Because the calendar still reads February, we're obligated to issue the same caveat that is uttered when discussing just about any player this time of the year: You can't read too much into spring training stats.
OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can turn to the real point of this: Bryce Harper has looked fantastic so far this spring, and there's no reason to think he's going to slow down anytime soon.
With a 3-for-3, two-double performance today in the Nationals' 9-5 loss to the Braves, the second-year, outfielder raised his Grapefruit League batting average to .750 (6-for-8). He's hitting the ball with authority. He's hustling like no one else and taking extra bases at will. And he's rifling throws to the plate from his new regular position in left field.
In other words, Harper is performing this spring exactly as he did throughout his Rookie of the Year campaign.
He doesn't need to do this. Harper isn't trying to convince team officials he deserves a spot on the Opening Day roster like he did the previous two springs. His job is as secure as anyone's on the club, and more and more it's looking like he's going to hit third in Davey Johnson's lineup, in between Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman.
But Harper has never known any way to play baseball other than at full-speed. Or perhaps even full-speed-and-a-half. So that's how he's going to continue playing for the next five weeks before the bell rings for good.
"I feel good going into camp this year, and it's good to know that [Johnson] has already pretty much said: 'You're going to be my everyday left fielder,'" Harper told reporters after today's game. "So, I like that feeling going into every single game.
Red-hot Harper doesn't need a break
Nats Insider | Feb 26