It’s no secret that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is one of the hardest-hitting players in baseball. When he gets a hold of a baseball, there is a very real chance that you may never see it again.
NL Home Run Derby captain and New York Mets third baseman David Wright selected Harper for the MLB‘s annual “How Far Can You Hit It?” contest, and I hope someone in New York that found a tape measure that can measure out to one mile — because Harper is going to win the Home Run Derby tonight at Citi Field and kick off his All-Star week with a bang.
When it comes to the derby, pitching is extremely important. Players need a pitcher they’ve practiced a lot with, and a pitcher who they are confident can toss something right down broadway so the slugger can try to hit it to, well, Broadway. For Harper, he selected his father Ron to throw to him when he steps into the batters box tonight.
Harper has said before that his Dad has probably thrown him over a million pitches in his lifetime. When Harper was a little kid learning how to play the game with his brother, Nats pitching prospect Bryan Harper, it was their father that was throwing the batting practice pitches.
In a regular MLB game for Harper, he doesn’t often get that perfect pitch down the middle, if ever. Throughout his short career in the majors, Harper has hit 35 home runs and some have broken out the tape measures. We’ve seen him hit pitches out of the park that most MLB hitters couldn’t hit out of the infield.
Tonight, however, Harper will be seeing the ball bigger than he ever has and much slower, which will give him time to set himself up to absolutely obliterate the baseball. Each pitch will be nice and easy, just the way he and his dad likely drew up years ago, and they will be right down the middle.
And don’t think for a minute that Harper will get caught up in the excitement of the Home Run Derby tonight, either. While this is his first time in the big-league derby, Harper has competed in one before when he was a prospect in high school.
He hit a baseball 502 feet.