HARPER, BRYCE  
 
Image of    Nickname:   N/A Position:   OF
Home: N/A Team:   NATIONALS
Height: 6' 3" Bats:   L
Weight: 225 Throws:   R
DOB: 10/16/1992 Agent: Scott Boras
Birth City: Las Vegas, NV Draft: Nationals #1-2010-Out of College of Southern Nevada
Uniform #: 34  
 
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2011 EL HARRISBURG   37 129 14 33 7 1 3 12 7 2 15 26 .329 .395 .256
2011 SAL HAGERSTOWN   72 258 49 82 17 1 14 46 19 5 44 61 .423 .554 .318
2012 IL SYRACUSE   21 74 8 18 4 1 1 3 1 1 9 14 .325 .365 .243
2012 NL NATIONALS   139 533 98 144 26 9 22 59 18 6 56 120 .340 .477 .270
2013 NL NATIONALS   118 424 71 116 24 3 20 58 11 4 61 94 .368 .486 .274
2013 EL HARRISBURG   2 7 3 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 3 .444 .571 .286
2013 CAR POTOMAC   2 4 2 2 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 .600 1.500 .500
2014 NL NATIONALS $2,150.00 100 352 41 96 10 2 13 32 2 2 38 104 .344 .423 .273
2014 EL HARRISBURG   3 10 4 6 1 0 3 7 2 2 3 1 .692 1.600 .600
2014 CAR POTOMAC   2 4 3 3 0 0 1 4 0 0 2 0 .833 1.500 .750
2015 NL NATIONALS $2,500.00 153 521 118 172 38 1 42 99 6 4 124 131 .460 .649 .330
2016 NL NATIONALS $5,000.00 147 506 84 123 24 2 24 86 21 10 108 117 .373 .441 .243
  • Bryce Harper was playing T-ball at age three against six-year-olds, partly to be with his older brother, Bryan.

    And by the time Bryce was nine, travel teams from California to Colorado to Oklahoma were calling the Harpers and offering to put their son on a plane, lodge him in a hotel and provide his meals so he could play for them in tournaments. A travel player for hire. He went, of course. Most times either Ron or Sheri went with him, but sometimes, for work or monetary reasons, they could not go, so Bryce went alone. He has played between 80 and 130 baseball games a year each year for seven years, in more states than he can remember.

    "People say, 'Weren't you deprived of your childhood?'" Bryce says. "No way. I would not take anything back at all. Everything about it was great. I got to go places, meet people, play baseball against older kids and better competition. I had a great time."

    Bryce is a normal young man. He played football until 2008, and he loves to snowboard in the winter.

    "We don't limit him in any way," his Mom, Shari said. "He loves to play baseball. He would come home after being away playing baseball all weekend, get off the plane and not an hour later be bored and say, 'Dad, let's go to the cage and hit.' I mean, he still sleeps with his bat. He'll get a new bat and go, 'Dad, isn't she a bee-yooty?'" (Tom Verducci-Sports Illustrated-6/08/09)

  • It was after one of those player-for-hire trips that Sheri began to understand that her son was really special. Bryce, then 12, was playing in a tournament in Alabama on a field with 250-foot fences. It was a trip Sheri could not attend. When Bryce phoned home, Sheri asked him how he'd done. "I did all right," he replied.

    Later, one of the coaches called Sheri. "Did he say anything to you?" the coach asked.

    "No, not really," Sheri said.

    "He went 12 for 12. Eleven home runs and a double."

    "That," Sheri says, "is when I knew." (Tom Verducci-Sports Illustrated-6/08/09)

  • Harper did volunteer work when he was in high school. And he had a 3.5 grade point average. He also atteded religious education classes nearly every morning before school.
  • Bryce is an impact player with the skills, body and attitude—he says he models his game after those of Mickey Mantle and Pete Rose—perfectly suited for the sport.

    He has always wanted to play baseball. And he has an enormous capacity for working at the game with dedication. When asked about his goals as a ballplayer, he replies with an unemotional certainty: "Be in the Hall of Fame, definitely. Play in Yankee Stadium. Play in the pinstripes. Be considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. I can't wait."

  • His father, Ron, is a steelworker, while his mother, Sheri, is a paralegal.
  • In 2008, as part of USA Baseball's 16-U team in the Pan Am Championships in Mexico, Harper signed autographs for 45 minutes, until the wee hours of the morning, after pitching the 11th inning of a 3-1 win over Cuba. He batted .571 in the tournament, with four home runs in eight games, a 1.214 slugging average, a .676 on-base percentage and six stolen bases in six tries—all team highs among regular players—and was named MVP.

    It was during an international home run hitting showcase in January that Harper, with a metal bat, walloped his 502-foot shot at the Trop, part of a run of six consecutive homers that averaged 469 feet. (The night before the competition, Babe Ruth's granddaughter displayed a commemorative bat to be awarded to the player who hit the longest home run. In his own version of a called shot, Harper told the Babe's kin, "I'm going to win that bat." And he did.)

  • Harper plays baseball with  a viciousness, a seeming contempt for whoever and whatever dares get between him and victory. "I'm going to play against you the way Pete Rose did," he says. "I'm going to try to rip your head off. That's just the way I am. Old school. If I could play for a guy like Lou Piniella or Larry Bowa, I'd love it."

    Before he hits, Harper lays his bat down in the batter's box, takes two steps toward the pitcher, bends over, scoops up dirt in his bare hands (batting gloves? Hah!), rubs it between his palms and then returns to grab his bat and take his place in the box. "He's got this thing for dirt," Sheri says. It looks like an act of defiance, a marking of territory—in this case, home plate—as his alone.

    "I love the way people talk crap," Harper says. "I hear it all the time. Overrated. You suck. I'll just do something to shut them up, like, I'll show you. It's like in regular pregame work. I like to show off my arm. Just so it's like, There you go. Don't even think about trying to run."

    "Bryce has a saying," his father Ron says. "Whenever people say how good he is, he likes to say, 'I'm not done yet. I still have work to do.' He's going to get a lot better, and I say that because of how hard he works. I don't think he'll ever rest on his laurels."  (Tom Verducci-Sports Illustrated-6/08/09)

  • In 2009, Harper was Baseball America's High School Player of the Year as a sophomore. The magazine had never even picked a high school junior as their POY, much less a sophomore.

    That season, Bryce hit .626 with a .723 on-base-percentage and a 1.339 slugging percentage in 115 at-bats, with 14 homers and 55 RBI.

  • Bryce chose to pursue his GED rather than go back to high school for his junior year in the fall of 2009. Yes, he  skipped the last TWO years of high school and got into college so he could be drafted. And he maintained a 4.0 average in junior college. 

  • He gravitates to Nationals' veterans like Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel ("He deserves all the respect in the world for overcoming what he's overcome."), and Jayson Werth.

    The player Harper most enjoys being compared with is George Brett. (When told that, Brett said, "He had to be the only 17-year-old in this country who knows who I am.") When journalist Danny Knobler told Harper that he used to cover the Tigers, Harper wanted to know about Al Kaline, and astounded Knobler by knowing Kaline at age 20 in 1955 was the youngest batting champion.

    Asked on MLB Network whom he'd like to meet if he could go back in time, Harper replied, "Jackie Robinson, not only because he was a Hall of Fame player, but because of all he went through." Harper talks about hoping to meet several players around the game if and when he makes it to Washington. One of them is veteran grinder Chase Utley.

    For now, Harper plays off the role of being the brash kid. "It's unbelievable what people scream at him from the stands," says DeRosa. "One day, there was a man with his three kids yelling obscenities." It happened throughout the minors last year.

  • Just before the 2010 draft, Baseball America asked Harper what he missed about being in high school.

    "I have not missed one thing at all," he said. "I really haven't. I didn't really have any friends in high school because I was about baseball. That's all I was about. Everyone else, they were about partying and all that kind of stuff. I stayed away from all that. I was pretty much a home body. Go to school, go to baseball, go to the gym, and come home. And eat a great home-cooked meal. That was my day. Then Sundays, I'd go to church," Bryce said.

  • Bryce is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Morman. But he does not plan on doing a mission.

