Apr 12, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) hits a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
19-year old phenom Bryce Harper made his MLB debut on April 28, 2012, where he went 1-for-3 with an RBI. The rookie outfielder didn’t stop there though, as he went on to post a .270/.340/.477 slash line with 144 hits, 22 home runs, 98 runs scored, 59 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases in 139 games. He earned his first All-Star appearance, and finished the season winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
How historic was Harper’s teenage season? Among all players in MLB history to complete a season under the age of 20 with at least 100 games played, Bryce ranks 2nd in home runs, 3rd in doubles, 5th in hits, 5th in RBIs, 2nd in walks, 3rd in OPS, and 2nd in stolen bases. He is the first teenager to play more than one position defensively since Tony Conigliaro did it in 1964. He finished ahead of Ken Griffey Jr. in every offensive category other than RBIs and strikeouts.
The Nationals had a .592 winning percentage after Harper’s call up (84-58). Still not enough for you? He hit 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th in the lineup. He played in all three outfield positions and had eight outfield assists.
But never mind the stats, Bryce Harper was the sparkplug for a young club bursting onto the scene. He ignited the Nationals’ offense to finish as the 5th highest scoring club in the National League. He singlehandedly drew fans to the ballpark, giving spectators a show to see on a daily basis.
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