Single-A Hagerstown Suns right fielder Bryce Harper had a night to remember - likely not his last - Friday night in a 17-1 thumping of the Hickory Crawdads at Municipal Stadium.
Harper went 3-for-3 with a double, two walks and a two-run homer. It was his third home run of the season and first time he has hit a homer in the professional ranks in back-to-back games. Harper registered a career-high six RBIs.
Harper is now batting .306 with three doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs In 15 games. In 10 games since April 13, Harper is batting .367 with three homers, 11 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .767.
Hagerstown manager Brian Daubach said Harper is “super aggressive” at the plate and that is a good thing.
“It is so much better to bring a guy in from being overaggressive than try to get him to be aggressive, like a passive player, Daubach said last week. “That is all I have really worked on with him. Nobody needs to work on his swing. It is about his timing with hitting, just relaxing a little bit. His swing will take care of everything else.”
Daubach said he sees a little bit of longtime Braves All-star Chipper Jones in the way Harper plays baseball. Daubach was a teammate of Jones with the Braves, and the former teammates were drafted in the same year, 1990.
“Chipper wasn’t as filled out as Bryce at a young age. He struggled his first year, but it is what he became (that people remember). The athleticism is definitely similar,” Daubach said. “Chipper was a shortstop when he came up and with all the tools, too. Harper has more power at a young age, but Chipper developed into it later.”
Daubach added that Harper is transitioning well to the outfield from his accustomed catching position.
“I think, for me, never seeing (Harper) and knowing he caught all that time, he has really caught on too quickly,” Daubach said. “He has outfield speed. His arm is a plus arm. The teams we have played have already quit running on him. They have stopped runners at third with two outs when normally you would have sent them. ... He has a really strong arm and he is really accurate.”
Daubach said Harper and his teammates are getting along well because Harper is showing respect for them and the game. He is not acting like a prima donna because of his No. 1 prospect status.
“You know, anybody’s first year it is a growing process,” Daubach said. “He is just one of the guys. I think that is very important. All the other guys treat him like one of the guys. They give him a hard time just like anybody else. If he does something crazy, they will give him a hard time. They joke around with him, too.”
Harper got the day off Saturday and the Suns were not scheduled on Easter Sunday.