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Bryce Harper hit his first Triple-A homer

Apr 23, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper had a big Triple-A debut, going 2-for-4 with a stolen base, but then the 19-year-old top prospect went into a prolonged slump that left him hitting around .200 with a .600 OPS.

That also included zero homers in 16 total games, but Harper finally went deep yesterday for the first time at Triple-A, smacking a solo shot off Mets prospect Jeurys Familia in his 61st at-bat of the season.

Harper finished last season hitting .256 with a .724 OPS in 37 games at Double-A and is now hitting .234 with a .675 OPS in 17 games at Triple-A, which shows how silly any calls were for the Nationals to rush him to the majors already.

He remains an elite prospect, perhaps the best in baseball, but 19 is still 19 and now that the Nationals are winning hopefully Harper’s timetable won’t be hurried by anything other than his performance.

  1. thomas2727 - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Harper struggling at AAA reminds me of how historically dominant Dwight Gooden was as a 19 year old in 1984.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Yeah, there have been some absurd seasons put up by 19/20 year olds (Arod, Griffey, Gooden just to name a few). Was wondering how Doc didn’t get the CY as well in 1984 over Sutcliffe, then remembered the Cubs won the division that year. sigh….

      • jwbiii - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        That and Sutcliffe went 16-1 with the Cubs. It was all about the wins back then.

      • dowhatifeellike - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        Palmer too.

  2. ptfu - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Gleeman wrote this article mostly as an excuse to re-post that picture :-)

    • cur68 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:45 AM

      I do not blame him one bit. That shot is an instant classic.

  3. randygnyc - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Speaking of first homeruns, has Albert Pujols hit his yet? Especially if you figure that the angels are paying him approximately a million dollars per forecasted HR.

  4. arungupta27 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    It’s days like this where I really miss Bryce Harper’s tweets. RIP @BHarper3407

  5. randomdigits - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    So a guy in AAA hitting a home run in his 61st at bat is now news?

    If you want to cover folks in the minors why haven’t you mentioned Dylan Bundy’s start so far? In three starts he is 9 IP 0 Hits 1 BB 15 K’s.

    Fangraphs wrote up his first two starts and BA also wrote up his second.

    Then again you don’t have a picture of him with a baseball in his mouth on file…

    • natstowngreg - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Bryce Harper is one of the most-hyped baseball prospects ever. Dylan Bundy isn’t. It will be hard for Harper to get any more attention that he’s gotten already. Bundy will get more attention as he rises in the minors.

  6. Aaron Gleeman - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    So a guy in AAA hitting a home run in his 61st at bat is now news? If you want to cover folks in the minors why haven’t you mentioned Dylan Bundy’s start so far?

    Uh, we did:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/18/2011-first-rounder-dylan-bundy-finally-allows-a-baserunner/

    • randomdigits - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Egg on my face…

  7. bloodysock - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    He looks a little like Papelbon in that photo. Another guy who needs a baseball shoved in his pie hole.

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