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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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   101. AROM Posted: June 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4154700)
but isn't the direct Mantle comparison:

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


I agree with all of that, the odds are against Trout ending his career as a top 3 center fielder, or top 20 overall player, are still pretty long. But as far as physical resemblence, I think it's totally fair, obvious, and kind of freaky. Though Trout is a few inches taller than Mickey was.
   102. AROM Posted: June 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4154701)
edit: double post.
   103. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 12, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4154710)
Andy, do you think that Mickey more or less met expectations, while Murcer may have been harmed by them?

Mantle's level of expectation, from that 1951 Spring training to that 565 ft. home run over the Griffith Stadium bleachers in 1953, was so insanely high and out of line with reality, that no human being could possibly have ever met them. Here's a man with a lifetime OPS+ of 172 that was brought down by his final injury-filled years, and yet for the first 10 years of his career, only in his Triple Crown season of 1956 did the boo-birds ever really let up on him. It was only when Mantle joined in the Ruth chase in 1961, and when Roger Maris replaced Mantle in 1962 as the chipmunks' designated pinata, that Mantle finally got released from the boo-birds once and for all.

Murcer? Yeah, he suffered by being Mantle's CF replacement, just as Mantle had suffered by being in the shadow of Dimaggio. But it didn't take that long for fans to realize that the main thing that Murcer and Mantle had in common was that they both were from Oklahoma, and after a while whatever fans were left in the Yankee Stadium of the late 60's pretty much let up on him.
   104. PreservedFish Posted: June 12, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4154719)
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.


Something about this feels suspicious. I mean, I'll give you a pass on not including Jackie Robinson. But Mickey Mantle was joining the best team in the majors, and a lineup that was chock full of Hall of Famers. A bit of March hype is nothing compared to what the big prospects of today go through. Don't you remember Strasburg's first start?
   105. PreservedFish Posted: June 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4154738)
Now that I read #103 I see your emphasis is mostly on the stupidity of the fans. Yankees fans of the 50s hold the MLB record for insufferable entitled attitudes? Now that I can believe.
   106. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4154742)
They may be insufferable, but if any fans of any non-NBA sports in the last fifty years have a good reason to feel entitled, it's probably Yankee fans of that era.
   107. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 12, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4154845)
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.

Something about this feels suspicious. I mean, I'll give you a pass on not including Jackie Robinson. But Mickey Mantle was joining the best team in the majors, and a lineup that was chock full of Hall of Famers. A bit of March hype is nothing compared to what the big prospects of today go through. Don't you remember Strasburg's first start?


Jackie Robinson? Jackie Robinson was a last minute addition to the Dodgers' regular season roster, and nobody---nobody---expected him to perform at the level he wound up.

I think that the only way to convince you of the point about Mantle would be for you to spend an hour or two looking at the newspapers---and not just in New York---in the Spring of 1951, with one account after another of some new record-breaking long distance home run. They weren't talking about what Mantle had done in the minors, or in high school or college. They were talking about what he'd done in a month of competition against Major League teams.

Or to put it another way: The hype about Harper and Strasburg prior to their ML debuts was mostly about what they eventually would become. You were getting in on the ground floor, but they weren't expected to be the next Mickey Mantle / Walter Johnson overnight.

But with Mantle, if he'd actually continued to play in the regular season as he had in Spring training, not that many people would've been totally surprised. Harper and Strasburg NOW are getting straddled with insanely high expectation levels, but Mantle had those levels attached to him before he even played his first game in Yankee Stadium.

Now that I read #103 I see your emphasis is mostly on the stupidity of the fans. Yankees fans of the 50s hold the MLB record for insufferable entitled attitudes? Now that I can believe.

Trust me, Mantle was booed on the road every bit as much as he was at home, and this was well before the era of Traveling Yankee Nation. "Overrated" wasn't a word that was used all that much in the 50's, but "disappointing" and "failed to live up to his promise" were attached to his name on a routine basis for much of his earlier years. Of course this reaction was insane on any rational level, but when you've been reading about a 19 year old kid hitting 450 ft. to 600 ft. home runs as if it were a routine day at the office, it was almost impossible not to expect some sort of a counter-reaction when he performed more like a human being than like the second coming of Ruth and Dimaggio.

Also, to show you another enormous difference between then and now: Do you know what the biggest "scandal" was surrounding Mickey Mantle's early years? It was when a photographer snapped a picture of him late in the 1953 season blowing bubble gum while in centerfield waiting for the next pitch. Casey Stengel blew his lid over it, and half the columnists in New York weighed in with their cluck-clucks about how Mantle represented a younger generation of ballplayers who were terminally lazy, not hungry enough, yada yada yada.

Of course if it'd been chewing tobacco instead of Double Bubble, nobody would've said a word. The past really is a foreign country.
   108. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 12, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4154899)
Jackie Robinson? Jackie Robinson was a last minute addition to the Dodgers' regular season roster, and nobody---nobody---expected him to perform at the level he wound up.
With Robinson, it was less about hype than it was about pressure.
   109. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 12, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4155112)
HARPER IS NOW HITTING .304, after a single and really long HR.
   110. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM (#4155216)
Final line: four plate appearances, two singles (one a bunt base hit), a titanic home run, one run, one RBI, and a caught stealing.

I'm Joey B. and I approve this message: vote Bryce Harper for the All-Star Game.
   111. Poster Nutbag Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4155252)
Kid better be on the AS-Team!

