Bryce Harper will likely participate in home run derbies some day, but he'll have to wait at least another year. National League captain Matt Kemp has revealed he does not plan on selecting the 19-year-old for the upcoming July 9 showcase.
Kemp explained his decision to Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today:
"It's not because he's a rookie. It's just that there are other guys out there that are capable,'' he said.
Kemp says he based his decision on the fact Harper's home run stats don't qualify him as one of the best sluggers in the league.
"That's how I got in last year,'' Kemp said. "I had a lot of home runs in the first half. So you have to take that into consideration.''
Based on numbers, you can't really argue with Kemp. Harper has seven homers on the year with isn't even in the top 50 of National League hitters. He actually ranks third on his own team as Adam LaRoche leads with 15 and Ian Desmond slots ahead with 11.
Despite the statistical evidence, however, many around the league were holding out hope Harper would be selected for the derby. Along with Mike Trout, Harper represents the single biggest story of baseball this season. Rarely has the league witnessed two players play so well this young as major leaguers. It would have been special to see Harper take hacks in Kansas City at 19, but Kemp does present a valid case. There's always next year.