    "I think  I can do what I can on the field to get people to look at me and say, 'He's LDS.' I can do a lot more things on the field. I probably could go out and say 'This is the right church,' but I can do that on the field and being a walking book of Mormon. Is it in my repertoire to go do a mission? Yes, but after my career and everything like that. When I'm older I'll go on a mission, but as of right now, no, not at this age," Harper told Baseball America.

  • Harper's favorites:

    Movie: Bull Durham

    Musical Group: "I love Lil' Wayne, but I'm pretty much all about country. Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Big & Rich."

    Dream Car: "1969 Chevelle SS. Or a Range Rover Sport, black on black. I love the '55 Belair. I love all the old-school cars," Bryce said.

    Celebrity Crush: Megan Fox

  • Asked about his hobbies, Harper told Baseball America, "I love to go to the beach. I love going to Oklahoma. I love to snowboard. Going fishing. Hanging out with my pops. Me and him are best friends. Just going to the lake; hanging out, having a good time."

  • Harper's uniform number with the Nationals is #34—3 plus 4 equals 7. And the #7 was Mickey Mantle's number. And The Mick is Bryce's all-time favorite player.

  • In 2010, Bryce was awarded the Golden Spikes award.

  • In 2011 and 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Bryce as the #1 prospect in the Nationals organization.

  • Harper had an eye exam on April 19, 2011 that resulted in prescription contact lenses. He then went on a hitting tear.

  • When Bryce signs an autograph, he normally put his uniform number (34) and LUKE 1:37 (which reads, "For with God, nothing shall be impossible.")

  • Probably around the time Bryce became a teenager, his father, Ron, taught him never to drink anything from a glass or open container if he was unsure about its chain of custody.

    "I still do that," Harper said late in the 2011 season. "I don't drink at all. When I'd go to parties with my buddies—it's Vegas—I'd always bring a water bottle with me. I'd keep it in my hand no matter what. I still do. Anytime I go to anybody's house, I always have it in a closed container. I open it up, drink it right away or keep it close, just in case. Things happen, and I don't want to take a chance."

  • Arnie Beyeler, the manager for the Pawtucket Red Sox, had Harper in the Arizona Fall League and said, "He plays as hard as anyone I've ever seen. I love him."

    That time in 2011 that Harper blew the kiss at the Greensboro pitcher? Bob Boone was at the game and said, "The pitcher was talking trash." Harper added: "The only time I do some of these things is when someone disrespects a teammate."

  • Asked on MLB Network whom he’d like to meet if he could go back in time, Harper replied, “Jackie Robinson, not only because he was a Hall of Fame player, but because of all he went through.”

    Harper talks about hoping to meet several players around the game if and when he makes it to Washington. One of them is veteran grinder Chase Utley.

  • In 2012, Harper was named the National League Rookie of the Year. It was a close decision over the D-backs' Wade Miley and the Reds' Todd Frazier.

  • Harper's game-worn 2013 opening day jersey was auctioned off, and the Nats slugger was not happy about it. The jersey sold for just over $13,000. If only he had known sooner, he could have bid on it. Harper took to Twitter to express his frustration that the first opening day jersey of his career is in the hands of someone else.

    Bryce tweeted "They just take my jersey away from me and don't ask if I want it or anything! First opening day! Jersey gone!"

  • Early in 2013, it was reported the Bryce was dating BYU soccer player Kayla Varner.

  • Sports Illustrated's Dan Patrick asked Harper, "When's the last time you were nervous in a game?"

    Bryce responed, "I've never been nervous. I never feel pressure. It's so much fun to be part of games that are 1-1 going into the 10th inning. Or you're up bases loaded, bottom of the ninth. That's something you live for. I've always dreamed of hitting a walk-off home run in the playoffs."

    Patrick asked, "Is it hard to live your life?"

    To which Harper said, "I got a great group of guys on my team and a great family and support at home. I try to have fun while I'm playing and be a good person on and off the field."

  • In July 2013, Hall of Fame outfielder Al Kaline said that he is fascinated by the way the Nationals' Bryce Harper plays the game of baseball. Kaline loves the way Harper goes all-out on every play and is impressed by how Harper has handled the pressures of big league life at such a young age.

    "He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played," said Kaline, who is currently a special assistant to Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski. "He has tremendous ability and I expect him to go on—if everything goes right—to be one of the best players that ever played this game."

    Kaline doesn't see Harper reaching a middle ground to avoid injuries.  "If you pop up to the infield, you know it's going to be an easy out, you don't go 110 percent. You make sure you get on base and may get the extra base," Kaline said. "And of course ... the walls ... he is fortunate now that he plays the outfield where the walls are all padded. When I played, they were concrete.

    "There are times—instead of going full belt into the walls, where he might hurt himself for good—you have to be careful. But you can't teach that. He's got to play the way he is taught and the way he has always played. He would probably feel he let the fans down if he didn't go hard all the time."

    Kaline and Harper share something. They both entered the big leagues as teenagers and became major players early on. At 19, Harper helped the Nats win the National League East title and won the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award. At 20, Kaline won the American League batting title.  In Kaline's opinion, Harper is much stronger than he ever was.

    "I've been fascinated by what he has been able to do. He's much stronger than I ever was, because I was 150, 155 pounds," Kaline said. "The only thing I would tell him is respect the game, which it looks like he does; take care of his body; be a good team player. If you leave this game as a good team player and gain the respect of your teammates, then you have done a great job. I know he is going to go all-out. I just hope that he stays healthy."

    Kaline is impressed with Harper's swing. The Hall of Famer believes Harper is capable of winning the home run title. Kaline is not sure if the outfielder can win a batting title like he did in 1955.

    "It looks like to me that he swings for home runs," Kaline said. "To me, if you swing for home runs a lot, you are not going lead the league in hitting. He is certainly capable of doing both if he puts his mind to it. He is trying to do what the team thinks he needs to do, whether it's a power hitter, he will probably try and do that. Whether he is able to [win the battle title and home run title], I don't know, because he is very, very aggressive at the plate." (Ladson - mlb.com - 8/01/13)

  • Harper, who attended seminary classes at 5:00 a.m. on weekdays in high school, writes "Luke 1:37" on every autograph he signs. "For with God, nothing shall be impossible." It's his own way of spreading the gospel.

  • The Nationals traveled to Toronto to play the Blue Jays midway through the 2012 season. After one game, a reporter asked if Harper would take advantage of Ontario's lower drinking age (19, versus 21 in the U.S.) by drinking a celebratory beer with his teammates.

    Harper, who is a Mormon and does not drink alcohol, replied, "I'm not going to answer that. That's a clown question, bro."

    The comment quickly developed into an Internet meme, and the phrase itself repeated, in response to a question, by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Harper filed an application to trademark the phrase.

  • Harper announced in January 2014, that he wants an Ultimate Fighting Championship belt. No, he doesn’t want to become a fighter. He just wants one to wear, and he’s willing to hit a home run during batting practice with it if the UFC will give him one. The UFC responded by sending him a belt as long as he would take a picture hitting a home run wearing it.

  • Spring Training 2014: He doesn't wear all-out, warrior face paint like he did in college anymore, but Harper does still enjoy playing baseball with a healthy amount of eye black. So it's only natural the Nationals star now has his own eye black company.

    WarriorBlack will be available later this spring, but Harper teased the company's unveiling it with a re-tweet of an advertising photo featuring the 21-year-old wearing the product, plus a hat and T-shirt sporting the company's name.

    Harper did the photo shoot a couple of weeks ago in Viera, his latest commercial endeavor.

    WarriorBlack touts itself as: "The premiere anti-glare under-eye formula available, and the only choice for MLB superstar Bryce Harper."

  • In July 2013, Harper was the youngest National League All-Star starter in history at 20.

    He and Tony Conigliaro are the only big leaguers with a pair of 20-homer seasons before their 21st birthday.

  • Bryce's diet veers between world-class athlete and overgrown kid, which makes sense because that’s what he is. Harper pours glutamine powder into yogurt-and-fruit shakes and drops amino vitamins into homemade organic juice. He also scarfs his mom’s made-from-scratch cooking. He sneaks Klondike Bars, Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, and Double Stuff Oreos. He does not drink Red Bull or Five-Hour Energy, both full of sugar and caffeine and “absolutely terrible for you,” he said. Harper may submit to a craving for Mountain Dew but only in the offseason, and even then he takes one sip and throws the can in the trash.

