Finding Bryce Harper's weakness

There's no easy answer against the Nats slugger, but being left-handed helps

Updated: April 29, 2013, 12:06 PM ET
By C.J. Nitkowski | ESPN Insider

We are in the height of baseball's information age. For pitchers, that means lots of data is available -- including spray charts, pitch data and video analysis -- to help formulate a game plan against lumber-toting foes. Of course, all of this information is useless if 1) you can't execute the game plan or 2) the hitter is just too darn good and has no glaring holes in his swing.

Enter Bryce Harper.

Coming in to 2013, the word was out that this kid is for real. Sophomore slump? Pitchers adjusting? It hasn't happened. Pitcher's know more about Harper, yet he's been better. Right now, he's second in the NL in batting (.360) and home runs (nine).

I asked a trusted scout if there was one pitch or one location that Harper really struggles with. The scout, who never is short on information or details, was succinct in his answer: "Not really."

For pitchers around the National League -- and for a few in the American League -- this is bad news. There is not just one thing that makes Harper such a nuisance at the plate; rather, it is the multitude of his strengths.

Here's a look at what makes Harper such a tough out and how to best pitch the Nationals' hot-hitting phenom.


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