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Sunday, June 10, 2012

WaPo: Bryce Harper gets his shot as Nationals complete sweep of Red Sox

BOSTON — Bryce Harper favors action over stagnancy, the inclination of youth, and by late Sunday afternoon he could wait no longer. He had blown bubbles and watched for six innings, a foreign experience after 37 games in the major leagues. He marched down the tunnel and straight toward Manager Davey Johnson and told him he was fine. He then repeated himself: I’m fine.

“He made that point very clear,” Johnson said.

When they want something known, these Washington Nationals are unmistakable. Johnson inserted Harper two innings later, after the Nationals and Boston Red Sox had played to a draw for eight innings. In minutes, the 19-year-old flash of energy decided the outcome. Harper dashed around the bases on Roger Bernadina’s game-winning, two-out double in the ninth inning, giving the Nationals a 4-3 victory at Fenway Park to cap a resounding weekend. [...]

“I know we’ve shown the baseball world what kind of team we are,” closer Tyler Clippard said. “This was kind of a statement series for us in doing that. They’re definitely a good club, and I think we’re better. I think we’re a lot better. We feel really good with what we’ve got going on right now.”

In another corner of the Nationals’ clubhouse, the statement-sweep notion did not sit well with second baseman Danny Espinosa. For him, their record means they don’t need to measure themselves against anyone; their opposition must measure themselves against the Nationals.

“I think we were the team to beat right here,” Espinosa said. “We’re the first-place team.”

 

Esoteric Posted: June 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM | 125 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: boston, nationals, red sox, washington

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   1. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 11, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4153518)
I've got to be brutally frank with all the members of The Nation: your Red Sox didn't impress me very much at all. You could say that they didn't exactly blow my sox off. Not only are they underachieving, but they're getting paid an extraordinary amount of money while underachieving.
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4153525)
Gee thanks Joey, we hadn't reached that conclusion on our own. Considering the pitching matchups I don't think the Sox losing the series was that shocking. Yesterday was certainly the only game I thought the Sox would have been favored.

The outfield injuries are finally starting to come to roost I think. We got some wins thanks to guys like Nava and Podsednik but that is only going to last so long. If guys like Pedroia and Gonzalez don't get hot and do it damned soon (like tonight) we could be 8-9 out of a playoff spot pretty damned soon.

As for the Nats it's hard not to have been impressed. I don't know if they showed it on TV but Harper stumbled as he was running on the pitch when Bernadina doubled and was still flying by the time he hit second. I was very disappointed that he pinch hit and didn't swing the bat once. I really wanted to see him swing in person.
   3. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4153534)
The Red Sox are mediocre but the more I see of this Natinals team the more I think they're a legit contender right now. ITSH, of course.
   4. Answer Guy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4153540)
A lot of that high Boston payroll isn't on the field. Matsuzaka made his first appearance in nearly a year Saturday.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4153541)
Red Sox are an oldish team, and have nobody of the upside potential of Strasburg and Harper. To a large extent, that's a function of what's coming through the minors, and part of my anomie about the 2010-2012 Sox may simply have been the result of a minors drought, which Theo tried to solve not very effectively by throwing money at the problem. Still the team would be both better and younger right now with Lowrie and Reddick, and I'd rather punt 2012 and trade Youkilis (who I've never much liked) for prospects than see any more of our young hopefuls vanish (it's not at all clear for example, that Gonzo is worth both the cash AND the three kids we gave away.)
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4153543)
Considering the pitching matchups I don't think the Sox losing the series was that shocking. Yesterday was certainly the only game I thought the Sox would have been favored.

Considering the pitching matchups that the Nats can present against any team, I don't think that the Nats winning any series should shock anyone. This team is totally for real, and the Red Sox are but one more team who's found that out the hard way. And much as I dread it, the Yankees may well find it out next weekend.
   7. Cowboy Popup Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4153552)
A 90 OPS+ and a 133 ERA+ for the Nats so far this year. I'm not one of those anti-offense guys, but I find good no-hit, all pitch teams pretty exciting to watch and this team is no exception. Gio, Zimmerman and Strasburg have been amazing to watch this year. Jackson isn't a slouch either. And Zim and Strasburg are out hitting every one on the team other than LaRoche and Harper.
   8. Kurt Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4153559)
Red Sox are an oldish team, and have nobody of the upside potential of Strasburg and Harper. To a large extent, that's a function of what's coming through the minors

To an even larger extent it's a function of where the Nationals got to draft those two years, and where the Red Sox have been drafting the last 10-15 years.
   9. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4153563)
There's no doubt that for the Nationals to be a legitimate contender to win it all, the offense is going to have to get better. The good news is that Zimmerman and Morse have basically done nothing so far this season. Once they get it going, I think it's possible the offense might be just good enough.
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4153570)
Red Sox are an oldish team, and have nobody of the upside potential of Strasburg and Harper.


Nobody has a tandem with the upside potential of Strasburg and Harper.