    “I mean, I’m not perfect,” Harper said, laughing as he sat in the Washington Nationals’ dugout late in 2014 spring training. “I eat ice cream all the time. Outside of that, I’m going to be smart.”

    Harper avoids sugary drinks, treats pain relievers with skepticism and abhors performance-enhancing drugs. He turned 21 in October. He says he still does not—will not—drink alcohol.

    “My body is what I work with,” Harper said. “It’s not just sitting behind a desk and I have to use my hands all day. It’s my body. This is what I have to do every single day. I come in, and I have to feel good. If you’re going out and drinking and partying, you’re not going to feel good the next day. I want to get my eight hours and be able to eat good meals and not be sluggish or anything like that.My body is my temple, and I’ve always thought that.”

    In the winter, Harper relies on his mother for the brunt of his nutrition. Protein from grilled chicken. Healthy carbohydrates from pasta. She makes everything, from ranch dressing to spaghetti, so Harper knows he will not be putting artificial sugars in his body. “She’s unbelievable,” Harper said. “I’m very, very lucky.”

    Harper adds sophistication to his mom’s cooking. He researches vitamins online to determine what supplements to use and when to use them. He uses creatine powder in cycles during the winter, typically four weeks on, two weeks off. He said amino vitamins, which his father turned him on to, are “the best thing I can put in my body.” After workouts, to maximize recovery and eliminate cramping, Harper uses glutamine powder. He adds liquid protein to drinks.

    He will drink black coffee if he needs a jolt during the season. He uses off-market Gatorade products that do not contain sugar. Harper began making his own juice this winter and loved it—kale, cucumber, green apple, and green tomato is a favorite. When he wants a late-night snack, he “crushes” an avocado and cucumber sandwich.  (Adam Kilgore - Washington Post - 3/27/14)

  • "You can't question the way the kid plays the game," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He plays the game hard."

    Harper may be only 21, but he has typically been old-school in his approach. Charlie Manuel, when he was managing the Phillies, had old-school covered. He was asked which contemporary player played the game the way it should be played. "The left fielder for Washington," Manuel said, meaning Harper.

    There was one notable break in that wall-to-wall effort in April 2014, when Harper failed to run out a comebacker to the pitcher. Williams removed Harper from the game. Harper said the manager had done the right thing. All parties rapidly moved on from the episode. It stood as a surprise, in that it differed so dramatically from Harper's usual level of effort, but it was not an issue that festered, or lingered, or created a long-term problem.

    Harper has suffered injuries as a result of his nonstop approach. He missed 44 games in the 2013 season. Harper had a left knee injury, the result of running into an outfield wall at Dodger Stadium. The risk of injury will continue as long as he plays all-out, but neither the player nor the club would be well-served by having Harper turn into somebody else, somebody less, on the field.

    Harper is running, but it's not like he's running for office. His public comments can be candid, perhaps too candid for his own good. But that candor beats the alternative.

    Asked what he thought about comparisons between Mike Trout of the Angels and himself, Harper didn't pull any punches. "I really don't care," he said. "I couldn't care less about opinions. If they like him, they like him. If they like me, they like me. If they like both of us, then they know the game. If they don't, they're crazy."

    After a recent injury, there will undoubtedly be calls for Harper to ditch the head-first slides and/or generally curtail his full-tilt style of play. Swell. If he did that, he would be somebody other than Bryce Harper. That is not what will win for the Nats. There are no halfway measures in the game of Bryce Harper.  (Bauman - mlb.com - 4/29/14)

  • July 2, 2014: Nationals manager Matt Williams did his best to eliminate any perceived tension in his clubhouse regarding Bryce Harper's comments about the lineup.

    Before returning to the field after missing more than two months with a torn left thumb ligament, Harper addressed the media and displayed some dissatisfaction with Williams' decision to hit the 21-year-old slugger sixth in the batting order.

    Harper also disagreed with where individuals were playing in the field, stating that Ryan Zimmerman playing left field, Danny Espinosa playing second, and Anthony Rendon playing third "should be what's happening." Harper's proposed lineup would have presumably moved him to center field in place of Denard Span.

    Instead, Williams played Rendon at second, Zimmerman at third, and Harper in left field, with Span retaining his starting job in center field. The rookie manager proposed that Harper's comments were taken out of context.

    "What was the question asked?" Williams said. "And how did he respond to that particular question? We don't often hear the question. We just get the response. So with regard to scrutiny regarding the lineup, that's on me. I make the lineup. And that's all that Bryce said: 'He makes the lineup. I'll play left field or I'll play center or I'll play wherever he wants me to and I'll hit wherever he wants me to.' I think that's the proper response. And I don't think he had anything different. He said 'If I have the pen, it may be different.' That's perfectly fine. It's perfectly fine. That doesn't mean he disagrees with the way I'm doing things or has some issue with me."

    In reality, the question that prompted Harper's response asked how appreciative Harper was of Zimmerman's unwavering willingness to move from position to position. After his return on June 3, Zimmerman started 25 games in left field—a brand new position for him. He since returned to third base even though he made clear on multiple occasions he'd prefer to stay in left.  (Daniel Popper MLB.com, 7/2/14)

  • January 3, 2015: Bryce Harper and Ohio State soccer player Kayla Varner are planning two weddings for Jan. 2-3 in southern California.

    They will be married in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ceremony on Jan. 2 and follow with a traditional wedding on Jan. 3.

    Harper spent three hours going through the measuring process at Stitched in The Cosmopolitan in October 2014. Harper and his wedding party, nicknamed “The Holy 7,” will wear brilliant Navy sharkskin Bespoke tuxedos with Cognac colored leather shoes.

    “He proudly said he was in charge of designing the tuxedos. He dreamed out loud and we matched that,” said Eamon Springall, founder and president of Stitched.

    “The Holy Seven” is a reference to Mickey Mantle’s No. 7. Harper, who favorite player was Mantle, wears 34, which adds up to seven.

     Varner was Nevada’s high school soccer Player of the Year in 2009 and 2011. They both grew up in Henderson.

  • January 2015: Harper submitted an audition to appear on the sit-com  "Modern Family."

  • March 2015: Harper was voted the "most overrated player" in baseball in a poll of his peers conducted by ESPN The Magazine. Harper garnered a whopping 41 percent of the vote, according to The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog. (Editor's note: Then he went out and won the 2015 NL MVP.)

  • Until Harper gains complete control of his on-off switch, the Nationals will have to come to grips with his combustibility quotient. They want him to play with his hair on fire, while simultaneously maintaining control. It can make for a delicate balancing act amid the heat of competition.

    Amid the helmet-flinging and the ejections, Harper has come across as a more engaged presence during the 2015 season. He’s more receptive to constructive criticism, his teammates say, and less immersed in his own private cocoon.He might take the bait from umpires, but he’s resisted the temptation to lash out at keyboard antagonists who have decreed that he’s a punk or a villain.

    “I don’t want this to sound the wrong way. But I’ve always had the spotlight, so it’s never bothered me,” Harper said. “I’ve always been under the microscope, so it’s never been a problem for me. I’ve always just taken it in and said, “OK, this is how it’s going to be.”’

    In the final analysis, even people who wish that Harper would cease with the blowups are only too happy to welcome him to their fantasy rosters. Harper has yet to ascend the podium and graduate from baseball wunderkind to finished product. But in a what-have-you-done-for-us-lately world, he’s doing more than his share. (Jerry Crasnick - Baseball America - 6/19/15)

  • Bryce Harper is a pretty strong dude.  Actually, no, let us rephrase: Bryce Harper is the MLB equivalent of that kid from your Little League days—the one so physically different you'd swear he was actually in college already. He makes baseball bats look like twigs, his swing could provide enough wind power to keep the lights on in D.C. for a decade and he's spent all season raining dingers with reckless disregard for the welfare of upper decks. Even his popups turn into home runs. 

    So, it's only fitting that ESPN would tap Harper for the "Body Issue" of ESPN the Magazine—like fellow NL East star Matt Harvey before him—because a nation demands to know what it's like to be the 22-year-old incarnation of Wolverine. 

    And of course, Bryce being Bryce, he did not disappoint. Some highlights:

    1. He can squat 405 pounds and wants everyone to know it. "I'm proud of that—that's one of my favorites."

    2. He's "about 8 percent body fat right now," just in case you needed to feel guilty about sitting on the couch and reading this. 

