May 3, 2012
Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals was anointed MLB’s next phenom when he left high school to play college baseball at the age of 16. At 17, he proved that was a worthy decision when he batted .443 with 31 homers and 98 RBI as a freshman at the College of Southern Nevada. His numbers were so impressive that he won baseball’s most prestigious award for a college player, the Golden Spikes Award. Even better, a month before he won the award, he was selected No. 1 in the 2010 MLB draft.
Now just 19 years old, Harper is present in the Washington Nationals lineup and is here to stay. In his first game on April 28, Harper took Hollywood by storm as the Nationals took to the road to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game was special as it featured the games’ best player, Matt Kemp, and the games’ most talked about 19-year-old.
Harper looked his age early-on in that game as he took in the sights and sounds of the game with eyes as big as baseballs. He didn’t disappoint either, smacking a double off the center field wall and later brought home an RBI with a sacrifice fly. In the end it was Kemp who let Harper know who is top dog as he belted a walk-off homer in the tenth. Regardless, Harper had a most impressive MLB debut.
Considering the times, Harper has more hype surrounding him than any other player in history. This goes for all four major American sports. The MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL have never had a kid create this much buzz. To be under such an intense spotlight, Harper is handling himself quite well. After all, he’s only 19. While most 19 year olds are trying to discover themselves in their transition to adulthood, Harper is thriving in a dog-eat-dog world.
When the Nationals announced that Harper would be making his MLB debut, there were plenty of skeptics saying he’s not ready, only hitting .250 at International League’s Syracuse and too young. The organization didn’t care as they threw Harper in to see if he could swim. So far he looks like Michael Phelps on an MLB diamond.
In just four games Harper is hitting .385(5-for-13) with two runs scored and two RBI. The thing that stands out the most is not his bat, but his arm as Harper has made a couple of dazzling throws from the outfield. Fans should find a way to watch this budding Hall of Famer play ball. Yes, he’s only 19 and that’s a very bold statement considering he’s played four games in the big leagues, but this kid is downright spectacular. Just wait until the day when his body matures. Only then will we begin to see what Harper can truly accomplish.
So far, his life is reading like a story book as every diehard MLB fan is drooling at this kid’s raw talent. If he’s within a tank of gas from your town, take the time to be awestruck.