Frankly, it feels a little insulting to say "potential" regarding these two guys. Strasburg is unquestionably one of the best pitchers in baseball right now and Harper probably is one of the best position players in the game. I'd like to wait a bit before anointing Harper but he's awfully good already.
   11. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4153584)
Red Sox are an oldish team, and have nobody of the upside potential of Strasburg and Harper. To a large extent, that's a function of what's coming through the minors


Ellsbury, Pedroia, Lester, Beckett, Gonzalez and Ortiz is as good a core as anyone has.


Nobody has a tandem with the upside potential of Strasburg and Harper.


Verlander and Cabrera might. Price and Longoria probably fall a bit short, but not much, also Kemp and Kershaw.
   12. villageidiom Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4153603)
Red Sox are an oldish team, and have nobody of the upside potential of Strasburg and Harper.
I continued reading after this because it was clear there was no way to follow this sentence with a suggestion to trade for Manny.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4153605)
There's no doubt that for the Nationals to be a legitimate contender to win it all, the offense is going to have to get better. The good news is that Zimmerman and Morse have basically done nothing so far this season. Once they get it going, I think it's possible the offense might be just good enough.

Right now the Nats have an OPS+ of 90 and an ERA+ of 133.

Here's a team that managed to win 100 games and go 7-1 in the postseason with an OPS+ of 84 and an ERA+ of 122. And I don't mean the 1906 White Sox.
   14. TerpNats Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4153612)
Considering the pitching matchups that the Nats can present against any team, I don't think that the Nats winning any series should shock anyone. This team is totally for real, and the Red Sox are but one more team who's found that out the hard way. And much as I dread it, the Yankees may well find it out next weekend.
The Yanks will get a bit of a break in that Strasburg pitches Wednesday afternoon in Toronto and will next pitch vs. Tampa. Expect Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Jackson to face New York.
   15. McCoy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4153622)
Once they get it going, I think it's possible the offense might be just good enough.

Alfonso Soriano is available.
   16. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4153632)
The Yanks will get a bit of a break in that Strasburg pitches Wednesday afternoon in Toronto and will next pitch vs. Tampa. Expect Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Jackson to face New York.

So assuming that the Yanks' rotation stays as it's been, it looks to be Gonzalez vs Hughes on Friday, Zimmerman vs Pettitte on Saturday, and Jackson vs Nova on Sunday. Three weeks ago I'd have called that an easy 2 wins or a sweep for the Nats, but now that Yankees' rotation has straightened itself out a bit, it should be a pretty good series. (How's that for a fearless prediction!)
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4153675)
Well, Red Sox - Nats was a pretty good series, too. Six runs difference in three games isn't much.

I said this over in ST, too, but while getting swept sucks, I don't think anything was learned one way or the other about this club. They're still a good-not-that-good team so long as they don't have an outfield, and that's how they've been playing both during the last week (1-5 with a -2 run differential) and during the happier weeks which preceded.
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4153684)
A 90 OPS+ and a 133 ERA+ for the Nats so far this year

Is there any way I can just build an auto-reply in the site that says "team OPS+ for NL teams is deceptive, because the baseline doesn't include pitcher hitting and the team's numbers do?" The average team OPS+ in the NL this year is 94; 90 is still below average, but it's not disastrous. You want an all-pitch, no-hit team that's contending this year, try the tied-for-first Pirates (ERA+ 118, OPS+ 76).
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4153699)
rankly, it feels a little insulting to say "potential" regarding these two guys. Strasburg is unquestionably one of the best pitchers in baseball right now and Harper probably is one of the best position players in the game. I'd like to wait a bit before anointing Harper but he's awfully good already.


I'll give you Strasburg, but no way is Harper one of even the best 50 players in baseball right now. Give him another month or two and see where he is at. History is full of prospects with one month of great ball(or in his case, good ball) who the league eventually catches up to.
   20. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4153706)
#18 - Strasburg and Zimmermann (two 'N's for the pitcher, please) both have smoked home runs, and Strasburg has 3 doubles. Despite the SSS that's not too shabby for a couple strikeout machines. When Strasburg first came up to the bigs he swung the bat like a girl, and I think they were telling him to go up, take 3 hacks, and sit his expensive butt back down. I don't know what changed but I like it. Nevertheless, when your pitchers are standing shoulder to shoulder with your position player hitters, you really need to fire your hitting coach get the fielders hitting better.

#14 - I hardly consider Gio and Znn "a bit of a break". Strasburg faded there for a couple starts and had me reaching for Brian's bottle of rye. Gio has been a real surprise and sports a 2.6 bWAR to Strasburg's 2.0 bWAR. Zimmermann has been a bit inconsistent, but he's no picnic when he's even close to being "on". When all 3 face you in a series you should consider calling in sick for that series (I mean you as a fan and them as the opposing hitters).

