Commentary

Why Bryce Harper is only human

Despite gaudy minor league numbers, strikeout rate a concern

Originally Published: June 22, 2011
By Matt Meyers | ESPN Insider
HarperDiamond Images/Getty ImagesDespite big numbers in the minor leagues, Bryce Harper continues to strike out at an alarming rate.

Although Bryce Harper is the youngest player in the low Class A South Atlantic League, it should come as no surprise that he started in its all-star game Tuesday night, going 0-for-2 with an RBI. By virtue of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, he is extremely well-known and was voted in by the fans. More importantly, he's a phenomenal baseball talent.

Through 64 games for the Hagerstown Suns, Harper is hitting .330/.429/.586 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with 14 homers and is in the top five in the league in all of those categories. Those numbers would be impressive for almost any minor leaguer. For an 18-year-old, they're jaw-dropping.

However, despite Harper's incredible talent, he's working through growing pains, and those who think he should be in the big leagues this year should consider the following: In 266 plate appearances, he has struck out a Rob Deer-ian 55 times. That's one whiff for every 4.8 plate appearances.


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