When the MLB Playoffs take center stage, Washington Nationals‘ Bryce Harper told reporters that he won’t be watching. Instead, he’ll be getting started on the first of two goals that he has for this offseason.
Harper told the Washington Post that he can’t bare to watch the playoffs when his team isn’t in it. For the first month of the offseason, he’ll be sitting on his couch in Las Vegas watching college football, hanging out with his dog and spending some time with his girlfriend and family. More importantly, he’ll be resting his body that took quite a beating in his first full season.
After beginning the season on an MVP-like tear, Harper crashed into the outfield walls in Atlanta and Los Angeles and eventually missed five weeks due to a knee injury stemming from those collisions. Throughout the rest of the season, his knee as well as his hip nagged at him day after day. At one point, manager Davey Johnson said Harper may need surgery.
Harper has since told the local D.C. newspaper that that won’t necessary. All he needs is rest to get himself geared up to tackle his second offseason goal.
To put it in it’s simplest terms, Harper said that he wants to “get as big as a house” for spring training. It’s no secret that Harper likes to go beast-mode when he’s in the gym lifting weights, but it seems that his future offseason training regimen is one that would put the most hard-core weight lifter to shame. If he wants to build on his 2013 season, he’ll have quite a lot of work to do.
All things considered, Harper had a pretty solid season. He finished with a .274 batting average and an on-base percentage of .368. His 20 home runs tied him for third on the team, and his 24 doubles tied him for fourth. Unofficially, since he didn’t have enough at-bats, Harper’s .854 OPS would have ranked him 11th in the NL and would have put him at 10th among hitters 20-years old or younger since 1900.
When the team gathers in late February for Spring Training, you can bet that all eyes will be on Harper to see the kind of strength gains that he’ll have made in the offseason. One things for sure: if he does show up the size of a “house”, opposing pitchers and baseballs, will have something to worry about in 2014.