After suffering through all the on-field and off-field travails of the Nationals the past 7 seasons I'm still holding my breath that they don't fade after the All-Star Break, but damn this team has become really fun to watch!
   21. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4153747)
A 90 OPS+ and a 133 ERA+ for the Nats so far this year

Is there any way I can just build an auto-reply in the site that says "team OPS+ for NL teams is deceptive, because the baseline doesn't include pitcher hitting and the team's numbers do?" The average team OPS+ in the NL this year is 94; 90 is still below average, but it's not disastrous.


And that was exactly my point in citing the 1969 Mets.
   22. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4153752)
Well, Red Sox - Nats was a pretty good series, too. Six runs difference in three games isn't much.

I said this over in ST, too, but while getting swept sucks, I don't think anything was learned one way or the other about this club. They're still a good-not-that-good team so long as they don't have an outfield, and that's how they've been playing both during the last week (1-5 with a -2 run differential) and during the happier weeks which preceded.


Boy, talk about a change in tune. Just a few short days ago you were telling me that you thought that every team in your division was better than every team in our division.

Frankly, I don't believe for a second that you thought going in that there was a chance that you would get swept. Especially considering the last time a NL team swept a three game series at Fenway was ten years ago.
   23. Esoteric Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4153754)
Either way, damn it feels good to be a Nats fan. This doesn't feel like 2005 at all, where we were floating at the top of the NL East based on little more than luck. The pitching and the increasingly competent hitting is what makes the 2012 Nats look like authentic contenders.

Livan Hernandez, John Patterson, Esteban Loaiza, Ryan Drese and Tony Armas, Jr.

VS

Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, and Chen-Ming Wang

Yeah, that's a hell of a difference.
   24. Esoteric Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4153755)
Boy, talk about a change in tune. Just a few short days ago you were telling me that you thought that every team in your division was better than every team in our division.

Yeah, I have to call you out on this too. I remember it as well.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4153759)
I didn't change my tune at all. I was talking about the Red Sox. My point its that I don't think we learned much from a closely played three game series.

I'd be more than happy to bet on the Sox, or any other AL East club other than the O's, against the Nats in a long series.

Any baseball fan who thinks his or her team can't get swept in a three game series doesn't understand baseball.
   26. Answer Guy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4153784)
Have you guys ever even read Sox Therapy? Not that I suggest you have to, mind you; but it's not exactly a hotbed of "Sawx R the BEST!!" sentiment.
   27. Chip Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4153788)
I'd be more than happy to bet on the Sox, or any other AL East club other than the O's, against the Nats in a long series.


I'd only bet on the Sox if they were anywhere close to full strength. Not the current depleted roster, which was further depleted this weekend when, among other things, the best of the AAAA outfielders, Nava, was first hurt and then by Sunday was completely unavailable; Marlon Byrd was taking critical late game ABs with men in scoring position; and Darnell McDonald was getting multiple ABs against righthanded pitching. Oh, and Pedroia is stupidly playing hurt and can't make solid contact with the bat as a result, and Adrian Gonzalez's surgically repaired shoulder has failed and no one will acknowledge it.
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4153833)
I'll give you Strasburg, but no way is Harper one of even the best 50 players in baseball right now. Give him another month or two and see where he is at. History is full of prospects with one month of great ball(or in his case, good ball) who the league eventually catches up to.

I won't argue semantics here, but there aren't many prospects who were the #1 overall pick in the draft, and the BA #1 prospect in the game for two years, and then had an excellent first 38 games in the majors, and ended up not being very good major league players. I'm sure he will have his slumps this year but if the league catches up to him, it won't be for very long.
   29. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4153858)
One good thing Sox fans can take away from this series is that Lester pitched well for what seems like the first time in a while.
   30. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4153860)
I'm sure he will have his slumps this year but if the league catches up to him, it won't be for very long.

That's what impresses the hell out of me, Harper's in-game adjustments. He showed it in Atlanta against the Large Tub of Goo (¡Livan!) making Harper look like a low-A ball hitter. Next AB he reminded Livo who the better player was. Harper has done that a few more times since, learning his lesson in his first AB, then coming back and applying what he has learned in his very next plate appearance. Remarkable.
   31. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4153879)
Also, Harper is only nineteen years old. Somehow, I don't think the history of baseball is littered with a ton of guys who have come into the majors at nineteen years old and had the kind of start Harper has.
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4153885)
Also, Harper is only nineteen years old. Somehow, I don't think the history of baseball is littered with a ton of guys who have come into the majors at nineteen years old and had the kind of start Harper has.

It'd be hard to think of even one 19 year old who's had as complete a package as Harper has shown on the Major League level, at least since WW2.

