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Harper's play in right field has made difference


Harper's play in right field has made difference

PHILADELPHIA — The lion’s share of praise heaped upon Bryce Harper this season has been for his accomplishments at the plate. And deservedly so; Harper’s 1.134 OPS entering play Wednesday is the best compiled by a major-league hitter since Barry Bonds’ outrageous 1.422 mark in 2004.

Harper’s performance in the field, though, deserves some attention as well, because it has helped make him into the complete player who enters the season’s final two weeks as the odds-on favorite to win NL MVP honors.

The Nationals moved Harper to right field this spring on a permanent basis, a move that had been considered since the day he was drafted but was pushed back until Harper had a few years of experience and until Jayson Werth’s legs and shoulder made him a better option in left field.

The end result has been encouraging. After a bit of a feeling-out process early in the season, Harper has taken well to right field and blossomed into one of the best defenders at his position in the majors. According to the Elias Sports Bureau and, he ranks third among all MLB right fielders in both range factor and defensive WAR.

Harper’s eight assists rank eight among right fielders, but that number might be diminished in part by the fact opposing runners are taking fewer chances against him, respecting his arm.

“The reputation precedes itself a little bit,” manager Matt Williams said. “And you want that as a player, certainly. Knowing that when a guy leaves the batter’s box on a ball down the line, he’s thinking twice about going to second. He’s got a strong arm. He’s accurate. …  That just helps our team. If they turn first but just stay there, then we’re always a pitch away from a double play.”

It has perhaps helped that Harper has been able to stay in one position the vast majority of the season, after bouncing around the outfield at times the last three years. Aside from nine fill-in starts in center field when both Denard Span and Michael Taylor were injured, Harper has played exclusively in right field, logging 1,095 2/3 of his 1,161 innings thre in 2015.

“He’s been able to settle in there and play the same position every day,” Williams said. “Understanding ballparks helps. Getting a chance to play within the division in all those ballparks, he gets a sense of where he’s at. And he can play accordingly. So, it helps, yeah. He loves to play center field, too. But I think he’s really comfortable where he is now.”

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.