Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper might have won the Home Run Derby, but his dad pitched him inside and jammed him too much.
Wright’s selection is subject to scrutiny as a result of Harper’s lack of total home runs this season. Harper has only hit 13 dingers and has not hit one out since the first of July. However, injury has dampened an otherwise hot season for the 20-year-old from Las Vegas. Had Harper not missed the entire month of June, it is reasonable to assume his home run total would have been in the 20s, which would have easily placed him in the top-five NL home run hitters.
Overall, the results show that Wright made the correct choice. Harper came up in the middle of the pack and started whacking balls out of the park. Receiving pitches from his father, Ron Harper, Bryce managed to hit enough homers to advance him into the final against the eventual champion, Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics.
In the final round, the tag team duo managed to send eight home run to the stands, including one monster shot that he bashed an estimated 541 feet. Not to be shown up, Cespedes came out and put on a show, blasting nine balls over the fence to win the trophy.
Throughout the entirety of the night, Harper’s father pitched well, but tended to pitch his son on the inside portion of the plate. Harper let many of these pitches go under his hands, but he also seemed to favor the low and inside pitch, hitting many of his 24 home runs on those pitches.
Whether this was the strategy Harper and his father discussed before the Derby or not, it certainly seemed to be the method of choice for Ron Harper. And it worked, for the most part, as the two managed to make it to the final. Nevertheless, I do not think either of them planned to have Ron pitch Bryce so far inside that dad would hit his son, which is exactly what happened in the middle of the final round.
Unfortunately, Harper did not charge the mound. Had he done so, the TV producers might have had an interesting family feud to broadcast and I would have had an even more interesting story to write.
Isaac Comelli is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @IsaacComelli, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+. You can see all of his articles here.