   33. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4153925)
Griffey, Mantle, Cedeno. That's about it. Tony C was a great hitter at 19, but didn't have the complete skillset the other guys did.
   34. PepTech Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4153939)
Yount? OK, not THAT complete a package, but a SS.
   35. Shredder Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4153948)
It'd be hard to think of even one 19 year old who's had as complete a package as Harper has shown on the Major League level, at least since WW2.
Trout may have had the package last year, but he apparently didn't open it until May 1st of this year.
   36. cardsfanboy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4153954)
I won't argue semantics here, but there aren't many prospects who were the #1 overall pick in the draft, and the BA #1 prospect in the game for two years, and then had an excellent first 38 games in the majors, and ended up not being very good major league players. I'm sure he will have his slumps this year but if the league catches up to him, it won't be for very long.


I think he's about as much of a lock as being a very good major league player as any 19 year old has been. I don't think that is a debate at all. He's going to be a star provided he doesn't Josh Hamilton his life. I just don't think it's realistic to look at any talented ballplayers first month in the majors and think that is indicative of how good he actually is right now.

It'd be hard to think of even one 19 year old who's had as complete a package as Harper has shown on the Major League level, at least since WW2.


Arom pointed it out several. (I would have included Arod though--although his first full year was age 20, and his results in age 19 weren't that impressive)
   37. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4153959)
Yount? OK, not THAT complete a package, but a SS.


Yount didn't really bring much to the table until he was 22. He was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to play at that age. I'm pretty sure that if his career were replayed in almost any other time, or any other team, he spends an extra 2-3 years in the minors.
   38. McCoy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4153962)
Phil Caveretta
   39. Kurt Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4153968)
I just don't think it's realistic to look at any talented ballplayers first month in the majors and think that is indicative of how good he actually is right now.

Why wouldn't his current performance be indicative of his current ability (especially since it's not like he's slugging 1.000 or doing anything else obviously unsustainable)? At most you can say "we don't have enough data to know how good he is right now", which is a long way from "no way is he one of the top 50 position players right now".

   40. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4154003)
Have you guys ever even read Sox Therapy? Not that I suggest you have to, mind you; but it's not exactly a hotbed of "Sawx R the BEST!!" sentiment.


Absolutely off-topic, but while I largely agree with the words above, I don't agree with the sentiment. There's a lot of "our front office is playing chess while the rest of the league thinks it's checkers" talk. Every time a non-frontline player is put on the DL and his bones didn't actually come out of the skin, there's an unspoken assumption that he's being DL'd for nefarious reasons that have nothing to do with injury; mostly to get the hot young golden boy into the lineup.
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4154010)
You're really reading a lot of subtext into our cynicism about the front office's roster games. I don't think there has been a single post in ST that claimed the roster games were a function of superior intelligence. It's just a funny, mostly inconsequential thing they do.
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4154013)
You're really reading a lot of subtext into our cynicism about the front office's roster games. I don't think there has been a single post in ST that claimed the roster games were a function of superior intelligence. It's just a funny, mostly inconsequential thing they do.


Yeah, I'd characterize the attitude more of "Our front office is playing chess, which is odd, since it's actually a game of checkers."

   43. cardsfanboy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4154019)
Why wouldn't his current performance be indicative of his current ability (especially since it's not like he's slugging 1.000 or doing anything else obviously unsustainable)? At most you can say "we don't have enough data to know how good he is right now", which is a long way from "no way is he one of the top 50 position players right now".


Because he hasn't been scouted enough by live eyes. Second time through the league is when you make or break young players. You separate the Maas's from the Griffeys.

There has only been one player in the past 50 years to post over a 110 ops+ in the majors at 19(400+ pa). Be optimistic, say he is 110 ops+ with plus's across the board. I'm not sure that makes him one of the best players at his position. We'll be generous and say he's a centerfielder. We'll even go say he's an above average fielder. Would a 110 ops+ centerfielder above average be considered top 5 at his position? I would say Kemp, Hamilton, McCutchen, Granderson, Bourn, Jay, Adam Jones, all are better than him right this moment(not counting health) and that Trout could make an argument seeing as he's having a better season and is the better defensive player. If you claim him as a right fielder, I think he falls even further behind the positional rankings.

He's impressive, and he is already a league average major league starter right now. Saying anything more than that, is buying into the hype.
   44. Kurt Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4154023)
Be optimistic, say he is 110 ops+ with plus's across the board. I'm not sure that makes him one of the best players at his position.

Using real results, even if the sample size is small, seems like a better basis to judge a player than using numbers pulled out of some Internet commenter's rectum.
   45. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4154043)
If there's an answer to Harper, it's Mike Trout. Trout's an old man at 20, but he's still managing a .350/.407/.548 with 13 stolen bases.

Trout v. Harper feels like what Mantle v. Mays must have, or more contemporarily, Vlad Guerrero and Andruw Jones. They didn't turn into Inner Circle types, but Vlad's is likely going to be a Hall of Famer, and Jones probably should be. It's exciting to think that Trout/Harper could surpass that.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4154045)
Using real results, even if the sample size is small, seems like a better basis to judge a player than using numbers pulled out of some Internet commenter's rectum.


