week's draft". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  65. ^ "Bryce Harper gets his Mercedes pimped out with a curly W". The Washington Post. July 11, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  66. ^ "Nats’ Bryce Harper and Kayla Varner engaged". The Washington Post. May 31, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jordan Lyles
Youngest Player in the
National League

2012-2014
Succeeded by
Dilson Herrera