    3. After tearing a ligament in his thumb while sliding into third last year, the simple things became a challenge. "I'm trying to do my shirt, and it's like, 'Mom, come help me. I can't get my shirt on.'" Remember to call your mom today, everyone.

    4. Elsewhere in "Bryce Harper's mom is the best": She apparently makes some pretty delicious cookies, and Bryce takes his ice cream sandwich methodology very seriously. "I'll put the cookies inside the microwave for, like, 12 seconds. It's got to be 12 seconds. And then I'll grab the ice cream and I'll make an ice cream sandwich. And I mean it's unbelievable." Again:8 percent body fat

    5. Here's a real thing he said about Robinson Cano: "There's nobody as sexy as Robinson Cano in the box. I had a coach, Chris Sheff, who always told me to be as sexy as you can in the box. And, I mean, if you look at Cano ... that guy has one of the smoothest, best swings I've ever seen." We agree, Bryce.  (Landers - mlb.com - 7/2/15)

  • Harper was elected to start in the 2015 All-Star Game. 

  • July 14, 2015: Don't get Bryce Harper wrong. He loves this All-Star Game thing and harbors future ambitions for the Home Run Derby, despite declining an invitation in 2015. If Harper is asked, he will say no again next year in San Diego, then once more in 2017. "[Stanton] will probably win in Miami," he says of that year. 

    But when the Derby comes to Washington the year after that, Harper plans to participate. "I'd like to do it in D.C.," Harper said.  

    Earlier in the day, Harper lounged inside Great American Ball Park's home clubhouse, at the corner locker that used to belong to Ken Griffey Jr. He spoke of the growing influence of baseball's young superstars, as Griffey once was, and as Harper, Mike Trout and others are now. Trout may have generated grander headlines, homering to lead off the Midsummer Classic, but plenty of scouts and general managers would still take Harper given the choice. (A DiComo - MLB.com - July 15, 2015)

  • In 2015, Baseball America named  Harper their Major League Player of the Year today after the 22-year-old slugger's impressive 9.5 WAR 2015 campaign. 

  • Harper earned the 2015 Hank Aaron Award, representing the best offensive season in the National League.

  • Harper was honored by his peers with the Players Choice Award for National League Outstanding Player.The Players Choice Awards, which the Major League Baseball Players Association started in 1992, are voted on exclusively by the players.

  • In 2015, Harper won the NL MVP.

  • December 17, 2015: Bryce and Kris Bryant were honored with keys to the city of Las Vegas.The NL MVP Award winner and NL Rookie of the Year Award winner are both Las Vegas natives.  Growing up, Harper and Cubs star Kris Bryant, also a Las Vegas native, played together and against each other. The two were first teammates when Bryant was 9 years old (Harper is nine months younger). Last December, Harper and Bryant were reunited in their hometown when they were presented keys to the city. "He always played up with the older guys because he was so good," Bryant said of Harper last year. "He was always so much bigger and so much stronger than everybody and better. He always threw hard and hit the ball farther. I was like, 'Wow, this kid is going to go somewhere.' Obviously, he's here and doing what he's doing. I expected nothing else."

  • Going into the 2016 season:

    Before Bryce Harper added his name to the Major League registry in 2012, there had been only 35 players who ever played in at least 450 games through the conclusion of their respective age-22 seasons. As ranked by OPS+, the top four on that list of 35 don't need much of an introduction. They are Ty Cobb (163 OPS+), Jimmie Foxx (159), Mickey Mantle (148), and Mel Ott (147).

    With Bryce Harper completing his fourth season in 2015, that pre-2012 list of 35 has expanded, and that legendary quartet is now bookended by two active players: the sparkling Mike Trout (who has surpassed Cobb and leads with his blazing 167 OPS+) and Harper and his 143 OPS+.It has sometimes been easy for Harper to get overshadowed by Trout, but Harper has carved a path previously marked by some of the game's goliaths. For example, through age-22:

    • Harper ranks seventh in home runs, behind Hall of Famers Ott, Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson, contemporaries Alex Rodriguez and Trout, and fellow teenage phenom Tony Conigliaro.

    • Harper stands in a tie with Hall of Famer Al Kaline for the ninth most extra-base hits. Those ahead: Ott, Rodriguez, Hall of Famer Ted Williams, Trout, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr., Cesar Cedeno, Foxx, and Vada Pinson. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Harper's stats through the age of 22 match up quite nicely with those of Mickey Mantle, who is considered one of the most dynamic stars in MLB history. Imagine that: Mantle and Harper side by side. But we can do more than imagine.

    Now, as for single-season accomplishments:

    • Through his age-22 season, Mantle's single-season highs included 67 extra-base hits (in 1952), 37 doubles (1952), 27 homers (1954), 291 total bases (1952), a .311 average (1952), a .408 OBP (1954), a .530 slugging mark (1952), a .933 OPS (1954), and a 162 OPS+ (1952);

    • Through his age-22 season, Harper's single-season apexes (all coming in 2015): 81 extra-base hits, 38 two-base hits, 42 homers, 338 total bases, and his .330/.460/.649/1.109, 195 OPS+ line.

    And this is where Harper has a notable edge on Mantle: Through age 22, Harper's season high for wins above replacement is 9.9, which he accomplished in 2015 en route to winning the National League MVP Award and MLB Player of the Year. Mantle's high was 6.9, which also came at the age of 22 in 1954.

    Mantle's 1955 season saw the Yankees' center fielder soar even higher than before. It started a 10-year run in which he would claim three MVP awards and one Triple Crown, average 37 homers and 109 walks per season, and assemble a .314/.443/.614/1.057 slash line (188 OPS+).

    Squint, and Mantle's 10-year destruction of the American League from 1955 through 1964 looks like what Harper did in 2015. Last year, Harper looked an awful like Mantle at his (extended) peak. Let's hope the Nationals' outfielder has similar types of history-making days in his plans. (Roger Schlueter - MLB.com. - Feb.20,2016)

  • It was Career Day at Harney Middle School in Las Vegas.

    A nice lady stands in front of a sixth-grade classroom to discuss professions with the boys and girls seated in front of her. Each student is asked to declare a career, and it's a rundown of the usual suspects: firefighter, doctor, veterinarian. The nice lady's enthusiastic reaction to those last two answers triggers a chain reaction; even the kids who didn't have the slightest clue what they want to be figure they can't go wrong with one of those. Around the room it goes. Doctor. Veterinarian. Sure, why not?

    When it winds around to the biggest kid in the room, Bryce Harper says, "I want to be a professional baseball player."

    "Well," the lady says, a jagged shard of disapproval seeping into her tone, "I think maybe you should pick a new profession. You know that doesn't happen very often."

    Harper looks at her with a stony silence. The words he wants to say are right there. "You've got no clue," he wants to say. But instead he says, "Yeah, well, that's just my dream."

    Chauncey, seated a desk away from Harper, can't let it end there. This woman needs to know. It's an act of kindness, even mercy, on his part.

    "No, you don't understand," Chauncey says. "He really is going to be a professional baseball player. He's the best 12-year-old in the country." (Tim Keown/ ESPN The Magazine /March 2016)

  • Bryce want to change the game. He wants to change the perception of baseball players, to become a single-name icon like LeBron and Beckham and Cam.

    "I don't know much about Bryce," says his new manager, Dusty Baker, "but I know he's one of the hippest kids around."

    Harper wants to elevate his sport's profile through his play, through his fashion, through the charisma of his personality, maybe even through the fascination with the size of the first free agent contract ($400 million? $500 million?) that he'll sign shortly after his 26th birthday. Is this a prodigy's natural urge to innovate or a sign of youthful hubris?

    "Endorsements, fashion—it's something baseball doesn't see," he says. "In soccer, it's Beckham or Ronaldo. In basketball, it's Curry and LeBron. In football, it's Cam. Football and basketball have such good fashion."

    There are impediments endemic to the sport. Everyone knows about Russell Westbrook's unique couture because he's wearing it in an interview room. The baseball player, on the other hand, is interviewed at his locker, often shirtless and sporting a hat head that can ruin even Harper's unique follicle landscaping. As Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman says, "We're uniformed personnel."