That is fine, you can use real results based upon an unscouted, player first time through the league, that is a great way to rate players. I mean Kevin Maas, and Chris Shelton are hof players that the league never figured out. I mean the fact that only Tony C has been able to post over a 110 ops+ as a 19 year old, doesn't make you think? Mantle, couldn't, Arod couldn't Griffey couldn't.

Griffey had a .880 ops after 46 games finished the season with a .748 ops. That is the standard that Harper is looking at matching. I think expecting any more is foolish.
   47. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4154049)
Jones probably should be.


Wait... Andruw Jones?

He had his last HoF-type year at 29. The last time he played more than 107 games he was 30.
   48. deputydrew Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4154053)

Because he hasn't been scouted enough by live eyes. Second time through the league is when you make or break young players. You separate the Maas's from the Griffeys.


Sound like you would expect him to have a hot start and then start to struggle.

It's a small sample size, of course, but Harper's only getting better.

As of today, he has 163 plate appearances. Let's just cut that in half arbitrarily.

PAs 1-80: .246/.338/.449/.787 That includes 9 BB and 14 K.
PAs 81-163: .315/.398/.589/.987 That includes 10 BB and 12 K. (That's also a 35 HR pace over 162 games)

Of course, these are small samples cut from an already small sample. Still, the league is not slowing him down, yet.

The bottom line for me is that the Nationals now have two of the five most exciting and fun players in the game. I can't wait 'til they're in Milwaukee late in July. Hopefully Strasburg is pitching and Harper is making the same adjustments he has over the last three weeks.
   49. Kurt Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4154077)
Griffey had a .880 ops after 46 games finished the season with a .748 ops. That is the standard that Harper is looking at matching. I think expecting any more is foolish.

I'm not expecting anything, I'm waiting and seeing. You're the one that's already cast judgment, based on even less evidence than the 163 PA he has in the books.
   50. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4154086)
He had his last HoF-type year at 29. The last time he played more than 107 games he was 30.
Durh. I meant to say, "Jones probably should have been." His career fell of kind of freakishly fast, and I don't know that anyone knows what happened. But he should have been a HoFer. Durh, durh.
   51. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: June 11, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4154092)
He had his last HoF-type year at 29. The last time he played more than 107 games he was 30.
Andruw--thanks in no small part to his defense--has more WAR than Dave Winfield, Mark McGwire, Yogi Berra, Mike Piazza, Hank Greenberg and--of course--Vladimir Guerrero. His three-year peak is 21.9 WAR (1998-2000). Basically, it all comes down to defense. If you believe he really was as great as the numbers (and ten Gold Gloves) suggest, then he's probably a yes. If you think he was only half as good, or the numbers are exaggerating his effect, then he's probably a no. But games played are unlikely to be his issue, he came up so young that he's going to end up comfortably in the top 150 all-time.
   52. cardsfanboy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4154127)
The bottom line for me is that the Nationals now have two of the five most exciting and fun players in the game. I can't wait 'til they're in Milwaukee late in July. Hopefully Strasburg is pitching and Harper is making the same adjustments he has over the last three weeks.


I agree. I hope Harper has an all star year. I hope he has a hof career and continues to show the enjoyment and energy he has for the game. He can be a positive to the game. He could be a marketing goldmine.


I'm not expecting anything, I'm waiting and seeing. You're the one that's already cast judgment, based on even less evidence than the 163 PA he has in the books.


That is perfectly ok. I just don't see anything that indicates to me that he's one of the best players at his position in the game, unless I extend the definition of one of the best to top 20 at his position. He's going to finish the season as roughly a league average player. That in itself is extremely impressive, anything more than that is icing on the cake.
   53. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 11, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4154140)
RB, I don't like to disagree with you generally, but I don't think that anyone would vote for a player who was a fourth outfielder by the time he was 31 for the Hall, regardless of overall games played.
   54. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4154145)
The bottom line for me is that the Nationals now have two of the five most exciting and fun players in the game.


Who are the other three?

Well, I should say other two. Adam Dunn needs to be in there somewhere.
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: June 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4154153)
He's going to finish the season as roughly a league average player.


Can you give me some stock tips?
   56. Nasty Nate Posted: June 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4154155)
Who are the other three?


Chris Perez and a six-way tie between Millwood, Furbush, Pryor, Luetge, League, and Wilhelmsen.
   57. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 11, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4154159)
He's going to finish the season as roughly a league average player.


I'll take the over on that. I think he has the kind of baseball smarts and instincts that you don't often see in someone that young, combined with that kind of skill. His over-exuberance sometimes gets the better of him, but he also seems to be learning as he goes. I think he is something special.
   58. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4154169)
Griffey, Mantle, Cedeno. That's about it. Tony C was a great hitter at 19, but didn't have the complete skillset the other guys did.

Tony C's a good comparison as a hitter, but as you note, he lacked Harper's overall skill set. None of the other three were the offensive force at 19 that Harper is today, and none of them even came close to Harper's batting eye and his ability to lay off the bad pitch, which is a pretty good indication in itself that his performance isn't a fluke.