Nowhere else to put my random babblings such as this....but my girl and I now refer to Harper as our son.... ;-)

(Mind you, she's a HUGE baseball fan, digs guys that play hard and can't get over calling the Nats the "Walgreens"... "Babe, look at that W...plus, they're kinda booge {sic}, right?"...she's the best!)
   112. Knock on any Iorg Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4155274)
Do you know what the biggest "scandal" was surrounding Mickey Mantle's early years? It was when a photographer snapped a picture of him late in the 1953 season blowing bubble gum while in centerfield waiting for the next pitch.

Harper was guilty as charged in the field tonight.
   113. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM (#4155278)
Do you know what the biggest "scandal" was surrounding Mickey Mantle's early years? It was when a photographer snapped a picture of him late in the 1953 season blowing bubble gum while in centerfield waiting for the next pitch.

Harper was guilty as charged in the field tonight.


What actually made me think of Mantle was a picture in this morning's Post of Harper just having snapped a bubble. My first thought was that he's lucky that Casey didn't see that.....
   114. Esoteric Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4155288)
Bryce Harper's home run tonight at the Rogers Centre must have gone AT LEAST 450 feet, easy. I mean, it bounced HARD off the black sign in the upper deck of dead center field...who knows where it would have landed if it had been unimpeded?

Dear god the kid is impressive. And he's ours! OURS! AND YOU CAN'T HAVE HIM!! NASSSTY TRICKSY TEAMS!!!

MY PRECIOUSSSSSS...
   115. cardsfanboy Posted: July 26, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4193027)
19. cardsfanboy Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4153699)

.....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.




Now it's time for Harper to prove me wrong, he's proven me right up to this point, let's see if he can keep his ops+ above 110 and be the second 19 year old to do that in the past 50+ years.
   116. Tripon Posted: July 26, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4193113)
You're crowing that a 19 year old is putting up a 112 OPS+, and you think he's somehow failing? Seriously?
   117. cardsfanboy Posted: July 26, 2012 at 09:01 PM (#4193164)
You're crowing that a 19 year old is putting up a 112 OPS+, and you think he's somehow failing? Seriously?


Nope, I never ever said he's failing, I said at the time, that it's unrealistic to think that he was going to keep those numbers up, no 19 year old in 50 years has, he's not going to be the exception. People kept saying (in multiple threads) 1. that Harper makes adjustments and they could see him being the exception 2. that he's plenty of scouted due to his popularity that there is already a book on him. 3. The original post I commented on, was that Harper is "Right now one of the 50 best players in baseball". He's clearly not and that was the point all along. The hype machine behind this kid is dragging along reasonable posters and making them unabashed fanboys of his.

He's arguably a league average player. Nothing wrong with that, and he's only going to get better, but he is not one of the top 50 players in the game right at this minute.
   118. TerpNats Posted: July 26, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4193202)
He's arguably a league average player. Nothing wrong with that, and he's only going to get better, but he is not one of the top 50 players in the game right at this minute.
Agreed he's not one of the top 50 right now, but many 19-year-olds are league average players?
   119. Esoteric Posted: July 26, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4193207)
SOMEone's a real pissypants today.
   120. cardsfanboy Posted: July 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM (#4193241)
Agreed he's not one of the top 50 right now, but many 19-year-olds are league average players?


Nope, a handful have been over the course of 50 years, he's one of them. That is an accomplishment. Expecting him to be one of the top 50 best right now was a stretch of silly proportions, and everyone was going along with that comment.

   121. Srul Itza Posted: July 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM (#4193306)
It all depends on your definition of "50 best players"

He's not putting up one of the 50 best years of 2012.

But I don't think that there are 50 players I would rather have under contract now than him.


   122. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4193362)
Harper's not far off the pace of being in the top 50 for position players by fWAR, 1.6 to 2.0. bWAR has him at 1.9 with 50th place at 2.4. Given that he wasn't up the first month, I think it's premature to say he's not having a top 50 (non-pitcher) season... and that's pretty incredible even if he's cooled off from his torrid start.

Likewise, Trout won't play like this for the rest of the season but the comparisons of him to the all time greats don't become bogus simply because he kept playing like the best player ever. There's still all the legitimate caveats, J-Hey had an incredible season at 20 and then had an injury troubled second season before his good but not world beating age 22 season this year, but both of these kids are historically excellent.
   123. toratoratora Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4193524)
But I don't think that there are 50 players I would rather have under contract now than him.


You ain't alone. Cameron and the guys at fangraphs think Harpers the #2 trade value in MLB behind Trout...and, much as it hurts to admit, I can't really say that I disagree.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/2012-trade-value-5-1/
   124. cardsfanboy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4193817)
But I don't think that there are 50 players I would rather have under contract now than him.


Absolutely agree. Heck there probably isn't 10 contracts I would rather have. Heck just basing it upon no contract, and which player would you rather have over the next five years on your team(no cost issue involved) I doubt I could think of 10 players I would rather have (mind you, my list would have no pitchers as Halladay has proven this year, even a sure thing isn't a sure thing when it comes to pitchers)

   125. cardsfanboy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4194087)
After I posted I had to drive somewhere, during the drive I was thinking, 10 is a little to high, (after all you have Votto, Kemp, Cabrera, Longoria, McCuthcn, Hamilton, Braun, Pujols, Cano, Tulowitzki, etc. that are clearly better players now and will probably still be good players at the end of five years) So I should change that to top 30. (non-pitchers again)
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