Blog Entry

Nats GM: Harper cocky, but not malicious

Posted on: February 14, 2012 11:10 pm
Bryce Harper

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Even before he was picked first overall in the 2010 draft, the Nationals' Bryce Harper had a reputation of rubbing people the wrong way. Harper's talent has never, ever been questioned, but his demeanor and attitude have been.

I saw it last year in a Class A game in Lexington, Ky., where he nearly started a fight by trying to bowl over a catcher despite having no chance of dislodging the ball, only to back down quickly. He famously blew a kiss at a pitcher after homering off of him last season, drawing scorn from many. Others have scoffed at his use of eye black and even the way he wears his hat -- and for Pete's sake, he named his dog "Swag." And then there's his Twitter account.

Bryce Harper
Last week Harper told's Bill Ladson that he wanted to be a Joe Namath-type athlete off the field.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the team understands Harper is a typical 19-year-old, but what to impress upon him that anything he does won't be treated like the actions or words of a typical 19-year-old. The Nationals, Rizzo told the Washington Post, have counseled Harper and tried to impress upon him his role in the organization.

Rizzo also said, he doesn't think Harper's a bad kid, "there's not a malicious bone in his body. Now, there's a cocky bone in there," Rizzo told the Post's Jason Reid. "And there's an ego bone. And there are other bones … but there's not a malicious bone in his body."

Nationals manager Davey Johnson is reportedly pushing for Harper to make the team's opening-day roster, but Rizzo seems to think Harper has development left beyond his production on the field.

"He's going to make it to the big leagues when I realize that, developmentally, he's ready to play in the big leagues," Rizzo told the Post. "That's physically, that's emotionally and that's psychologically."

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Since: Feb 18, 2012
Posted on: February 18, 2012 10:26 am

Nats GM: Harper cocky, but not malicious

Harper can hit the leather off the ball, but last year he was terrible playing the outfield. Don't dare let him get on base. He was poor of playing the mind game with the pitcher.. I have seen players become a big fish in a small pond (minor league), but put them in a big lake (major league), and they choke. I'm not saying he will choke, but someone needs to jerk his chain and tell him he is not the God of basball.

Since: Oct 9, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Nats GM: Harper cocky, but not malicious

With all due respect bob, I think you are assuming much.  Most scouts had him as an outfielder all along.  He was a good highschool catcher but once drafted, he has only played the outfield.  I don't recall any moment where the Nats were "jerking him around."  They have given him looks from each outfield position but that was to get him used to seeing how the ball comes off the bat in different spots.  The plan all along was to have him play RF.  If you followed the Nats, you would have noticed how last season Jason Werth played a lot of innings in CF to allow a future spot for Harper.  And while Harper may have gone 0-5 in the game you saw, he batted .318 with 14 homers in about 70 Single-A games.  Also, you watched him play the outfield in the first few games of his career.  I looked it up, and you went to the game on May 16 last year, the only game against the Blue Claws Harper went 0-5.  You are talking about 40 games into his pro career.  It was obvious that he wasn't ready for the bigs then because he spent the entire season in A and AA.  Making an assumption about a player from one bad game in his first few as a minor leaguer means little to the success of his career.  But that's just my opinion.

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2012 9:57 am

Nats GM: Harper cocky, but not malicious

I saw Harper play against the Phil's Blue Claws last year. He went 0-5 and was completely lost in right field. There was a shot in the gap and he didn't budge an inch until the ball hit the ground between him and the center fielder.

I read about this phenom when he was in high school throwing 100 MPH fast balls and hitting tape meaure home runs. Then he was placed at catcher with his great arm to throw out runners and now he's in right field.
It appears the Nationals are jerking him around and don't know what to do wiht him.

Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 9:54 am

Nats GM: Harper cocky, but not malicious

Why would  anyone criticize the use of eye black?

Since: May 7, 2010
Posted on: February 15, 2012 3:02 am

Nats GM: Harper cocky, but not malicious

I wonder if this kid will get hie act together in the majors. He could just implode with all the fame too much too soon. Hope he gets good coaching.

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