Saturday, July 7, 2012

Harper replaces Stanton as N.L. All-Star

Photo by US-Presswire
Bryce Harper will be an All-Star after all.

After Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton withdrew from the game due to a right knee injury on Saturday, National League manager Tony La Russa selected the Nationals’ phenom for the team’s final roster spot. At 19 years old, Harper will become the youngest position player in MLB history to be named an All-Star.

Harper learned of the announcement moments after the team’s 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. He was called over by manager Davey Johnson who was standing beside general manager Mike Rizzo across the locker room.

“When Davey called me over there it was either I was thinking I was going down because Rizzo and everybody was over there or the All-Star game.  Good thing it was the All-Star game. I’m happy. I am.”

Speaking to reporters just minutes after learning he was an All-Star, Harper said he hadn’t even had time to tell his parents.

“No, I haven’t. They’ll probably be really excited and try to come out there and be around me,” he said.
Harper becomes the youngest position player and the third youngest player in MLB history. Only Bob Feller and Doc Gooden were younger when they received the distinction..

When he heard the historical significance of the honor, Harper was humbled and appreciative.

“I didn’t really put any thought into that. But it’s pretty cool. I think that’s a pretty cool deal. And I’m excited. I really am,” he said.

“I’m really excited to get out there and be around those kind of guys and just try to actually enjoy myself as much as I can and really take it all in.”

Nationals manager Davey Johnson has a unique perspective having coached also Doc Gooden when he broke into the league with the New York Mets. He compared the two in terms of their age.

"I mean I don't look at them as being young. I look at the talent and, you know, when Dwight was 17 he looked like a big leaguer except he just didn't have the innings to pitch in the big leagues. I mean Harp, he does everything a little bit better than average."

"I'll say this. Doc was the best pitcher I ever had at that age and Harper's the best position player I ever had at that age. But they're both very special. It's fun to watch them go out there and watch them express their talent. It's just really fun from my viewpoint. You never know quite what you're going to expect but you know it's going to be special," he said.

Harper will join teammates Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ 1st overall pick in 2009. Harper was picked first in 2010. He becomes the team’s fourth 2012 All-Star as shortstop Ian Desmond will keep the honor after pulling out due to a left oblique injury.

Harper is hitting .283 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 62 games after being called up on April 28. He was not selected for the original roster by La Russa and finished third in fan votes behind David Freese and Michael Bourn for what was intended to be the final spot.

There is also now a chance Harper could be in the Home Run Derby as Stanton was expected to participate. It is up to derby captain Matt Kemp if he wants to add Harper, but the Nationals’ outfielder doesn’t expect to be the replacement.

“I don’t see that happening. I don’t know if I can take his spot. I think him being able to hit home runs like that is pretty impressive. So if I get a call from Kemp – if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” he said.

Harper had said he was looking forward to getting a mental break from the grind of his first major league season. His first words when asked how it felt to be picked were, “I don’t get to go home.” He may have to get used to it as this could be the first of many.


SonnyG10 said...

Good for the Nats history...youngest ever all-star.

m20832 said...

I'm happy for the young buck! Don't let them ask any clown questions Bro!

Feel Wood said...

I'm very sorry to hear that Giancarlo Stanton is hurt and will miss the four game series in Miami after the All Star Break as well as the four game series in DC in early August.

No, wait. I'm not.

baseballswami said...

Andrew McCutcheon for the home run derby - good. I don't want Bryce's swing messed up.He is so young - I hope he is just there to take everything in.It will be a break for him from the every day grind and it will be fun for him. He will probably get every single guy's autograph. He will also probably be picking brains and learning as much as possible.

baseballswami said...

Feel Wood - well at least you aren't a hypocrite.

peric said...

Both just from watching and from the vantage of advance stats Harper is the spark in this offense and his ranking as top hitter over Desmond and LaRoche appears to substantiate what we've been seeing. Without Harper there is no offense to speak and close to 20 games over .500 might instead be much closer to .500 or worse. The different between a first place team with the best record in the NL and something that might have been quite different.

He never stops he always hustles always ... he's relentless and on the offensive side of the team he is very bit the X-factor they needed. He deserves to be an All Star and I'm glad it came from LaRussa and not the teeny boppers.

baseballswami said...

Just saw the Greinke ejection. 4 pitches. Maybe Wandy would be better for us. Cheaper, too. Livo ate the loss.

SonnyG10 said...

I was impressed how Harper was still running all out to first base in this heat. There is just no off switch on him.

Happy to see him make the all-star team.

SFNats said...

Heh, swami. Greinke is the ace of my fantasy baseball team, and I nearly had a heart attack when I saw his pitching line today. I've never been so happy to find out that a player was ejected -- I figured he'd snapped something in his arm.

Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

So, do we have to spell it "Bam*Bam" now?

natsfan1a said...

Was kinda hoping the kid would get some rest, but will be fun to see our three guys there.

Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

Oh, and before I forget where they're going...

natsfan1a said...

How did you know I was singing that in my head? :-)

Kirbs said...

I was hoping for some rest, but as long as he isn't in the HR derby to mess his swing I'm happy!!!

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