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Bryce Harper hit a mammoth walk-off homer last night

Aug 13, 2011, 10:25 AM EST

Bryce Harper

We don’t get to say this very often, but last night was a pretty good night to be a Nationals fan. No joke.

In addition to the major league club defeating the first-place Phillies, Stephen Strasburg tossed three shutout innings in his second minor league rehab start and Bryce Harper slugged a walk-off home run for Double-A Harrisburg.

Just calling it a walk-off home run would just be underselling it, though. Harper crushed it well beyond the batter’s eye in straightaway center field. No word on the exact distance, but one Senators’ coach estimates it traveled 480 feet.

It’s nice to link to a video of Harper doing something positive on the baseball field, although I can’t help but hold my breath every time someone jumps on home plate during a walkoff celebration. Thanks a lot, Kendrys Morales.

Check out the video of the home run, courtesy of CSNWashington.com.

  1. cur68 - Aug 13, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    Wow. There’s that maturity, eh? That thing’s in low Earth orbit I think.

    No word on if he was using that oversized heavy bat of his is there?

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 13, 2011 at 10:31 AM

      Ruth used a 54 ounce bat that makes Harper’s look like a toothpick. Not sure I understand why the size of his bat makes a difference. It’s all preference.

      • cur68 - Aug 13, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        Actually I was just idly speculating because he’s been known to swing one that looks like a Fred Flintstone club in practice.

        My over all point is (I do have a point, you see, I’m not JUST sleepy and cranky after a short night, you know); he sure got all the lumber he could on that one, eh? Thunder-stick go BOOM….

      • natstowngreg - Aug 13, 2011 at 10:47 AM

        I believe cur is referring to the You Tube clip of Harper taking BP with a 67-ounce bat.

      • paperlions - Aug 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        Physics, the greater the mass of the bat swung at the same speed will convey greater force to the object it strikes. In other words, if swing speed is maintained constant, a batted ball struck by a heavier bat will travel farther/faster. Therefore, hitters should use the heaviest bat they can swing and maintain bat speed.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 13, 2011 at 12:33 PM

        I’ve also heard the opposite theory that the lighter the bat, bat speed can be generated quicker through the plate, resulting in greater power due to the increased speed. The old bat weight debate has been going on forever.

      • Roger Moore - Aug 13, 2011 at 1:49 PM

        I’m not sure where you get the 54 ounces. The only quote I’ve heard on Ruth’s bat is from Babe Ruth’s Own Book of Baseball, where he mentions using a 47 ounce bat (in 1927) and moving to a lighter bat as he got older. And the reason Ruth’s bat was heavier was not so much because it was bigger as because he used one made of hickory, which is denser than ash or maple.

        The question of bat weight vs power is a complex one. A heavier bat is better at a given bat speed, but a lighter bat lets you swing faster. There’s some question about how much faster the light bat is than a heavier one, so which one has an advantage in power is at least a little bit open. The thing that has driven batters to lighter bats is that the faster swing gives them a fraction of a second longer to judge the pitch, which increases their chances of making good contact (or holding up on a bad pitch). The advantage of making better contact with a light bat trumps the theoretical power advantage of a heavier bat.

      • paperlions - Aug 13, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        It isn’t a debate Biceps, mass * acceleration = force. There is a limit to how fast you can swing a bat no matter how little it weighs, to maximize power all you to do is figure out a players bat speed for different weights of bats and find:

        1) the point at which loss of speed has a greater negative effect than the increase in bat mass

        or

        2) the point at which a players bat speed starts to decline because of the added mass.

        There are additional factors such as bat control and bat length, because the end of the bat is moving much more quickly than the handle…but in general, to maximize power, a player should use as heavy and long a bat as he can swing without loss of bat speed and control.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 13, 2011 at 2:49 PM

        Guys, you are making this more complicated than it really is. Put the science away for a second. When I played baseball in high school, I used both a 32 and 34 ounce bat. I know for a fact that I was able to hit the ball harder and further using a 32 bat as opposed to a 34. Why? Because I was able to generate more bat speed and could follow through the zone faster and it personally worked for me. I had other guys tell me that they felt better with a 34 and thought they drove the ball harder and further with a 34. And I am not a small guy at 6-2′. So, it always comes down to preference.

      • mgflolox - Aug 14, 2011 at 3:46 AM

        I’m not a physics major,but I will note that a bat speed study done by Ray DeMarini concerning softball players, showed that there is a deceleration effect that takes place after contact. Basically, that means that some players are more able to maintain bat speed after contact. In other words “hitting through the ball”, or, if you prefer, having a “heavy swing”. I’ve always wondered if mass has something to do with that.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Aug 14, 2011 at 8:09 AM

        In reference to bat size I’ve always heard it’s not the meat it’s the motion.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 14, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        biceps, nobody’s disagreeing. If a slightly lighter bat helps you swing faster, then you will get more power. PL’s point was that if one could swing that 34 oz bat just as fast as the 32 oz bat, the 34 oz bat will generate more power. Different players react differently. Albert Pujols can swing a fairly heavy bat and still maintain incredibly bat speed and control. Nick Punto could swing a wiffle ball bat and still isn’t going to generate any power with it. The point is it’s a tradeoff. You can trial-and-error your way to the best bat weight for you, but there is a formula that can give you the optimal size.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Aug 13, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    What a shot. This kid has major power. You never see that kind of power from an 18 year old kid. Amazing.

  3. natstowngreg - Aug 13, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    Not just beating the Phillies, but beating Cole Hamels after 10 kosses to him. We can’t think of contending in the next season or 2 until the Nats can beat the Fightins’ at least some of the time.

    This season has been about improving and positioning for the future. Judging against that expectation, IMHO, it’s been successful.

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 13, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      Well, even the Phillies have to lose a game every once in a while. I’m glad you are enjoying the Nats win last night. The Nats realistically will not be able to contend until probably the 2014 season if they do it right.

      • Lukehart80 - Aug 13, 2011 at 11:32 AM

        2014, just in-time for the Phillies to be over the hill and out of contention!

      • natstowngreg - Aug 13, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        You never know when a team will take off and become a contender. IMHO, the team’s progress suggests 2013, but there are no guarantees.

        Getting from just under .500 (where the Nats are now) to contention involves getting a couple more bats, a couple more starting arms, and defense in CF. Strasburg and Harper would be two of the needed pieces.

  4. luckynucky - Aug 13, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Now if only his maturity catches up to that homer…..

  5. 1historian - Aug 13, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Lucky – the kid is 18 years old.

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