(Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Highly touted Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was called up to the big league ball club on April 28th. He was drafted 1st overall in the 2010 June MLB draft. Harper has had a lot of hype and promise around him ever since he was featured in a 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine. He has been called a future legend by many in the sports media. Harper has also been called immature and egotistical during his 2011 Minor League run. Now we get to see how the 19 year old phenom develops into what could be an incredible baseball player.
Bryce Harper Has been at the Major League level for a month now. So I figured it is time to take a look at the numbers and see how he has done. The stats mentioned are compiled from his first 31 games at the big league level and took place between the 28th of April and the 2nd of June.
Harper has had 115 appearances at the plate. From those at bats he has 32 hits, 16 base on balls and has been struck out 21 times. His batting average is at .278, at the plate he has fared pretty well for a player that just got to the show. He has shown some power amassing 10 extra base hits and knocking 4 ball out of the park. He has produced a good number of runs with 21, Harper has also 11 RBI’s.
His debut came on the 28th of April in Los Angeles when his National faced off against the Dodgers. Harper went 1 for 3 that night, the hit was for a double and he also batted in a run. The Dodgers won that game by a score of 4-3.
Harper’s best game at the plate came on May 2nd against the Arizona Diamondbacks at home. Harper went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs and 1 RBI.
He has been a really good part of the Nationals offensive production. He has also been an asset to the club in the field. Harper was brought up through his amateur playing years as a catcher but once drafted was converted to an outfielder. Harper currently occupies the Right Field and has a rocket arm and really good fielding.
The most publicized event for Harper came May 6th when the Nationals played the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies star pitcher Cole Hamels nailed Harper in the back with a pitch. It looked intentional but Hamels left no doubt that it was on purpose when he admitted it after the game. Harper handled the situation with all of the maturity in the world and shrugged it off. When Harper was asked about it later he just said that they were both competitive players and sometimes that happens.
This last month of watching Bryce Harper play has shown us a few things. He was indeed ready to be called up from the minor leagues. He has been the player the Nationals need to continue to compete in the tough N.L. East. He has played well on both the offensive and defensive side. Most importantly he has shown that he can be as humble as he needs to be right now to develop and improve. I believe Harper is going to continue to get better and in a couple of years could in fact be one of the best baseball players around.
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Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez during Thursday’s victory over the Huston Astros
If you have been living under a rock for the past two weeks here is a message for you, the Miami Marlins are on fire! The Marlins have won 9 of there last 10 games. They just came off of their best road trip ever taking 8 of 9 games during the trip. First sweeping the Giants in San Francisco, followed by a sweep of the Padres in San Diego and finishing the road trip taking 2 of 3 games from the Huston Astros. The road trip was the best in franchise history.
The pitching of Carlos Zambrano is probably one of the most surprising things to have happened for the team in the past 2 weeks. Zambrano recorded a complete game win earlier this week against the Astros. Many expected him to fall apart this year and pitch poorly based on his past in Chicago playing for the Cubs. He is showing all of the critics that he still has it and is here to stay.
Their other pitching stud Anibal Sanchez continued his winning ways picking up his 4th win on the road trip. He pitched a total of 14 innings with 13 strikeouts. Sanchez leads the team in strikeouts with 46 for the season. He has really blossomed over the years into a big time pitcher and he is still highly underrated.
On the offensive side of the ball the Marlins have come alive. Giancarlo Stanton snapped out of his funk blasting 5 home runs and bringing in 8 RBI’s on the road trip. Second baseman Omar Infante proved very valuable with 10 hits, 1 home run and 8 RBI’s. Infante is currently batting .342 for the season and does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. The offense was bright and really picked up the optimism of Marlins Nation.
The Marlins defeated the New York Mets on Friday at home by of score of 6-5. The Fish have been dominating most of the games they have played this past two weeks. The other games where they didn’t squash their opponents they have come back to win in the late innings.
The Marlins are going into their Saturday game against the Mets holding a record of 17 wins and 15 losses. They are only 3 games back from first place in the NL East. The lead in the NL East is currently held by the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves. That spot could be held by the fish in about a week if they keep up their superb play up.
The team started the season with a rocky first month. They finished the month of April with an under .500 win percentage. They received little production from power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, which was a huge and disappointing surprise. Their big time free agent Heath Bell was not pitching well from the closing spot and blowing games. Jose Reyes also had his problem in the form of getting hits. Things did not look great after the first month of baseball.
A new month brought new hope and a chance for redemption. And boy have the Marlins taken advantage of the restart in the form of a long road trip. I think this is the team that we were meant to see, and will continue to see for the rest of the season. They are finally heading places and the fans are getting excited about their prospects of winning. The goal for this season is taking the NL East crown for the first time in franchise history and surging through the playoff en route to their 3rd World Series title. The season is long and things could change, but I have confidence that what has happened in the last 2 weeks we will be seeing more of deep into the season. So there is only one thing to be said “NL East watch out the Fish are coming”.
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