Bryce Harper's supernatural baseball gifts have been evident since before he could drive. Today he’s a 20-year-old super-freak who is slugging over .700 in the majors. His rare combination of competitive intensity, Las Vegas moxie, and otherworldly talent has set the stage for a legendary baseball career as the next lightning rod in the game. His raw power grades out as a pure 80 on the scouting ledger, and though such elite marks are extraordinarily rare, the legit five-tool player also has a throwing arm that ranks at the top of the 20-80 scale.
Dissecting three matchups between two of baseball's most must-watch players.
On Friday, the pitcher with the second-best ERA in the NL took on the batter with the second-most home runs in the NL. Neither player was old enough to drink remember the TV show California Dreams. Because of the first sentence, and because of the second sentence, the two players might be the most Flip to Their Game players in baseball right now. Who would win the three matchups between Bryce Harper and Matt Harvey? Please don’t say “all of us,” please don’t say “all of us,” please don’t say “all of us,” please don’t say “all o
The two were drafted in the same first round, and the two debuted in the majors within a couple months of each other, so as you might imagine, they played in the same league a couple times as they moved up the ladder. Harper and Harvey both played in the Double-A Eastern League during the second half of 2011, and both played in the Triple-A International League to start the 2012 season. While they were in Triple-A, they faced off at least once, the video tells us. The super sexy conclusion:
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You can learn a lot about a baseballer by the people he follows.
It can be hard to learn a lot from a ballplayer’s tweets, which are mostly 140-character treatises on what you want to hear. Luckily, there is a column right next to his tweets that can reveal a little bit more. People tweet what they’re supposed to tweet, but for the most part, they follow whom they want to follow. Their follows are a window to their interests, their reading lists, their playlists and their senses of humor.
For instance, if you were to look at a certain Baseball Prospectus writer’s list of follows, you’d find that he’s inappropriately attached to two cities where he no longer lives, he’s the only 27-year-old on the planet who gets instantaneous thoroughbred racing news, and the only parody account he finds funny is this one.
Friends, winter has come. An entire set of Meetings in Nashville has been dedicated to ringing in the season. The air is cold, there is no baseball, and it is all we can do to keep ourselves occupied while trying not to be driven mad by the latest Ken Rosenthal rumor about Justin Upton, or Jon Heyman report on Zack Greinke. We are forgiven, then, for turning to food. After all, food is frequently warm, cooking it makes us busy, and it does not require the presence of baseballing men on our televisions or radios.
Which is not to say that food and baseball don't make a natural pair. A bite and a beer, both the eating and the acquiring, can ease the boredom of a slow fifth inning in a meaningless August blowout, particularly as the hot dogs in many ballparks have been supplemented by more upscale options and the available beers have expanded from the usual selection of Bud, Bud Light, Bud Lime, Bud Dark, Bud Plus, and Bud Unleaded. Still, when I say "upscale," I for the most part mean "hamburgers from Shake Shack instead of Carls Jr." As far as I know and have been able to Google, nobody's yet offering escargot in the mezzanine on the third-base side. What I would like to demonstrate for you, if you'll permit me, is that some classic dishes in French cuisine can provide a gateway to thinking about baseball and baseball players while simultaneously making you ravenous.
Ben and Sam join/are joined by Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs for a longest-ever episode about the worst predictions teams and players made about themselves, Bryce Harper's historical significance, and the baseball players who led the league in our hearts in 2012. We talked for almost an hour, so adjust your commutes accordingly.
Ben and Sam join/are joined by Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs and FanGraphs Audio for a longest-ever episode about the worst predictions teams and players made about themselves this season, Bryce Harper's historical significance, and the players who led the league in our hearts in 2012. We talked for almost an hour, so adjust your commutes accordingly.
Episode 56: "A Very Special Simulpodcast with FanGraphs Audio"