VIERA, FL. — Just because Bryce Harper is the Nationals' best player, the reigning NL MVP and the face of the franchise, doesn't mean he's ready to take the reigns as the leader of their clubhouse at the age of 23.
The Nats have plenty of prominent veteranss between Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Max Scherzer, plus a manager in Dusty Baker who has been around the block once or twice. The time may come some day for Harper to be a louder voice in the Nats' locker room, but now is not that time he says.
"I don't think I'm a leader," Harper said. "I'm just more a guy who is playing the game. I think J-Dub and Zim and all those guys, they are the leaders. Those are the guys who are going to go about it every single day and do the things that they think are right for this team."
Harper will likely be asked for more of a leadership role at some point in his career, but he explained on Monday at spring training his style as a teammate.
"I'm not a really vocal guy," he said. "I just try to go out there and do everything thing I can and not really take a guy to the side in front of the camera and say 'hey, you gotta do this.' It will be more inside the clubhouse, trying to do everything I can to help guys out if they need it. I'm still at that stage where I'm looking at J-Dub and still looking at Zim for what they think is the best for this team. I'll play as hard as I can and hopefully lead by example."
Harper certainly led by example last season. He
A lot of different faces. Definitely a lot of different guys this year… but once J-Dub comes in, you'll know what the clubhouse is like. He led the league in runs (118), homers (42) and OPS (1.109). He drove in 99 runs and got on base at a .460 clip. That was all with little protection around him due to injury.
A leadership role could come with age and experience, something Werth definitely has. Harper described Werth as somebody who sets the tone for the Nationals' clubhouse.
"A lot of different faces. Definitely a lot of different guys this year," Harper said. "But once J-Dub comes in, you know what the clubhouse is like."