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Bryce Harper is destroying the Arizona Fall League

Nov 2, 2011, 11:34 AM EST

harper futures getty Getty Images

We mock his immaturity, but we must marvel at his abilities: Bryce Harper is playing in the Arizona Fall League, and he’s basically toying with it:  He was was 2-4 with a homer and two RBI yesterday and, in the last eight games, he’s hit five homers and 17 RBI.

There are several players with better overall numbers on the AFL leader board right now, but they’re all at least a year — and in many cases several years — older than Harper. And they didn’t have a nearly .900 OPS across high-A and double-A ball at age 18 like Harper did in 2011.

  1. shawnuel - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    What was once considered borderline hyperbole, regarding Harper, is almost starting to look like understatement now. Provided he doesn’t self-destruct, his career is going to be very fun to watch as it unfolds.

  2. purnellmeagrejr - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Maybe one day they’ll give him “The Albert Belle Award” for epitomizing surliness and power.

  3. cur68 - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    While recovering from surgery, perhaps Josh Hamilton could go have a word with young Bryce? Y’know, just a cautionary tale kind of thing? How to handle the fame? Talk to various deities appropriately, cope with public scrutiny when you do etc?

    If anyone has any clout that reads these sports blogs (and if they don’t read them, they should. We commenters are geniuses) this should be made to happen. Guys like Hamilton have not only success to talk about handling but also public perception, coping with media scrutiny, and dealing with people trying to goad you from the stands. He & Harper should really sit down for a good chin wag.

    • alang3131982 - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      What exactly do Harper and Hamilton have in common, aside from being young phenoms (which many players have been).

      I have never heard anything about Harper and the kind of demons Josh Hamilton has had. Just because he is a perceived to be a jerk publicly doesnt mean he needs mentoring from a former #1 pick who had his troubles. If Harper is good at his job and avoids breaking the law, he’ll be fine…there is a long history of brash young ball players who turned out alright

      • cur68 - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        “I have never heard anything about Harper and the kind of demons Josh Hamilton has had”; good. What I’m suggesting is a preventative, not a cure. Prevention is better than cure, by a country mile.

        But just because you haven’t heard anything about an 18 year old doesn’t mean you wont when he’s 21. Hamilton famously disintegrated when he was in his early 20’s. Perhaps if one of his peers had spoken to him from a position of knowledge and experience he’d have had a different life? That’s not so far fetched at all.

        As to their similarities, do I need to spell it out?
        Well then, here it is,
        Famous at a young age

        A lot of money at a young age

        A lot of success at a young age

        A lot of media scrutiny

        See Haprper’s “Tebow” & Hamilton’s “God told me I’d Homer”: 1 in jest and the other in all seriousness. A lesson for each perhaps.

        Who else can you alang(etc) think of that has the a better cautionary tale, a better parallel at the same age? Perhaps he should go talk to some ‘guidance counselor’? A guy without the same frame of reference perhaps?

        Harper’s taking a bit of a basting for how he’s perceived by the public. He is no doubt listening to all kinds of sycophants telling him how great he is. You got a better person than Hamilton for how to deal with that and where you might end up if you buy into it?

        What precisely is wrong with a person like Hamilton, speaking to a person like Harper? A kid, who at 18 is more like the 18 year old Hamilton, than just about any other person I can think of? I realize I am asking you to carry out a bit of research and look at someone from the perspective of how they were perceived in the year 2000, but I think you have access to the interwebs. It’s not that hard…

      • okobojicat - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        @cur68

        Not saying you’re wrong. Harper could use a good talking to. However, Hamilton was into drugs in high school and it went downhill fast once he had the money to get whatever he wanted.

        Harper is from a pretty tight-nit, conservative family and has a very different support structure than Hamilton. I don’t think its a great fit.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    I’m kinda glad the kid is a jerk. Hopefully he will remain as phenomenal as he is now so MLB can’t get rid of him. Baseball needs some good villains who are just villains because they want to be, as opposed to all of the PED pariahs we have had in recent years. I’d love to see him blow a kiss at Halladay after taking him deep, or mocking other players’ home run antics.

    Burn the unwritten rule book, kid. Just make sure your performance can back it all up.

    • bklynbaseball - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      Why is that necessary? Why does he have to be a jerk? Why does baseball need villains? It’s not WWE. What’s so bad about behaving like a gentleman? What’s wrong with good sportsmanship? In case you haven’t noticed, people being jerks has a lot to do with why things are so f**ked up in this country

  5. natstowngreg - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    My first reaction was, oh great, another post trashing Bryce Harper. Nice to see something that’s actually about his performance.

    Seems his most likely track would be to return to Harrisburg and conquer the AA level, at least hitting-wise. Also, to improve his outfield play and baserunning. Meanwhile, the Bryce Harper Watch will begin, demanding immediate MLB call-up based just on his hitting potential.

  6. bklynbaseball - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    It will be very interesting to see how he responds to adversity. And you can count on it – he will face adversity. Nothing reveals a person’s character like an 0 for 15; 2 for 35; 5 for his last 50 slump. Everyone goes through them. Then, we will get a look at what he’s REALLY made of. I hope for his sake that he’s taken some of the criticism to heart and learned a little humility. We’ll soon see.

  7. baseballisboring - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Yeah, let’s mock the “immaturity” of a 19 year old kid doing some goofy pose. I’ve seen very little evidence of Harper actually being a douche, it’s just one of those narratives everyone claims to hate so much.

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