Updating Bryce Harper’s big weekend, I interviewed Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on “Nats Insider” on Federal News Radio Sunday.
Youmans was at the NJCAA Western District Finals in Lamar, Colorado. Harper’s team, the College of Southern Nevada, won the tourney 25-11 Saturday over Central Arizona College.
True to form, 17-year-old catcher continued to rewrite the record books for his team, which plays for the JUCO national title starting Saturday in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“The numbers are a little bit exaggerated from the weekend,” Youmans said. “The wind was blowing out extremely hard and they were playing with aluminum bats this week, instead of wood bats that Bryce has swung the whole season. It was impressive, though.
“He hit for the cycle on Friday. It started off on Thursday when Bryce hit a home run a minimum of 500 feet. Some say it went 550 feet, but I felt it went a minimum of 500 feet, it was one of the biggest shots I had ever seen.”
Sports Illustrated had an article on Bryce last year that said Harper once hit a 570-foot homer in Las Vegas and then another story of him smacking a 500-foot dinger at Tropicana Field during a home run derby.
Bryce hit the monster home run Thursday, hit for the cycle on Friday and went 6-6 with a double, triple and 4 homers and 10 RBI in Saturday’s championship game.
Matt told me they used aluminum bats for this tournament because the majority of junior college teams swing aluminum. College of Southern Nevada is in a wood bat league in the Scenic West.
Youmans also estimated there were at least 15 scouts watching Bryce and a lot of them were scouts that have followed Bryce all season.
How about some of those ‘bad kid’ articles that came out recently on Bryce? You cover him, what do you think of Bryce?
“In a lot of ways a really humble kid and a likable kid. I am almost certain there is no attitude problem there. I read the Baseball America article too. I can kind of see where they could have gotten some of that impression. To tell you the truth I think it was off-base. He is a good kid.”
And the inevitable comparisons to Stephen Strasburg as the top selection, both are Scott Boras clients. How will this affect Harper’s signability?
“There is no doubt in my mind (Strasburg) was the number one pick. Harper definitely wants to sign. It will be just about whether or not they can come to terms. I think they can.”