Sports

Bryce Harper: Baseball’s Lebron

Bryce Harper is currently one of baseball's top players after signing the most lucrative baseball contract in history

Bryce Harper is considered one of baseball’s finest players right now. He recently signed one of the largest contracts in baseball history–a thirteen year, three-hundred and-thirty-million-dollar contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. At this moment in Major league Baseball at a decently young age he is one of the league’s top performers. In the last year before becoming a free agent he had a wonderful season, and even topping it off by winning the home run derby at his home stadium.

Ever since he was a little kid Bryce Harper has always wanted to be a professional MLB player. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was 7 years old”, he has said. Baseball was not a foreign subject in his family as not only he was born and raised in Las Vegas–a place well known for baseball–but also his brother Bryan had previous MLB experience as a pitcher playing for the same team as Bryce, the Washington Nationals, for eight seasons.

When Harper was only 15 years old he played in the Youth Pan Am Games. He managed to go 16 for 28 with six doubles, 4 homeruns and 16 RBI in eight games, to help USA win the Gold Medal. The next year, as a high school sophomore playing a total of 115 games, he had a tremendous batting average .626 with 14 home runs.

At the College of Southern Nevada he obliterated the school’s previous record of 12 home runs by hitting 31. He was declared the Southwestern Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament Player of the Year.

Despite him winning the SACBT Player of the year award he was unfortunately unable to complete his season. During a National Junior College World Series Game, he was at the plate when a third strike was called. He immediately had some words for the home plate umpire. Since players are not allowed to argue called balls and strikes, he was immediately tossed from the game. This was his second ejection of the season and it wrapped up his last season in amateur baseball. An unfortunate way to end his amateur career.

In 2010 he would be selected to play in the Arizona Fall League as a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions, making the 18-year-old the second youngest player in the history of the league. He lead the Scorpions to victory in the 2010 Arizona Fall League Championship.

The Nationals selected the baseball phenom, who was 17 at the time with the hitting power of an MLB veteran, from the College of Southern Nevada and ended up being the number 1 overall pick in the draft. Ultimately, Bryce didn’t have to wait long to achieve his dream. He made it into professional baseball at only 19 years of age. He would later extending his contract with the Nationals for five years and 9.9 million dollars. Tremendous achievements in his MLB career would soon raise his stock even more.

Harper’s MLB debut with the Washington Nationals in 2012 was against the LA Dodgers. He went 2 for 3 at the plate, and was later named the National League Rookie of the Month. He would continue to shine throughout the rest of the season as he was one of the finest rookies, and for his season performance was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

In 2013, after having a good looking season with 13 home runs in just 58 games, he was selected to take part in the 2013 Home Run Derby. The next year he suffered a thumb injury causing him to miss a quarter of the season to recover, but overall finished the season played 100 games. During the 2015 season he hit the longest home run of his professional career, hitting a 461-footer in center field against the Philadelphia Phillies, and was awarded Player of the Month. During the same year he was named the National League Most Valuable Player, making him the first of his team to win the honor.

But Bryce Harper’s career did have its downs at times. Harper is known in baseball for both his talent and his temper. Many times his temper flared at the umpires, players on opposite teams and even his own teammates. He is known for charging the pitchers mound and letting the umpires know exactly what he thinks of their calls. He has continued to get thrown out of games more often than most.

In 2015 while playing for the Nationals against the Phillies, Harper hit a fly ball. Not waiting to be caught out, and Unhappy with himself, he doesn’t run it out to first base, but instead head straight for the dugout where he immediately gets into a fight with his teammate Papelbon. The two had to be broken up by teammates and staff.

In 2018, Harper finished his career at the Washington Nationals with a batting average of .249 with 137 hits and 34 home runs, and competing in and winning the 2018 Home Run Derby with 19 home runs in the final round. He then signed a 13-year, 330-million-dollar contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. There was talk for a long time about what team Bryce would sign with, not to mention speculation of his future team by fans, so once he signed with the Phillies it was a tremendous surprise to everyone.

The free agent contract, confirmed by MLB, would reportedly include a $20 million signing bonus, a $10 million salary in 2019, $26 million in each of the following nine seasons and $22 million in each of the last three years of his 13-year contract. His agreement tops the $325 million, 13-year agreement outfielder Giancarlo Stanton reached with the Miami Marlins. Harper’s bonus provisions include $50,000 each for All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger or League Championship Series MVP; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $500,000 for league MVP, $50,000 for second and $25,000 for third. He gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to purchase a suite for games at Citizens Bank Park. Not too bad.

Bryce Harper has been a baseball phenom since his early years in the sport. Even after signing his new contract with the Phillies the manager had a lot of exciting words: “Certainly franchise-altering, certainly season-altering for the Philadelphia Phillies. We were a great ballclub coming into Spring Training without Bryce Harper, We’re going to be an even better ballclub,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. Even teammate Aaron Nola said, “It’s pretty cool, finally.” His fans and the entire organization are very excited to see the extravagant performance he will put out on his debut season with his new MLB team.

Flickr.com/Keith Allison

1 comment on “Bryce Harper: Baseball’s Lebron

  1. john hamlick

    great article

    Like

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