USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Nationals' 20-year-old slugger, Bryce Harper, hit his first home run of the Spring in last night's 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves. Harper's home runs were once an event worthy of sharing on the internet... oh, who are we kidding they still are, especially the oppo-boppo blasts...
There was a time, not too long in the past, when every Bryce Harper home run video was posted on the internet and shared. Whether it was in the AFL or the minor leagues as the 2010 no.1 overall pick worked his way up through the Washington Nationals' organization, the left-handed hitting slugger's blasts made their way on to the web and were posted on every site covering the Nats. After Harper's .270/.340/.477, 26 double, 22 HR, +4.9 fWAR rookie campaign in the nation's capital, however, the 20-year-old's home runs are less of an event worthy of documentation. But they're still fun to watch. Especially the oppo-boppo blasts like the one Harper hit off 22-year-old Atlanta Braves' prospect Julio Teheran in the first inning of last night's 6-5 Nats' win over their NL East rivals.
Harper's 1st HR of the Spring was his only hit in three at bats last night. After five Grapefruit League games, Harper is 7 for 13 with two doubles and a home run. He's getting a day off this afternoon as the Nationals travel to the St. Louis Cardinals' Spring home to take on the team that beat them in last October's NLDS. In his first taste of postseason action last Fall, Harper was 3 for 23 with a double, triple and a home run in five games against the Cards. Harper heads into his second pro season penciled in as the Opening Day left fielder, barring any setbacks, hiccups or unforeseen events.
He's declined to share his goals for his 2013 campaign, telling reporters earlier this Spring that they would think he was crazy if he told them what he expects from himself. "I have things in my head, goals in my head," the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year said, "but I'm not going to share those because people are probably going to think I'm crazy. But I like to exceed my expectations." He had a little help from the wind last night, but if he continues to show opposite field power like he has so far in his career, as he explained in an interview with Harold Reynolds back before his MLB debut, that's the difference between a .260 and a .300 hitter. Though, admittedly, a .300 AVG is probably far below what Harper expects of himself.
Here's Harper's first HR of the Spring, though admittedly, his HR sprint is in ST form. RUN HARP!!!: