Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is excited to get a jump start on spring training and inch closer to the beginning of the MLB regular season. His expectations for the 2013 season are high and he is willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if that means moving out of his beloved two spot in the batting order.
Harper has made it known that he thoroughly enjoyed batting second in the lineup behind Jayson Werth and in front of Ryan Zimmerman last season. It not only benefited him as a hitter but it helped the team out because Werth was able to see a lot of good pitches that he might not have got the opportunity to see batting in a different spot. It is also certainly understandable why Harper likes hitting in front of Zimmerman because of the solid protection the third baseman provides, but the Nationals would prefer to move him down in the batting order so that he can knock more runs in.
Even if manager Davey Johnson kept Harper in the two hole, something that probably will not happen, the second year player would not be hitting behind Werth but rather newly acquired outfielder Denard Span.
“I like the two-spot,” Harper said. “I think it’s a good spot for me especially with Denard leading off and Zimmerman behind me. But wherever Johnson wants to put me is fine. Davey’s a great manager, he’s got a great mind and hopefully I’m always in the lineup. That’s the only thing that matters to me.”
Obviously, it is too early to tell where Harper will fit best in the lineup as that is something that will have to be decided after a few games in spring training. Moving him further down the order is a decent idea because it could give him more opportunities. However, the fact that Washington’s offense was dominant last year with a specific batting order means it could be a bad idea to change things up.
“It really worked pretty good last year with Jayson and Harp because pitchers had to use everything they had and they threw a lot of pitches to the first two guys,” Johnson said. “I know that Zim really liked that and the rest of the guys in the lineup [liked it] because they’d see basically the whole repertoire and it made it easier.”
As far as what Harper wants, there are bigger fish to fry then worry about where he will be hitting this season.
“The World Series is the biggest thing on my mind and I want to take it back to D.C. and give that to the organization and everybody in D.C,” Harper said.
The 2012 National League Rookie of the Year also added that there are personal goals and expectations that he would like to achieve in 2013 but for now, he will be keeping those to himself to avoid people thinking he is crazy.