“He’s playing the way he’s capable of playing,” Davey Martinez told reporters when asked about Bryce Harper’s recent success at the plate after the 25-year-outfield went 2 for 4 in Wednesday’s win over the New York Mets.
Since the All-Star Break, Harper is 14 for 39 (.359/.480/.692) with four doubles, three home runs, nine walks, 16 Ks, and 12 runs scored in 12 games after he went 2 for 3 with a homer and two walks in the series opener with Cincinnati on Thursday night.
Martinez told reporters before last night’s game was rained out, that the resurgence from Harper since the Break could have something to do with his performance in the HR Derby, though there’s also a simple explanation for the fact that he’s starting to swing it like he’s swung it throughout most of his career.
“Harper is just a really good hitter,” the first-year skipper said. “I think throughout the course of the year he was eventually going to come out of it, and he’s starting to do so now. What I do know is that he fed off the fans that day and when he won, he said to me, he said, ‘Man, the fans were my big key.” He turned around and fist-pumped and got them all revved up, and he loved that, and I think right now he’s playing with a lot of heart, and he appreciates what the fans did to him that day, so I think that has a little bit to do with it.”
Harper told reporters after winning that Derby that he definitely fed off the fans in Nationals Park.
“We have some of the best fans in all of baseball,” he said, “and to be able to do that with my family out there, that’s an incredible moment, not only for me but for the organization and the Nationals fans, and I’m very blessed and humbled.”
On the season he has a .230/.377/.492 line with 18 doubles, 26 HRs, 87 walks and 118 Ks in 106 games and 464 plate appearances, over which he’s been worth 2.1 fWAR.
Will Harper keep it going against the Reds in today’s doubleheader?