-----------------------------------------------------

Phil Caveretta

After a blazing 23 PA's as a 17 year old, Cavarretta shrunk to OPS+s of 93 and 81 in his first two full seasons at 18 and 19. He's not even on the radar. And Andruw Jones didn't reach triple figures until he was 21.
   59. The Good Face Posted: June 11, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4154170)
I'll take the over on that. I think he has the kind of baseball smarts and instincts that you don't often see in someone that young, combined with that kind of skill. His over-exuberance sometimes gets the better of him, but he also seems to be learning as he goes. I think he is something special.


Same here. Harper already has 1.1 bWAR in 38 games, with over 100 left to play. I guess it's possible he's been way over his head with the bat so far, but he sure isn't physically overmatched, his plate discipline is impressive, and he's demonstrated the ability to make adjustments on the fly. I'll be shocked if he's not an above average player by bWAR this year. Going forward, the sky's the limit.
   60. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 11, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4154178)
Even getting 300 PAs as a 19-year old is rare--there have only been 23 in MLB history
   61. base ball chick Posted: June 11, 2012 at 08:07 PM (#4154242)
well so far bryce harper has lived up to the hype and he appears to have baseball smarts of ALL kinds way beyond age 19

and yeah, we'll see how he does, right along with trout and heyward and trumbo and everyone else

the nats pitching staff is freaking unbelieveable i still can't believe billy beane threw gio gonzalez away. you could have a WS team this year, just about, from the good players he's traded away in the past 5 years
   62. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: June 11, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4154244)
RB, I don't like to disagree with you generally, but I don't think that anyone would vote for a player who was a fourth outfielder by the time he was 31 for the Hall, regardless of overall games played.
That's fair. I don't think I'd vote for Jones either--I just don't buy his defense being as valuable as the numbers claim. Generally speaking though, I'll vote for a guy whose numbers deserve it, even if he fell apart early.
   63. puck Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4154273)
Even getting 300 PAs as a 19-year old is rare--there have only been 23 in MLB history

Wow, the Unabomber didn't have much of a career given the early start.
   64. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4154313)
Also, Harper is only nineteen years old. Somehow, I don't think the history of baseball is littered with a ton of guys who have come into the majors at nineteen years old and had the kind of start Harper has.


This. The guy is essentially a CHILD and he's hitting like Reggie Jackson, give or take.
   65. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:02 PM (#4154319)
unscouted


I think you may be confusing Bryce Harper with somebody who is, well, unscouted.
   66. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:19 PM (#4154332)
Tonight in five plate appearances he had three singles, a walk, two runs, a RBI, a stolen base... and a really boneheaded baserunning blunder. Oh well, the kid isn't perfect, yet.
   67. madvillain Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4154343)
I hesitate to say if guys like Harper and Trout are the new norm, or just a historical blip on the radar. HS kids, and even middle school kids, now have access to sports science and physical training tools that even 15 years ago were still in the hands and minds of a few elite institutions, trainers, etc.

The Internet has made everything easier, including getting really good at sports when you're really young.

On the flipside, it's really hard to play MLB baseball if you're under 23 or so, this has been proven over a century. Perhaps no amount of preparation can replace the experience necessary to succeed, int eh vast amount of cases.

I'm just sorta meandering here but I think it's an interesting topic.
   68. Kurt Posted: June 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM (#4154389)
Joey, I bet Kevin Maas never got thrown out trying to go from first to third on a single.
   69. Jay Z Posted: June 12, 2012 at 01:45 AM (#4154412)
Yount didn't really bring much to the table until he was 22. He was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to play at that age. I'm pretty sure that if his career were replayed in almost any other time, or any other team, he spends an extra 2-3 years in the minors.


You don't understand how shortstops hit in the 1970s. You had two choices, a shortstop who hit .250 with no power and stole bases, or a shortstop who hit .250 with no power and did not steal bases. Toby Harrah had power, but he was a big exception. Even guys like Larry Bowa, who played for years, had years where he hit .211.

Yount could hit for a MLB shortstop immediately, that was never an issue. I grant you that a good team wouldn't have been patient with the errors like the Brewers were. But his bat was enough from Day 1 and better than that soon after.
   70. McCoy Posted: June 12, 2012 at 02:06 AM (#4154417)
Toby also played a lot of third base. .262/.344/.387 as a SS and .267/.373/.403 as a 3B.
   71. baudib Posted: June 12, 2012 at 02:30 AM (#4154421)
You don't understand how shortstops hit in the 1970s. You had two choices, a shortstop who hit .250 with no power and stole bases, or a shortstop who hit .250 with no power and did not steal bases. Toby Harrah had power, but he was a big exception. Even guys like Larry Bowa, who played for years, had years where he hit .211.

Yount could hit for a MLB shortstop immediately, that was never an issue. I grant you that a good team wouldn't have been patient with the errors like the Brewers were. But his bat was enough from Day 1 and better than that soon after.