    And then there's the larger obstacle: the game's stern code. Case in point: Papelbon vs. Harper. It started when Orioles third baseman Manny Machado hit a home run against the Nationals the previous September and reacted with too much excitement, so Jonathan Papelbon drilled him the next time Machado came to bat, which caused Harper to suggest to reporters that baseball's code is "tired," which led to Papelbon berating and then choking Harper four days later after the closer found his teammate's hustle lacking—a Rube Goldberg display of baseball's grim underside.

    Harper has admitted fault in going to reporters instead of speaking to Papelbon directly ("If I had a problem with Pap, I should have gone up to Pap," he says), and both men say it didn't last beyond that day. But that's not what Harper wants to talk about now.

    "Baseball's tired," he says. "It's a tired sport, because you can't express yourself. You can't do what people in other sports do. I'm not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it's the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that's Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig—there's so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.

    "Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn't care. Because you got him. That's part of the game. It's not the old feeling -- hoorah ... if you pimp a homer, I'm going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot ... I mean -- sorry."

    He stops, looks around. The hell with it, he's all in.

    "If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I'm going to go, 'Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.' That's what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players—Steph Curry, LeBron James. It's exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton—I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It's that flair. The dramatic."

    The question is this: Can Bryce Harper turn that swing into an enzyme to quicken a chemical reaction that will eradicate baseball's old-school thinking—the unwritten rules, The Code, a century and a half of shut-up-and-play -- and create a game in which players respect each other and retain the right to express themselves fully without fear of a fastball to the ear hole?

    It's a big dream. But if not him, who? Mike Trout is Harper's equal as a player, but he's as publicly charismatic as a plate of sand. Harper, in true prodigy fashion, demands attention. In Game 4 of the 2014 division series against the Giants, he stood on deck in the seventh inning with the Giants leading 2-1. A fan in the sunken seats about 10 feet away, holding a glass of red wine, berated Harper with an intensity that couldn't be ignored.

    "Hey, buddy," Harper said. "How's that glass of wine?"

    Harper remembers that the fan sputtered before saying, "You're going to strike out."

    "You know I love playing here, don't you, buddy?"

    Seconds later, Harper drove a fastball into San Francisco Bay. As he touched home plate and turned for the dugout, Harper fixed his eyes on the fan, holding his stare a step or two longer than necessary.

    "He was just devastated about life," Harper says.

    It's the certainty, right? That's why so many people have a problem with Harper. He can be good, but he can't let us know that he knows how good. He can hit that homer, sure, and we can admire it, but it's that stare he gives the wine-drinking fan—the extra-long linger that sinks the needle just a bit deeper—that changes everything. (Tim Keown/ ESPN The Magazine /March 2016)

  • Bryce has "Pop" tattooed on the underside of his right wrist and "Mom" in the same spot on the left. He has his surname and "Luke 1:37" ("For with God nothing shall be impossible") from the Bible, in elongated script down his right side, stretching like taffy from underarm to hip.

    Luke's message in God's Word is a recurring theme: Limits are unwelcome. (Tim Keown - ESPN The Magazine - March 2016)

  • Bryce has a  failure story: It was the summer after his freshman year in high school and he was playing in the Area Code Games in Long Beach, California. He drove the ball all over the field before facing lefty Tyler Skaggs, an eventual first-round pick of the Angels.

    "That's when I got a taste for what a top-level guy is all about," Harper says. "He was lights-out. He struck me out three times, and I walked back to the dugout thinking, 'Wow. These guys are good.'"

  • Prodigies, whether their instrument is a piano or a 34-inch Marucci, share a trait Boston College psychology chair Ellen Winner has dubbed "the rage to master." It's not so much anger as persistence.

    "You can't tear them away," she says. "They're single-minded. They just want to get better and better."

    Bryce's dad is an upright, puglike man who spent decades swinging 300-pound bundles of rebar high above the Vegas Strip.

    "He'd get up at 2, be at work by 4, work 'til 2 in the blazing heat and then walk in the door and say, 'OK, let's go get the hittin' in.' He was never too tired," Bryce says.

    Harper is too arrogant or too young. Or he's too young to be arrogant. He's heard it all.

    "I don't care," he says. "I ... don't ... care. I really don't. As long as I can look in the mirror and say I played as ard as  could, I think people get opinions when they see me play the game and see the hard-nosed, chip-on-my-shoulder kind of thing. That's the way I play. I want to kick your teeth in. And after the game I can walk out of those doors and be the happiest person in the world."

    Bryce has "Pop" tattooed on the underside of his right wrist and "Mom" in the same spot on the left. He has his surname and "Luke 1:37: For with God, nothing shall be impossible" in elongated script down his right side, stretchng like taffy from underarm to hip. God's Word, in Luke, is a recurring theme: Limits are Not Welcome.

    His long-time childhood friends say that Bryce is the same way he's always been. One said, "When we were little, I was scared to death of him. The thing about Bryce was, he did not ever slow it down. A lot of people look at his attitude as negative, that he's cocky or arrogant. My answer to then is, 'Why, because he's good and shows it?'"

    Why pretend? Is false modesty any less distasteful than outward self-assurance? Besides, Harper doesn't have a problem admitting failure. In fact, he relishes it, bringing it up as often as he can, as if pressing his fingertips to a bruise to relive the pain. (Tim Keown - ESPN the Magazine - 3/28/2016)

  • Harper was 0-for-4 at the start of the fall season at the College of Southern Nevada, and he sat on the edge of his bed, a 16-year-old playing against men, and asked himself, 'Can I really do this?' He told his Pop, "I don't know about this. I kind of want to go back to high school."

    "Is that what you really want?" Ron asked. "If it is, we can go back."

    "No, no," Bryce said. "I can't go back."

    The next day he homered in his first at-bat and came home and sat on the same edge of that same bed and told himself, "I think I've got this!"

    Another failure story: One summer in travel ball, he was playing in the Area Code Games in Long Beach, California. One game, he faced Tyler Skaggs, later a first round pick by the Angels.

    "He struck me out three times, and I walked back to the dugout thinking, 'Wow, these guys are good.'"

    When Tim Keown asked Harper, "Was that the last time you faced someone you could say was better than you?"

    Bryce emitted a noise that technically, was a laugh, if defined by the strictest rules of noise clarification, but was probably closer to a scoff or a choke.

    "I will never say somebody's better than me," he says. "I don't think those words will ever come out of my mouth."

    Trust me, Bryce doesn't come off the way he reads in black an white. Honest. Not that he would care if he did, or if you thought he did. Not even a little bit. (Tim Keown - ESPN the Mag - 3/28/16)

  • Bryce received a trio of honors during a special presentation before the Nationals' 2016 home opener against the Marlins. He was presented with his 2015 National League MVP Award and Silver Slugger Award by general manager Mike Rizzo before receiving a key to the city from Mayor Muriel Bowser.

    "Oh, it's incredible, it's always an honor to get the key to the city." said Harper, who also received a key to the city for his hometown Las Vegas. "Truly, I love D.C. and I love to live here, I love playing here. And what an honor to be able to get the key to the city from the mayor and I mean, I can't ... words can't explain how grateful I am for that."

    Harper then proceeded to hammer his second home run of the season in the seventh inning off right-hander Bryan Morris, a 385-foot solo blast into the stands in right field.

    The key to the city was the latest honor, unexpected after his historic breakout season. Upon receiving the trophy for his MVP Award, Harper held it high above his head with a wide smile as he showed the trophy to the crowd, which welcomed him with "MVP, MVP" chants.

    "I think looking back on it, it was definitely something that I'll cherish," Harper said before the presentation. "It's a new year and I'm excited to get back, get going and looking forward to a new year. Hopefully as a team, as a group we can get to where we need to be and we can all stay healthy and play the game [the way we know how]."  (Collier - MLB.com - 4/7/16)

  • Bryce acknowledged that he idolized Barry Bonds as a kid and called him the greatest hitter on the planet because of the way he could swing the bat. Winning seven National League MVP Awards can be convincing to a youngster like Harper.

    "There is nobody better than him in this game," Harper said about Bonds. "It's something I was able to watch when I was younger. I tried to take things from him as far as what he did with is approach. He was the greatest player when I was growing up and watching."

