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Bryce Harper second player ever with two 20-homer seasons before turning 21

Sep 20, 2013, 11:04 AM EDT

Bryce Harper AP

Bryce Harper supplied all of the offense for the Nationals last night with a three-run home run off Henderson Alvarez in the bottom of the first inning. He joined some exclusive company in the process.

After hitting 22 home runs as a 19-year-old rookie last season, Harper now has 20 home runs in his age-20 season. Chase Hughes of notes that he’s just the second player ever to have two 20-homer seasons before turning 21 years old, joining former Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro (1964-1965).

Harper also has the third-most home runs (42) before his 21st birthday. Conigliaro is second all-time with 56 while Hall of Famer Mel Ott is first with 61. Harper might have been able to make a run at those two if he wasn’t dealing with nagging injuries for most of the season, but he’s still doing some very special things at a young age.

  1. echech88 - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Stud. Really hope Trout, Harper, Machado, Fernandez etc. all stay clean because this new crop of superstars is a lot of fun.

    • coloradogolfcoupons - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:05 PM

      Trout didn’t stay clean . Last winter he ate 5 cheeseburgers every day and gained 35 pounds. That’s his story, and it’s sticking to his ribs

  2. natstowngreg - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Tony Conigliaro. One of the great “what might have been” stories in baseball history.

    • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Hope Harper doesn’t go down that same road.

      • Jack Marshall - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        You mean get hit in the face with a pitch, make a successful comeback and hit 30 homers with a hole his eye, have more vision problems, retire, make another ML comeback as a DH at 30, then have a massive heart attack leaving him an invalid at 35?

        I think Harper can probably avoid that “road.”

      • natstowngreg - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        The point of reference isn’t Conigliaro, but Pete Reiser. Won the 1941 NL batting championship at age 22. Ran into an outfield wall in 1942 and was never the same player.

      • yahmule - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        He ran into a few.

      • weaselpuppy - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        Al Kaline’s batting crown at age 20. That’s one that likely isn’t getting broken.

      • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        @Jack Marshall: Actually I meant his career being cut down and ultimately finished by injuries, but yeah I got your point.

  3. apkyletexas - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    That’s because most teams would have allowed him time to learn his craft and mature in the minor leagues. Instead of averaging .276 his first two major league seasons, he could have been brought up a bit older with better plate discipline, and been a consistent .300 hitter right out of the gate.

    • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Yeah.. because right now he’s hurting his team so much, right?

      • apkyletexas - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        No, when he hurt them was in May-July, when he injured himself running into walls, missed the month of June and batted .235 the rest of the time, and the Nats went 39-42 and fell out of the Eastern division race.

        But, I should modify my earlier statement – he needed more time in the minors to learn plate discipline AND fielding discipline.

    • voteforno6 - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Really? Pretty much any team will take .276 AVG with a .849 OPS from any player. That he did it before the age of 21 is a bonus.

      • apkyletexas - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Will he ever give them two straight years like Andrew McCutchen with a .325 BA and OPS above .925?

        Not at this rate. Should have stayed and learned all he could in the minors.

      • someguyinva - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Well, he’s got five years to duplicate McCutchen’s age 25 and 26 seasons, now doesn’t he? He’s put up better numbers at 20 than McCutchen did at 22, 23, or 24.

    • someguyinva - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      “With better plate discipline”

      His OBP this year is .383, against a BA of .285; he’s not getting on base just due to hits or HBP.

      Also, his OPS is .892. Both his OBP and his OPS will be top ten in the NL once he gets another 36 plate appearances.

      Methinks he was brought up at the right time.

      • apkyletexas - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        He now has a total of 11 HR’s and 37 RBI’s since April.

        I’m not impressed.

      • someguyinva - Sep 20, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        Oh well.

    • zzalapski - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      That’s nonsensical grousing. Next thing you’ll say is that Puig’s rookie season isn’t impressive because it’s not as good as Mike Trout’s.

      My bad, you already said that.

      • cur68 - Sep 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        I’m not sure what that dude’s problem is, but you can bank on “apkyletexas” undervaluing excellent rookies not named Mike Trout. One can only assume Trout escapes because even “apkyletexas” couldn’t sell that one. Either that or he’s really Mike Trout . . . or Mike Scioscia! It MUST be Scioscia! Only the Sciosiapath would get on here and claim Harper needed more time hitting inferior pitching.

      • apkyletexas - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:38 PM

        Yasiel is batting .246 for the month of September. Don’t even talk about Trout. In fact, don’t even talk about Harper – at least he shows up in September.

      • apkyletexas - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        And yes – I am secretly Mike Scoscia by the way – you found me out.

  4. tastybasslines - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    When I opened this article, I thought for sure the second one was going to be Ken Griffey Jr…

    • Jack Marshall - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      How quickly they forget….

  5. chiadam - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Mike Rizzo should have shut him down at 19 homers.

  6. nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    So if Harper is unable to hit two more HR this year, will we hear from folks wondering why the interest in someone whose HR totals have dropped every year of his career?

    • asimonetti88 - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      yes, I mean, he hasn’t even played as well as Mike Trout did, right?

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