This is a good post. Go back and look at some of the HOM MVP votes, they're into the 1970s now. It's not like this was a total deadball era; Johnny Bench hit 40 homers and Billy Williams hit .333 with 37 homers. Dick Allen had a 1023 OPS. Chris Speier hit .269 with 15 homers and ended up around 8-12 on most ballots.

Eddie Brinkman was once traded to the Tigers, along with Joe Coleman, Aurelio Rodriguez and Jim Hannan, for Denny McLain, Elliott Maddox, Norm McRae and Don Wert. McLain, of course, was worthless. Joe Coleman won 62 games in the first three years with the Tigers. Rodriguez was a starter and a good glove at 3B for 9 years. Brinkman hit .222 over 4 years as a starter with the Tigers.

There are actually longtime baseball observers who I know who commonly refer to this trade as the "Brinkman Heist." Brinkman hit .203 in 72 and finished 9th in the AL MVP voting.
   72. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: June 12, 2012 at 07:43 AM (#4154454)
I live in the East, and follow an NL team (the Braves. Nationwide, is Mike Trout getting anywhere near the coverage that Harper is? I realize he's a year older, but he's putting up similar numbers, if not better.
   73. Rants Mulliniks Posted: June 12, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4154459)
I'll be surprised (not shocked) if both Harper and Trout don't put up an .850 OPS. I just caught the tail end of the Jays/Nats game last night and only saw one AB of Harper's (in which Cordero struck him out with two changeups after letting the count get to 3-1). Alan Ashby was exceedingly impressed with Harper's pitch recognition skills, and especially impressed with how he kept his head on even the balls that he swung through.

I just saw the highlight of him getting thrown out at third - it was a dumb move. If he had been going on contact he would have made it to third standing up, but he had to wait to make sure the ball got past the firt baseman (it was a low liner and could have been caught).
   74. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 12, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4154465)
I live in the East, and follow an NL team (the Braves. Nationwide, is Mike Trout getting anywhere near the coverage that Harper is?

He may be getting the same highlight reel coverage, but his exposure is still going to be a lot less, since more than half of Trout's games are only about half over by the time half of the country has gone to bed. And while West Coast viewers who miss Harper's games due to work get to see the highlights of those games in West Coast prime time, East Coast viewers who miss Trout's heroics have to see them either before they go to work the next day or risk missing them altogether. East Coast nightowls and ESPN addicts are exceptions to this, but they don't comprise that big a percentage of the population.

Bottom line is that it's not a conspiracy, it's geography. OTOH West Coast viewers never have to stay up past midnight to catch the end of games, which is more than worth the tradeoff.
   75. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 12, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4154468)
If Trout were a Yankee, he'd get the full Joba treatment from the press.
   76. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: June 12, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4154482)
Any discussion of the difference in coverage between Bryce Harper and Mike Trout that ignores the fact that Bryce Harper (SI cover boy at the age of 15 or whatever) is simply a much more famous person than Mike Trout to begin with...is silly. There's no need to even get into theories of coastal bias IMO.
   77. Nasty Nate Posted: June 12, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4154499)
Any discussion of the difference in coverage between Bryce Harper and Mike Trout that ignores the fact that Bryce Harper (SI cover boy at the age of 15 or whatever) is simply a much more famous person than Mike Trout to begin with...is silly. There's no need to even get into theories of coastal bias IMO.


?? Was Harper born famous?

Or are you just saying Harper was famous before signing with an East Coast team? Did he get famous before it was known that Wash had the first overall pick (honest question, I don't remember)?

Anyway, I may just be a proud papa roto-baseball owner, but I'm on team trout (2-4 last night with a HR, a BB, and 2 steals).

   78. Randy Jones Posted: June 12, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4154515)
Harper was getting nation wide press for more than a full year before he was drafted. He got coverage on ESPN and by all the baseball prospecting people. Then he left HS and got a GED or something like that, so he could go to a JUCO and be draft eligible a year early. It was a pretty big deal.
   79. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4154537)
He was on the cover of SI 3 years ago, with the title "The Chosen One."

Yes, he had a huge head start over Trout in the fame department.
   80. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4154541)
I'm really hoping that both Trout and Harper will be in the All-Star Game. I'm a little skeptical that Harper will make it, but maybe enough NLers will drop out with mysterious last-minute ailments that they yield and let him in.
   81. RJ in TO Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4154549)
I'm really hoping that both Trout and Harper will be in the All-Star Game. I'm a little skeptical that Harper will make it, but maybe enough NLers will drop out with mysterious last-minute ailments that they yield and let him in.


MLB should be doing everything possible to get both of those guys in the game. They're likely to be two of the biggest faces in the game for the next decade, so it only makes sense to show them off to a national audience as much as possible.
   82. Dan Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4154552)
I bet he makes that 25th man vote or whatever they call it.
   83. AROM Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4154556)
Yes, he had a huge head start over Trout in the fame department.