    The respect appears to be mutual from Bonds, who is the hitting coach with the 2016 Marlins. Bonds admired what Harper accomplished during his NL MVP season last year. Last season, for example, a lot of experts were saying that Harper put up numbers similar to what Bonds put up in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    Harper is the only player in Major League Baseball history with at least 42 home runs, 124 walks and 118 runs scored at age 22 or younger, and he is the youngest player in MLB history with at least 42 home runs and 124 walks in a season. Harper put up those numbers without having any protection in the lineup.

    "When you are good, you are good. You don't need anyone behind you," Bonds said about Harper. "Bryce doesn't need any one hitting behind him. If he wants to be impatient and swing at everything, it's going to make it worse on him. But he is patient. He is a great hitter who doesn't need anyone behind him."  Bonds went so far as to call Harper "a beast," but said not to compare Harper to Bonds when it comes to longevity. Harper has to be great a few more years in order to open his eyes.

    "He doesn't compare to me yet. He has a long way to go [in order to be compared] to me. He is not even close to me," Bonds said. "But he is one [heck] of a ballplayer. I watch him, I admire and I look at him and I'm in awe. You don't see it that often. For my eyes to get real big and go, 'Wow,' you have to be something special. ... It's longevity that [I have to be] over-wowed about.  Right now, I'm impressed."

    Harper agrees with Bonds. Harper said he has a long way to go in order to match what Bonds accomplished during his career.  "He has seven MVPs, I don't know how many Gold Gloves. I can go on and on how good he was," Harper said. "He is somebody I looked up to [the moment he went into the batter's box]. Hopefully, I can learn some things from him as well and see what happens."

    If Bonds had to give Harper advice, it would be to stay healthy. According to Bonds, Harper has already set the bar high because of what he accomplished last year.

    "To repeat that every year, people are going to come out and the expectations are going to be high," Bonds said. "Do it for a long time, because it goes by fast. Take care of your body, manage yourself right, stay healthy. Your body is your No. 1 investment. Give these people what they want."  (Ladson - MLB.com - 4/10/16)

  • April 14, 2016:  Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper loves big-stage situations. It happened to be Harper's mother's birthday, and he hit home run No. 100, a grand slam off Julio Teheran in a 6-2 win over the Braves at Nationals Park.

    At 23 years and 181 days old, Harper is the eighth-youngest player in Major League history to reach the mark. Mel Ott, Tony Conigliaro, Eddie Mathews, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Miguel Cabrera and Johnny Bench were younger than Harper when they hit their 100th homer.

    "It was awesome. It was my mom's birthday, so I was able to hit her a homer," Harper said of his blast, tracked by Statcast™ at 425 feet. "Today was definitely huge. I love these fans, I love this organization. It's a thrill to do it in front of the home crowd. I was glad I was able to do it here." (B Ladson - MLB.com - April 14, 2016)

  • Harper seems to be very committed to achieving his maximum, no question about that. His focus is amazing, and he will never stop working hard to achieve it.
  • Bryce is considered a sports-history aficionado, and on May 3, 2016, he went to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City to be presented with the museum's Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston Legacy Awards for being the National League home run leader and NL MVP Award winner in the 2015 season.

    Harper was honored, of course, but he was more enthralled by the history of the Negro Leagues as he toured the building. He respects the players who came before him, and Harper said Negro Leagues players are one of the reasons he is in the game today.

    "Baseball is a great game, it started a long, long time ago," Harper said.

    In addition to marveling over the size Gibson's forearms, Harper also took note of how much fun the players in the Negro Leagues appeared to have while on the diamond.

    "It's truly incredible what they went through and how they went about it," said Harper, who attended the museum on Wednesday with Nationals manager Dusty Baker and some of his teammates, including Gio Gonzalez. "They still loved the game every single day. They did everything they could to make it to that point. [The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum] is the place to see. I had a lot of fun. It's such a great site. I think a lot of people need to go out there and check it out and see what it's all about.

    "Those guys had fun. I think a lot of people could learn a lot of things from them, how they went about it, how they played the game. They didn't take it to the level where they said, 'Oh, my God, the game is so serious.' They really had fun about it. They took it serious as well, but they truly had fun. They really enjoyed what they did. I think a lot of people can learn from them."  (Ladson - MLB.com - 5/3/16)

  • Bryce is sticking with Under Armour for the foreseeable future. The company announced it has signed Harper to a multiyear endorsement extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but ESPN reported the extension was believed to be for 10 years and would be the largest endorsement deal for a baseball player in history.

    "I'm thrilled," Harper said. "Alongside Steph Curry, Cam Newton, Tom Brady, and Jordan Spieth, it's such a great brand. Being able to be alongside those guys, it makes you want to play better and as best as you can, and do everything you can for the fans."

    Harper, 23, was the youngest unanimous MVP in history in 2015 after hitting .330 with 42 home runs and leading the NL in runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging. Harper initially signed with Under Armour in April 2011, 10 months after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 Draft.

    Fellow high-profile baseball players Clayton Kershaw and Buster Posey also are endorsed by Under Armour, which also has reigning NBA MVP Curry, reigning NFL MVP Newton and current PGA Tour Player of the Year Spieth under contract.

    "I try to go about it the right way. I want to try and get kids to play this game," Harper said. "I want to help them dream as they can. To get to the big league level. They can get here. I will try everything I can to help this game succeed and put the Nationals out there. I just try to have fun and enjoy what I do."  (Kruth & Ladson - MLB.com - 5/3/16).

  • May 14-15, 2016: Harper has dropped his appeal, and he served his one-game suspension in the nightcap of the doubleheader against the Marlins. Major League Baseball issued the suspension to Harper for his actions following his ejection in the ninth inning, which included returning to the field. He was allowed to play during the appeal process.

  • Unique behavior: Harper provided some insight when speaking with MLB.com's Jamal Collier after a game late in May 2016. He had cut up his batting gloves (which he had not worn) after hitting a home run.

    "Nah, it's just so people don't sell them on eBay to tell you the truth. I always cut the batting gloves up and they're ripped on the top of the hand and had the bat boy come in and give me another pair and put them on and ripped them again. I guess the baseball gods don't want me to wear the batting gloves right now. I went up and hit a homer and came back and cut 'em up just so guys don't come out of the trash can and grab 'em and sell 'em. It's happened before, so cut 'em up now."  (Garro - MLB.com - 5/26/16)

  • July 2, 2016: A few weeks ago at a gala for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, 16-year-old Kaylan found out that her wish was going to be granted. She was going to spend a day with Bryce Harper, and there was Harper delivering the news to her in a video message. "Oh, I was crying the whole video," she said. "I didn't even hear it."

    The two spent the day together with Harper giving Kaylan a tour of Nationals Park and the team's facilities. She wore a custom No.34 Nationals jersey with her name on the back as the two played catch together and took swings in the batting cage.

    In collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Harper and Kaylan's time together will be featured on ESPN as part of the 10th anniversary of SportsCenter's My Wish Series, beginning July 17. "Best day ever," Kaylan said. "It's hard to recreate."

    Kaylan has been battling a kidney condition since birth and in 2015 she learned that she needed to have a transplant as soon as possible. Her mother, Summer, ended up being the person who gave it to her. Kaylan does have to take 24 pills every day to prevent organ rejection and she undergoes regular scans to monitor her kidney function. The transplant is not a permanent fix and she almost certainly will have future medical complications and could need additional kidney transplants.

    But Kaylan is able to enjoy her life for now and spends it playing varsity high school softball in Gaithersburg, Md. She also gets to Nationals games whenever she has the chance, including Max Scherzer's no-hitter on June 20, 2015. Kaylan named Harper as her favorite player, and the best part of the day was just getting the chance to hang out with him and talk baseball.

    "Kaylan, she's a sweet spirit," Harper said. "I've never done anything like that. Doing something like that, it's a lot of fun. I'm very happy that I was able to do that and the whole team, the whole organization, they really took part in that. I can't thank them enough as well for letting her come in and do what she wanted to do."

    Before Kaylan and her family watched the game against the Reds -- a 9-4, 10-inning loss to the Reds -- she got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Harper, who implored her to throw from the mound.

    "It's been more than I could imagine," Kaylan said about her day. "It's been great." (J Collier - MLB.com - July 3, 2016)

  • In 2016, Bryce has made himself into one of the faces of baseball with his play on the field and actions off the field. He earned the most votes among NL outfielders (2,865,095) as an All Star selection. In 2015, he was the youngest unanimous NL Most Valuable Player in history.

