Author Topic: Follow the Prospects: Bryan Harper, P  (Read 9940 times)

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Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Follow the Prospects: Bryan Harper, P
« Reply #50: July 24, 2017, 05:36:30 PM »

Nice story about his career so far.

Last August, the Syracuse Chiefs weren’t very good, but their left-handed reliever — a 6-foot-5, 205-pound 26-year-old who had learned to pitch — made heads turn. He threw 20 games at Harrisburg before getting promoted to Class AAA and the Nationals’ top affiliate because his 1.50 ERA and 0.79 WHIP warranted such a move. September was approaching, and in baseball, September doesn’t just mean Labor Day and back to school, it means major league rosters expand to 40, and guys who have never been to the show get the call.
With Syracuse playing Aug. 6 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Harper had allowed an earned run in just three of his 19 appearances. His ERA was 2.70. His velocity sat at 92-93 mph. Opposing hitters had a .192 average against him. When Syracuse’s Lucas Giolito hit Scranton’s Aaron Judge with a pitch in the fourth, Harper came on in relief and struck out Ike Davis to get out of the inning. He allowed a pair of doubles in the fifth, and with two outs, he threw a fastball.

“Wait,” he thought. “That didn’t feel right.”

It didn’t hurt, per se, and he didn’t hear anything, and he was able to reach back and coax another fastball out of his body, which Eddy Rodriguez swung and missed. He went back to the dugout and the coaching staff told him good job; he was done for the day. Harper went to do his postgame work, and his arm tightened. He went in the next day to throw, and he couldn’t long-toss past 90 feet. He called Bryce.

“Bro,” he said, “I can’t pick up my arm.”

That summer, Bryce was going through his own issues — something was wrong with him physically, and it sapped his power and suppressed his average. By comparison, those are first-world problems. The Nats shut down Bryan Harper. A week later, he tried to throw again, but couldn’t. He went to Florida, had an MRI exam, some platelet-rich plasma treatments. He tried to put off the knife, but by November, there was no avoiding those three words pitchers dread: Tommy John surgery.

“This injury, it gave it that extra little mmph: ‘I’ve got 16 months to get better, and I’m going to be the best I can,’ ” Bryce Harper said. “I want to be in big league camp and I’m going to take full advantage of that.”

He doesn’t believe he needs to throw any harder. He doesn’t believe he needs to pitch any differently. “In my opinion, I was on my way,” he said.

So think about that: A healthy Bryce Harper, playing his final season before free agency in Washington, where a healthy 28-year-old lefty reliever could make his debut. They have talked about it. They have texted about it. Brothers on completely different paths, ending up on the same field, for the same team, in the big leagues.
Rooting for this, but with Bryce re-signed instead of hitting free agency.