Yes. Mike Trout got his attention after hitting .350 at a few minor league stops, having the build that suggests he'd develop power, and running to first under 4 seconds. Mike Trout has, in the last year or so, just caught up to the fame level Harper had as a high school sophomore.

Harper's early fame and hype machine makes him the LeBron James of baseball. What's particularly amazing is that so far he's lived up to that.
   84. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4154561)
A case like Harper's is the reason for the 25th man vote. It's nice to see a plan come together; when they first implemented this, Harper was in grade school.
   85. The Good Face Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4154568)
I bet he makes that 25th man vote or whatever they call it.


I hope he and Trout both do. Based on their youth and talent levels, those guys have the chance to be historically significant superstars, and could really help energize existing fans while drawing new ones.
   86. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4154586)
If Trout were a Yankee, he'd get the full Joba treatment from the press.
If Trout were a Yankee, he'd have a monument by now. Seriously, the guy really does look like Mickey Mantle reincarnated. Blonde, broad shouldered, has speed, has power. It's scary.

Who are the best right-handed power/speed guys ever aside from Rickey? It's silly to start looking in that direction after just a few months, but he's just that good.
   87. PreservedFish Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4154590)
I hope that Trout remains a real speed guy for many years. Steals 500 bases. Just because it's cool.
   88. SoSH U at work Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4154593)
Who are the best right-handed power/speed guys ever aside from Rickey?


Mays, Bobby Bonds, Dawson jump to mind.
   89. AROM Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4154597)
If Trout were a Yankee, he'd have a monument by now. Seriously, the guy really does look like Mickey Mantle reincarnated. Blonde, broad shouldered, has speed, has power. It's scary.


Yeah. I've noticed that too. If he didn't have baseball talent he'd still be a candidate to play young Mickey in a movie.
   90. AROM Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4154599)
Mays, Bobby Bonds, Dawson jump to mind.


Less game but probably more raw power and raw speed than all of them: Bo Jackson.

Edit: And if we're discussing best power speed combos then it's time for the weekly mention of Eric Davis.
   91. The Good Face Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4154600)
Who are the best right-handed power/speed guys ever aside from Rickey?


A-Rod. Eric Davis.
   92. Dan Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4154603)
Personally I think Trout : Harper :: Mays : Mantle

Makes more sense to me than Trout as Mantle.
   93. PreservedFish Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4154611)
Can't they both be Mantle? You don't get to be Mays unless you're an out of this world defender.
   94. PepTech Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4154621)
Rany Jazayerli says hello.

In fact, with one exception, Harper has out-hit every teenager in major league history. Here is a list of the highest OPS by a teenager (minimum: 150 plate appearances) going back to 1876:

Year Age Name OPS
1928 19 Mel Ott .921
2012 19 Bryce Harper .908
1964 19 Tony Conigliaro .883
1951 19 Mickey Mantle .792
1970 19 Cesar Cedeno .790


Evidently it's time for a collective Mel Ott facepalm. Granted, there was a WW2 caveat, but still. You'd think one of us would have *thought* of the guy...
   95. PreservedFish Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4154626)
Mel Ott has become so strictly identified with the NY Times Crossword that I no longer think of him as a baseball player.
   96. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4154627)
Trout has less than 400 PAs in two years. He just hit his 11th MLB home run, and doesn't quite have 50 RBI yet. I like him a lot too (and respect that Angels fans have seen him a lot more than I have), but isn't the direct Mantle comparison:

a) too much
b) too soon
c) unfair to Trout, giving him a nearly impossible expectation?
   97. zack Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4154630)
What's really sad is that in 5 years, after we were all into Harper and Trout before it was cool, they'll both probably be insufferably overexposed. So enjoy the kids now!
   98. UCCF Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4154633)
What's really sad is that in 5 years, after we were all into Harper and Trout before it was cool, they'll both probably be insufferably overexposed. So enjoy the kids now!

Pasta-diving Trout!
   99. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4154680)
Trout has less than 400 PAs in two years. He just hit his 11th MLB home run, and doesn't quite have 50 RBI yet. I like him a lot too (and respect that Angels fans have seen him a lot more than I have), but isn't the direct Mantle comparison:

a) too much
b) too soon
c) unfair to Trout, giving him a nearly impossible expectation?


True, but then again no player in history, including Trout and Harper, has ever had the level of expectation going into his rookie year that Mickey Mantle had. Remember that Harper didn't exactly tear up the Grapefruit League, and wasn't even doing that much in AAA when he was called up. OTOH Mantle had spent the entire Spring of 1951 hitting one tape measure home run after another on the Yankees' barnstorming tour (656 ft., anyone?), and then culminated it by getting 4 hits and a home run in Ebbets Field in the last exhibition game of the year. Harper had a lot more buildup as an amateur and as a draftee than Mantle, but nobody expected him to hit the ground running the way that it was almost assumed that Mantle would.
   100. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4154689)
Andy, do you think that Mickey more or less met expectations, while Murcer may have been harmed by them?
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