    Harper, 23, will be making his third career All-Star Game start and fourth appearance overall. He joins Gary Carter (four) and Andre Dawson (three) as the only players in franchise history to earn at least three fan selections to the All-Star Game. (Collier - MLB.com - 7/5/16)

           TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2010: The Nationals chose Harper in the first round, out of the College of Southern Nevada.

    August 16, 2010: Just before the midnight deadline, Harper signed a five-year, $9.9 million contract, which includes a $6.25 signing bonus. Mitch Sokol is the scout who signed him.

  • December 15, 2014: Harper and the Nats agreed on a two-year $7.5 million contract, avoiding a scheduled grievance hearing. The MLB Players Association had filed a grievance on Harper's behalf over whether he should be able to void the 2015 terms in the final season of a $9.9 million, five-year contract he signed when drafted.

PERSONAL:
 
  • Harper has a real knack for squaring up the barrel of his bat on the ball. He has faster bat speed than Mark McGwire in his prime.

    He hits lefties and righties, offspeed stuff and hard heat.

  • His power is some of the best ever seen in a prospect, and is rated a legitimate 80 on the 20–80 scouting scale. It is almost entirely a function of his tremendous natural bat speed and the enormous torque he generates. Harper has the ability to easily backspin the ball over the fence to any part of the park.

    But occasionally, Bryce with shift his hands downward and into his body, eliminating leverage. And he does have some extra movement in his swing. Sometimes he jumps out on his front foot too early. But when he stays down and lets the ball travel, he sees pitches well and can drive them hard to the opposite field. (Spring 2012)

  • Bryce's Dad has been his lifelong hitting coach. Up at 2:00 a.m. to lay rebar to help build the Strip in Vegas, Ron Harper, a former high school baseball and football player, spent many afternoons, evenings, and weekends on the field and in the cage with Bryan and Bryce. To further sharpen Bryce's hand-eye coordination, Ron pitched him sunflower seeds, bottle tops, dried red beans—just about anything small that didn't move straight.
  • Harper has quick, strong hands and a superb bat path. But he has had some issues with getting out in front on his swing. His swing pat can be inconsistent.

    Pitches on the outside corner at the knees give him trouble.

  • Bryce is quirky. Prior to entering the batter's box, he rubs his palms in the dirt, spits in his hands and then rubs his palms in the dirt once more. He enters the box and rubs more dirt on his hands. He takes his stance, touches the corners of the plate with his bat, and taps his front toe with the bat barrel.
  • Harper is incredibly intense and aggressive in all phases of the game, including at the plate. Some scouts wonder if he'll hit for a high average because of his propensity to take huge swings with a high, exaggerated leg kick, and jumpiness at the plate. But at other times he shows a much quieter, more efficient swing. Those flashes, coupled with his uncanny hand-eye coordination and impeccable work ethic, give other scouts reason to believe he'll eventually become more selective and produce for average as well as power.

    And in 2011, he improved his two-strike approach as the season progressed.

  • Harper is a throwback. He doesn't even wear batting gloves.
  • Bryce swings a 36-inch, 47-ounce bat, it was reported in February 2011.
  • He flat-out attacks the baseball. He plays aggressively in all aspects of the game.
  • Harper's dedication to preparation runs so deep that he breaks down opposing outfielders the way most hitters break down pitchers. He knows which ones take a bad at bat with them to the field and thus might get a slightly slower break to field a base hit, allowing Harper to know that one of his mad dashes to turn a single into a double isn't the risk it appears to be.  (Tom Verducci-Sports Illustrated-2/25/13)
  • Part of the reason for this success is his ability to observe and analyze opposing starting pitchers.

    "As I've seen him mature from last year to this year (2013), I think he's learned not only more about the competition that he's facing but he's learning more about himself," hitting coach Rick Eckstein said. "He learns what he needs to do and what he needs to focus on and how he processes that information, and uses it for his advantage."

  • 2014 Season: Harper hit .309 on first pitches during the season, which appears as a good average. But the NL average was .336 in 2014. And, Bryce swung at the first pitch 42% of the time.

  • October 8, 2014: With four postseason homers, Bryce became just the fourth player to have four postseason homers before the age of 22. The others are Mickey Mantle, Miguel Cabrera, and Andruw Jones.

  • April 18, 2015: Bryce hit the longest home run of his career (thus far). The dinger was measured by Statcast at 461 feet, topping his previous best: a 444-foot shot on Sept. 8, 2012.

  • May 6, 2015: At 22 years, 202 days, Harper is the youngest player to hit three home runs in a game since Boston's Joe Lahoud (22 years, 53 days) on June 11, 1969. It was Harper's sixth multi-homer game of his career.

  •  At 22 years (plus 204 days) old, Harper is the youngest player in MLB history to hit five home runs in a two-game span, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He surpassed Mark McGwire, who had done so at the age of 23 years, 270 days.

    Harper is the 34th player since 1914 with five homers in a two-game stretch. He's the first to do so for the Nationals' franchise (meaning no one accomplished the feat for Montreal, either). May 7 and 8, 2015.

  • June 8, 2015: Bryce Harper had the best 50 consecutive plate appearances in modern MLB history from late in May until early in June.

  • Bryce's bat is one of baseball's most feared weapons, but  at Nationals Park, the slugger's lumber was just one more observer.  Harper put together a performance unlike any other in Major League history in the Nationals' 15-1 winover the Braves, reaching base four times and scoring four runs, all without an official at-bat.   

    His final batting line—zero at-bats, zero hits, four runs, one RBI and four walks—was truly unique. It's the first time in modern history that a hitter has drawn at least four walks and scored four runs and driven in a run without a hit or an at-bat.  

    "I've got confidence in everybody on our team to get a job done behind me," said Harper, who was removed in the sixth inning of the blowout after watching his walk total jump to 104 for the season. "I'll take my walks when I can. And when they throw the ball over the plate, I'll take my hits, too."

    But if getting on base was a result of Harper's patience, the runs he scored were a product of the players behind him.  "That's why Bryce didn't swing at a pitch and scored four runs," manager Matt Williams said. "There's your proof in the pudding right there."

    Harper joins Ricky Henderson, Joe Morgan, and Larry Doby on an exclusive list of players to go 0-for-0 with at least four runs and walks. 

    "He's taking the steps necessary to make himself the player he wants to be, knowing that he's got to be aggressive in the strike zone," Williams said. "If they throw him one to hit in a situation where he can drive a baseball or get a knock or get on there for us, he's ready to do that."

    The Braves didn't throw him one to hit. Harper saw 20 pitches from three pitchers in his four at-bats, and the bat stayed put on his shoulder for all 20. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the second-most pitches without a swing in a game in the past 10 seasons (Juan Uribe, 21, 2010). (Emert - mlb.com - 9/3/15)

  • September 5, 2015: Harper produced the  500th hit of his Major League career. He became the 30th Major Leaguer to reach that mark through his age-22 season, and only the third to do it since 2000, joining Starlin Castro and Mike Trout.

  • September 16, 2015:  Harper made history when he became just the sixth player to hit 40 home runs in a season before his 23rd birthday.

  • September 22, 2015: Harper had his 117th walk, which broke Adam Dunn's Nats' club record of 116 set in 2009.

  • In 2015, Bryce was named the National League MVP. Harper became the youngest MVP in history.

  • April 14, 2016: Harper's 100th home run was something to remember. At 23 years, 181 days, the Washington Nationals star became the eighth-youngest player in major league history to reach 100 home runs, Elias Sports Bureau research shows.  The youngest to reach 100 home runs was Mel Ott, who got his 100th at 22 years, 132 days in 1931.

    Harper's 100th career home run, also his first grand slam, was calculated at 429 feet.  Since his debut in 2012, he has 21 home runs calculated at 425 feet or longer, including his 429-foot shot. The Major League leader in homers of such length since 2012 is Giancarlo Stanton, with 48.

  • Bryce is the only Major Leaguer whose first grand slam came on his 100th career home run, Elias research shows.

  • What Bryce did in the batter's box in early April 2016 was remarkable.

    Harper was so locked in, maybe teammate Gio Gonzalez said it best, "Let him be Bryce. He knows his body, he knows the way he is. The way he is going out there is unreal. It's next-level stuff."

