From time to time, Tim Chambers, baseball coach and athletic director at College of Southern Nevada checks in to give us an update on 17-year old catcher/outfielder sensation Bryce Harper.
Harper is eligible for the June amateur draft in which the Nationals again hold the number one overall selection.
The Coyotes are doing very well this season at 30-6 and lead the Scenic West conference. The Coyotes welcome in Southern Idaho for a pair of doubleheaders Friday and Saturday.
Bryce Harper's statistics look like video game numbers: .426 batting average, 13 doubles, 12 HR, 37 RBI, .870 slugging percentage, 24 BB, 24 K, 45 runs and 49 hits in 35 GAMES. I mean, come on, that is ridiculous.
Tim talked about Bryce's season so far.
Tim, Bryce is putting up some amazing numbers, I mean have you seen anything like this before?:
"He is putting up numbers that certainly we didn't expect. I knew he would have success because he is a talented player. But I really didn't think he would put up the types of numbers he is putting up.
"He has set school records in a few areas. Our school record for home runs is 12 and that was set in 2001 when we used aluminum bats and he is at 12 homers right now.
"He leads the conference in doubles, homers, hits, slugging percentage, batting average, runs, 2nd in RBIs and he is hitting .500 in 20 conference games. He is putting up numbers we haven't seen come through our conference probably ever."
Why is Bryce Harper playing so well right now?
"Competitive instincts is a lot of it. God given talent is a lot of it. The ability to make an adjustment more quickly than the average athlete. The talent of the players that surround him forces the other team to pitch to him in spots.
"Guys on base and big guys behind him have good numbers as well. You can't really walk a guy with men on 1st and 2nd and nobody out. What are you going to do? You got a 6-4 220 pound lefthander hitting behind and another 6 3 guy behind that guy. They got to pitch to him. When he lays off the off speed stuff in the dirt, he is not going to get out, he is going to hit something hard.
"It is a really good year for somebody to do what he is trying to do. And it has never been done. To leave so young and now he is on a team that starts eight sophomores in college and a junior from high school. It is an older team that really gave him the opportunity to settle in and not have to be the guy that has to produce all the time."
Bryce can't go to a division one school until after next year if he stays in school. Have there been a lot of scouts checking on his progress?
"What ever the future holds for him nobody really knows until June. He has met with some scouts and general managers. We are getting to the back end of the schedule so some higher ups from organizations are starting to show up at the ball park.
"He just blocks it out and he just plays. It's hard. You go on the road and we set attendance r ecords at a couple of institutions on the road. After the game, 40-50 kids are waiting to get his autograph and signs them and we move on."
How is his defense behind the plate and in the outfield?
"We moved him in some cases from center to right and he likes to come up throwing on base hits and Bryce has caught some guys coming around the bag.
"He actually caught a guy from left center field on a base hit over the shortstop's head and came up firing to first. That is why we put him in right because on sharp singles to right he could probably throw some guys out before they get to the bag.
"Playing solid defense, especially from a catching standpoint. Neither of our catchers is having a great percentage of throwing guys out. Our pitchers are slower to the plate. We concern ourselves with catching the ball and receiving. He doesn't go to the backstop to retrieve the ball if at all. So he is doing well there."
Is there a major leaguer or former player you compare Bryce to?
"Nope, no. I don't compare him to anybody. I have known him since he was a little boy. He is just Bryce to us. He is Bryce Harper and he is not anybody else. I can't compare him to anybody else because I haven't seen anybody like him. He is just Bryce to us. We are thankful to have him."