The Washington Nationals have activated Bryce Harper on the disabled list and expect him to start in tonight’s game, which coincidently is his bobblehead night. Harper has missed 57 games this season with a torn ligament in his left thumb that he got on a headfirst slide into third base on April 27th. This would reunite the Nationals core eight players in their lineup for the first time since opening day.
So far in Harper’s short season he has only played in 22 games in which he has only hit one homerun however he is batting what would be a career high .289 at the plate. Even though Harper has never really been known as a power hitter with a career slugging percentage of just .476 he may have turned the corner during his rehab assignment.
Harper in his final rehab game on Saturday hit three home runs with Double-A Harrisburg which would be his fourth homerun in just four games during that time. Homeruns aside he has gone 5 for 9 with six RBI during that span and really looks ready to come into D.C. and make an immediate impact on the team.
The position Harper will play is still unknown as there are four outfielders on the Nationals roster that deserve to start in Jayson Werth, Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman and Harper himself. During his rehab assignment Harper played all three outfield positions and according to Manager Matt Williams there could be a rotating outfield to make sure all four of their bats is in the lineup on a regular basis. Harper has played all three positions in his career however most of his time has been spent in left field as he has played 123 games there and 104 in centerfield along with 84 games in right field. The defense numbers do say that he does his best fielding in center field but for now it appears Harper will be playing all three positions.
While Harper’s statistic so far in his career doesn’t point to a budding superstar the eye test is all you need to do with this guy to see in just a few years Harper could be a 40 homer 40 stolen base guy and one of the best ball players in the MLB. One problem stands in the way of Harper ascending to greatness is his injury problems that come from his outstanding hustle. If Harper can learn to incorporate the hustle he brings to the game with being smart and not taking unnecessary risk he can put this Washington Nationals franchise on his back and lead them to a dynasty.