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Slumping Bryce Harper “trying to find some mellowness”

Aug 1, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

Bryce Harper has come back down to earth following a great start to his career, hitting just .214 with a .594 OPS in his last 40 games and .171 since the All-Star break.

His overall OPS is in danger of dipping below .750 for the first time since May 19 and the 19-year-old told James Wagner of the Washington Post that he’s searching for answers:

I’m all over the place right now. So I’m trying to find some mellowness at the plate and in the box. Just trying to work at it everyday and try to take something good from every at-bat and take something good from every game.

It’s certainly not surprising that a 19-year-old rookie is going through an extended slump after a strong start and even with his overall numbers declining rapidly Harper is still having a historic season for someone his age.

Among all the 19-year-olds in baseball history to log at least 300 plate appearances in a season Harper’s current .758 OPS ranks sixth-best behind Met Ott, Tony Conigliaro, Mickey Mantle, Cesar Cedeno, and Freddie Lindstrom. And directly in front of Edgar Renteria, Ty Cobb, and Ken Griffey Jr.

  1. nategearhart - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Well folks, we got what we wanted. Harper’s giving the canned responses and showing no sign of personality whatsoever.
    NOT saying I want him to be a jerk. But I don’t want him to be a robot or worse, Derek Jeter, either.

    • sabatimus - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      What do the canned responses have to do with Harper’s true personality? Media asked canned questions as a matter of course, and they also ask “clown” questions, speaking of that personality that you think Harper doesn’t have.

      As far as the hitting goes, it could be a variety of factors, but maybe pitchers have seen him enough to know his weaknesses and are pitching him accordingly. Harper will need to adjust.

  2. tfbuckfutter - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Maybe he should hit himself in the head with a bat again.

    It worked well last time.

  3. SmackSaw - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    1) We gotta play ’em one day at a time.

    2) I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ballclub.

    3) I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.

    • diehardcubbiefan4life - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Best movie ever.

    • philliesblow - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometime it rains. Think about that.

  4. number42is1 - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Mellowness? Timmy can probably help with it.

  5. Utley's Hair - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Well, maybe Hamels can help out tomorrow.

  6. napoleonblownapart6887 - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    On these very boards a few weeks ago, I got HAMMERED by people after I cautioned everyone to temper their excitement about Harper.I mentioned that that this guy had a lot of games in front of him this year, as well as over the rest of his career and that there would be plenty of time to judge him later on.

    Now I know what you’re thinking… look at this a-hole, back to gloat and say “I told you so.” Well that is not the case. I’m actually hear to say the exact same thing: the guy is having a slump, and that happens. There will be plenty of time to judge him when the season is over and years into his career. But for now, hopefully we can dispense with the “OMG THIS GUY IS THE NEXT WILLY MAYS!” But also let’s not replace it with talk of how, he should be sent down to develop, or he can’t put it together for a full season, or now pitchers have a book on him, etc.

    • southcapitolstreet - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      I still think he’s the next Willie Mays

    • raybrower - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      Hey guys, Bryce Harper is going to wear a hat while playing the field and he’s going to both breathe in and breathe out some air. He might even use a baseball bat while in the batters box in order to try to hit a ball. Which is fine and good but let’s not call him the next Betty White. Because he’s a baseball player and she is not. Okay, go get ’em guys.

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        My point is valid – even if you are too dimwitted to see it.

        People saw Bryce play for 2 months and were ready to call him the next Willie Mays. People saw him play for the next month and a half and are wondering, “what may be wrong with the kid?” Too early to say that he’s Willie Mays, too early to say that there’s actually anything wrong with him. If that seems wishy-washy to you that’s fine, but if anyone believes that they can say with certainty where Bryce Harper is going to fall out as a player then they’re just being foolish. There’s no reason to try to assign labels to a kid this early on in his career, no matter what he did in JuCo or in the minors… just let him go out there and, as you so eloquently put it, “use a baseball bat while in the batters box in order to try to hit a ball,” and dispense with trying to characterize who the kid is going to be or what he may not be yet. Just let him go play ball.

  7. stex52 - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Give the kid a break. The longer he is up the better I like him. He is in the toughest job in sports at a time in his life when most of us were running around, drinking, and trying not to flunk out of freshman year.

    Admire him for where he is now, and imagine what he may be at age 25.

  8. number42is1 - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    One whole hour and not a single “clown” reference. We have all grown up a bit

    • cardiovascularendurance - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      That’s a clown comment, bro.

  9. mungman69 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Hey pb: that’s so sad. Think about that.

  10. buddysguys - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    trout is laughing and laughing….

  11. dkphilly1122 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    He’s still a kid…..he’s gonna have ups and downs. He’s a very talented baseball player, but will have his struggles. As a Phillies fan I love Harper and his energy for the game like Trout in the AL and being he’s from Jersey as well doesn’t hurt Trout. Either way, they’re both young and have long careers ahead of them with a ton of ups and downs, but there upsides are endless. I thought Harper got hurt bad on the Rollins inside the parker, the way he got caught on the fence it didn’t look too good.

  12. btrimmer1 - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Todd Frazier for rookie of the year.

  13. xmatt0926x - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    He has to make his adjustments. Look at Heyward in Atlanta. Before Harper, he was the next great thing a couple seasons ago in spring training. You heard all the same stuff about “the ball just comes off his bat differently”. Then his weaknesses get spotted and major league pitchers will live in those areas until these guys adjust, if they can. Anything they get out of him this year is kind of a bonus.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      I think Heyward’s problems are more the product of a shoulder that just isn’t the same after getting injured.

  14. poseyfan28 - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    He is so overrated.

  15. realgone2 - Aug 2, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    I wonder how ESPN and Fox will spin this? They have been pushing this guy since he was drafted. Trying to generate a story.

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