National’s Bryce Harper Sets Team Record for Best April
One year ago today, April 28, 2012 the Washington Nationals called up phenom Bryce Harper, the first overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. After spending Spring Training with the Nats, it was determined that he wasn’t ready to come north with the team just yet.
Harper started the season with the Nats’ triple A team, the Syracuse Chiefs where he was off to a slow start. However he was called up because National’s third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went on the 15 day disabled list with a shoulder injury. He may have been slow starting in the minors, but was soon looking right at home in the majors. He would go on to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Now at the ripe old age of 20, has he been able to maintain the pace of his great start, or has the sophomore jinx stared to creep in? Well, he’s making it look like no such jinx exists; he’s the Nats leading hitter with a 373 average and a 453 on-base percentage. He also set a team record for the most productive month of April during which he hit nine homers and knocked in 18 runs.
So far Harper is proving to be the real thing, with a skill set that is making him a stand-out in the majors. In addition to his physical abilities his love of the game and work ethic are second to none according to National’s hitting coach Rick Eckstein.
“It sounds like a broken record, but the man comes to the field every day with a passion to be at his best,” Eckstein said. “He studies, he works, he talks to everyone [looking for] advice. He is very disciplined about his work habits. He is an impressive young man in every sense of the word.”
One month into his sophomore season and not only is Harper showing no signs of a jinx, he’s picked up right where he left off as Rookie of the Year.