Washington Nationals stud outfielder Bryce Harper has dealt with hype since the age of 16, when he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the "Next Big Thing." Since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2010 by the Nats, Harper has seen his ups and downs within the fickle sport that is baseball, but without question during this current 2015 campaign, Bryce has solidified himself as the game's top dog. As the Inquisitr noted, Harper suffered a knee injury not long ago that definitely had fans worried, but it turned out to be just a mild sprain.
Currently batting 0.344 (fourth in MLB) with 25 home runs (tied for second in MLB) and 60 runs batted in (third in MLB), Harper is having for a season for the ages.
According to ESPN's projections,as of today, the 22-year-old is slated to hit 49 homers and drive in 117 RBI.
.@BHarper3407 has done something no 22-year-old has ever done before. pic.twitter.com/rv9uJj9muw
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) July 6, 2015
Bryce Harper: 7th player w/ 25+ HR halfway thru season at age 22 or younger Others: 5 Hall of Famers, Alex Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/6tBC6JlshpRecently elected to his third All-Star game in four Major League seasons, the former Rookie of the Year has stated that he will not participate in this year's home run derby because his father (who pitched to him when he came in second in 2013) recently underwent rotator cuff surgery, and has not yet fully recovered.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 5, 2015
#BryceHarper. Will NOT be in Home Run Derby because his DAD just had Shoulder Surgery! His Dad was his Pitcher when he came in 2nd in 2013! — Dr. Robert Klapper (@DrRobertKlapper) July 7, 2015Bryce had this to say following the announcement, courtesy of ESPN.
"Not having my dad throwing to me is a big issue for me," Harper said, adding that his father "throws strikes" and knows where his "sweet spot" is.
Harper received 13.9 million fan votes, most in the National League, to start the Midsummer Classic at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on July 14.
Here he is using a star-spangled bat while crushing a homer on the Fourth of July.
Bryce Harper's flag bat was the best. http://t.co/UOn1L0H8gB pic.twitter.com/ETr5JNcTAP — SB Nation (@SBNation) July 5, 2015
Bryce Harper honored America by hitting a home run with a star-spangled bat. WATCH --> http://t.co/18RIcun42D pic.twitter.com/olGOK1qJTr
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) July 5, 2015
For the #FourthofJuly, @BHarper3407 powered up and went yard with an American flag bat: http://t.co/GpKICjY3kkpic.twitter.com/5PgvXZmMtgHarper recently posed for ESPN's Body Issue, which is now available online, and on newsstands July 10.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 4, 2015
Nats OF @Bharper3407: "I can squat 405. I'm proud of that." http://t.co/LWd0PhhtGg #BodyIssue available online July 6 pic.twitter.com/QWQCc75FmnFor his career, Harper is hitting 0.284 with 80 long balls, and 209 RBI, per Baseball Reference.
— ESPN (@espn) July 2, 2015
What do you make of Harper sitting out this year's home run contest? Surely, with such an influx of top young talent around the league, the Derby won't suffer, but as a fan, wouldn't you love to see one of the game's best hitters jack as many homers as possible over the fences?
[Photo by Patrick Smith / Getty Images]