Bryce Harper is RAKING

Bryce Harper powder blues
Photo Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it was premature to boo a slumping Bryce Harper less than 50 games into a 162-game season.

But I wouldn’t accuse Philadelphia sports fans of knee jerk overreaction. We are, after all, pragmatic supporters, capable of critical thinking and measured takes.

Harper is smashing the baseball as we head into June, an eight-hit effort in the series win over St. Louis. He finished the three game set 8-for-12 with five doubles, a home run, and seven RBI.

Not bad for a guy who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn not long ago, a nine-game stretch at the end of April in which he mustered three hits while striking out 12 times. His batting average slipped from .278 to .219 while his OPS slipped below .800 before rebounding to .841.

Maybe less is more? A matter of trying too hard and over-thinking things?

That was my takeaway from these two recent quotes, via Matt Breen at the Inquirer, after the jump:

“I had a conversation with [hitting coach] John Mallee during the game,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “And I said ‘If there’s one thing that you’re seeing with Bryce right now that’s really standing out, what is it?’ And he said ‘It’s the lowest effort level that we’ve seen from him all year.’ It’s something they’ve been working on together pretty diligently and it’s really paying dividends for Bryce right now.”

….

“I don’t want to get too much into it because I don’t want to think about it, to tell you the truth,” Harper said. “I’m just trying to relax up there and hit pitches that are in the zone and not swing at balls as best as possible. But I don’t even want to think about it.”

Also consider:

  • Harper has 11 doubles in May, the most he’s had during any month in his career.
  • 19 double this season is tied for second in Major League Baseball, behind only Josh Bell. He only had 6 doubles through this many games last season. 
  • He’s drawn 37 walks, 9th most in the league (Hoskins is 4th and McCutchen is 2nd).

And this:

Looks like he’ll be alright.

Dodgers this weekend. Buckle up.

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12 Responses

  1. Always boo poor play. In real jobs (not blogs obviously since they arent real jobs) you get talked to about your poor performance- boos are the same.

  2. Be honest. Who among us doesn’t cringe when we hear those words?

  3. Need to know: Sean Burnett continues to impress this spring, and he crossed another key hurdle in his recovery from a second Tommy John surgery today. Pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this spring, Burnett got into a second-and-third, one-out jam in the top of the seventh – though the two runners reached via a dribbler down the third-base line and a fly ball that Harper misplayed in right field. The veteran lefty proceeded to pitch out of the jam, though, striking out Emilio Bonifacio and getting Gordon Beckham to ground out. His ERA remains a spotless 0.00 through eight spring appearances.

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