- C.J. Nitkowski, ESPN Insider
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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.
C.J. Nitkowski examines how to best pitch Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper. Given his stellar balance and pitch recognition, pitchers must use off-speed stuff to get ahead in the count before attempting to finish Harper off with high heat.