    Harper's home run in a loss to the Phillies, marked the sixth straight game he had homered in Philadelphia, which tied Hall of Famer Ernie Banks' MLB record for a visiting player, according to Elias. Harper also homered in four consecutive games overall, which was a career high.  (Ladson - MLB.com - 4/17/16)

  • May 8, 2016: Harper matched a single-game record with six walks—three intentionally—including twice during extra innings with two outs, runners on first and second and the game tied at 3. He was also hit by a pitch, making him the first player in the past 100 years to reach base seven times in a game without recording an at-bat.
  • As of the start of the 2017 season, Harper's career Major League stats were: .279 batting average, 121 home runs  with 651 hits and 430 walks, with 334 RBI's in 2,336 at-bats.

BATTING:
 
  • Bryce displayed solid tools behind the plate. His receiving skills were good, as are his hands and agility. He moves around well back there.
  • Harper has an exceptionally strong arm, consistently posting glove-to-glove times of 1.85–1.95 seconds when he was a catcher. His throws have terrific velocity and are on a straight line to second base.

    And he could pick off runners from his knees. He has been clocked off the mound at 96 mph. Because his throws are also accurate, his outfield arm gives him a second 80 tool, in addition to the 80 he gets for his power.

  • In the outfield, he has the arm for right field. He is working at taking more consistent jumps and routes to the ball. He has slightly above average speed.

    Bryce is learning to stay under control when he throws. Entering 2013 spring training, it was no secret that Harper needs to learn to hit the cutoff man more often, something he worked on in spring drills a lot. (Spring 2013)

  • Harper's hustle to back up plays in the outfield is impressive.
  • In 2011, Bryce played all three outfield positions. He learned the importance of staying closed and using his legs when he throws, and he racked up seven assists in just 37 Double-A games while seeing his first action in left field.

  • One reason for shifting Harper from left to right field in 2015, swapping places with Jayson Werth, was Harper's powerful right arm. The ultra-confident 22-year-old certainly doesn't mind if opponents want to test him.

    "Of course you want to get that out," Harper said. "That's huge. But if I can leave [the runner] at first base, that's something that is going to help us out.  But if he goes, he's out. There's no doubt in my mind he's out. We'll see that this year, if guys are going to do that. Time will tell. We'll see."

    Harper's ability to nip potential doubles in the bud is crucial.  When the Mets' Lucas Duda ripped a liner to right, Harper caught a break when the ball one-hopped the wall near the corner and caromed right back to him, and he capitalized with a one-hop rocket of his own, right to second base. Duda, not exactly fleet of foot, never had a chance and was forced out on the next play.

    Two innings later, David Wright hit a liner over the head of second baseman Dan Uggla and into the gap. Harper raced over and cut if off in front of the warning track, then fired a strike to the right side of second. Wright slammed on the brakes and retreated to first, then was doubled off when Duda lined out to the mound.

    "It's great for our team to have him out there," manager Matt Williams said, "and potentially be able to stop those guys going from first to third and have it in the back of the opposing team's mind that, 'Hey, listen, he's out there,' and they think twice about it."  (Simon - mlb.com - 4/9/15)

  • All Major League teams should be warned—never run on Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper. The Giants received a taste of it in the third inning during a 3-1 victory over the Nationals in August 2015.

    After Buster Posey knocked a one-out double, Hunter Pence singled to right field. With the Giants looking to add on to a small lead, Posey was waved around third base, but Harper's throw, tracked at 91.3 miles an hour byStatcast™, nailed the Giants' catcher at the plate.

    It was Harper's fifth-fastest recorded throw and fifth assist during the 2015 season. According to Statcast™, Posey went from second to home in 7.9 seconds, which wasn't fast enough with the Nationals' superstar in right. (Ladson - mlb.com - 8/13/15)

FIELDING:
 
  • Bryce lacks quick first step speed, but it is above-average. He runs well under way. He rates as a 55 or 60 on the 20–80 scouting scale.
  • He is an aggressive baserunner, taking the extra base. He always goes all-out, so his good speed plays up.

    He has an intense nature on the bases (and on defense).

  • On May 6, 2012: Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels intentionally hit Harper with a pitch, and admitted it. And Bryce was not upset.

    "(I'm not mad] at all," Harper said. "He is a great guy, great pitcher, he knows how to pitch, he is an All-Star. It's all good. Hamels threw a good game tonight. You have to give all the props to him. He came out there, he threw the ball well. There is nothing we can do about it."

    After getting drilled, Harper advanced to third on a single by Jayson Werth. Harper was then able to pay Hamels back by stealing home while the pitcher tried to pick off Werth at first base. Harper is the second player in Nationals history to steal home, and the first to do so on a straight steal. Ian Desmond stole home as part of a double steal on April 20, 2011, against the Cardinals.

    Before Bryce did it, the last swipe of home by a teenager occurred 48 years before, when Angels catcher Ed "Spanky" Kirkpatrick stole home against the Kansas City Athletics.

  • In 2015, Bryce stole six bases in 153 games.  Then he met Davey Lopes.  Now in 2016, with the help of the former Dodgers speedster-turned Nationals first-base coach, Harper has swiped a National League-best three bases in five games.

    "It's just the confidence he instills in the guys," Harper said of Lopes during Spring Training 2016. "Every single time you get on base, if you get a good jump and you steal a bag or even if you get thrown out, it's always, 'Keep going.'"  (Putterman - MLB.com - 4/12/16)

RUNNING:
 
  • August 18, 2011: Harper strained his right hamstring while  while running from first to third on Harrisburg Senator teammate Archie Gilbert's double. Harper had to be helped off the field. With two weeks left in the season, his season was over.
  • May 13, 2013: Harper left the field after crashing into the right-field wall. He was listed as day to day with a jammed left shoulder and a cut under his chin that required 11 stitches.

    Bryce is a hustler, and that's one of the many things to love about him. He doesn't hesitate or meditate or otherwise complicate a sport that often rewards instinct, and Harper's instincts are wildly and often wondrously aggressive.

    Of course, it is Harper's infectious zeal that also serves to ruffle some feathers—sometimes even his own. After all, he certainly looked ruffled after his intimate moment with the out-of-town scoreboard at Dodger Stadium.

    Chasing an A.J. Ellis fly ball, Harper ran smack-dab into the chain-link fencing in front of the video board, a la Wile E. Coyote. They asked Harper, once the stars had stopped spinning around his head, if he would do it any differently now that he knew the outcome. If he'd hang back and play the ball off the wall—heck, the Nats were up, 6-0, at the time—rather than run it down.

    "I'm going to play this game the rest of my life and try to play as hard as I can," Harper replied. "That's my life being on the line, trying to kill myself on the field for my team, trying to win the World Series. People can laugh about it all they want, but at the end of the day, I'm going to look at myself at the mirror and say, 'I played this game as hard as I could.'"  (Anthony Castrovince-MLB.com-5/16/13)

  • May 27-July 1, 2013: Harper was on the D.L. with bursitis in his left knee. The knee had bothered him since he crashed into the wall in a May 13 game at the Dodgers.

    An MRI showed no structural or cartilage damage. It was just soft tissue in the bursar that was inflamed. He received cortisone and PRP injections to help with the recovery. The cortisone reduces the inflammation in the knee, while the PRP—a mixture of his own white blood cells spun down and concentrated—reduces the risk of infection.

  • October 23, 2013: Harper underwent successful surgery to repair the bursa in his left knee. Harper hurt the knee on May 13, when he slammed into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium. The procedure was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo. Harper will resume workouts in four to six weeks and was expected to be ready for spring training in 2014.

  • April 27-June 30, 2014: Bryce was on the D.L. with a sprained left thumb. He hurt his hand with a head-first slide into third base after hitting a third-inning, bases-loaded triple in Washington's 11-1 victory. He stayed in the game for an inning before he was replaced.

    "It's part of baseball. You slide into the bag and sometimes you get your fingers," Harper said. "It's a bummer, but hopefully I'll be back soon."

    An MRI showed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb that would sideline him. He underwent surgery to repair the torn ligament.

CAREER INJURY REPORT:
 
 
Last Updated 12/10/2016. All contents © 2000 by Player Profiles. All rights reserved.