Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper, appearing on 106.7 the Fan’s “Holden and Danny Show” on Tuesday morning, was happy to win the coveted award for top rookie in the National League, but reiterated his top desire is to win a championship for the nation’s capital.
“I am really excited about it,” the 20-year old Harper said. “The biggest thing for me is, seriously, I like to win. That is what I have done my whole life. I just want to come back and give a title to D.C.”
Harper said his rookie season was a great experience, certainly, and that it also was a good season to learn his trade alongside new teammates.
“I loved every minute of it,” Harper said. “Of course, I don’t love struggling, but it was good to go through those things. I give that all to my team and everybody that really helped me this year.
“I always think to myself I can get better in every aspect. When I am working out here, I will lift a lot and try to get as big as I can. Work on my speed strength and getting better reads in the outfield.
Harper did reveal one aspect of the game he would like to improve on.
“The biggest thing I want to do is steal more bags this next year,” Harper said. “Try to get better jumps and just try to work on a lot of things. Every single year, you can learn something new.”
Harper stole 18 bases in 2012 and was caught stealing six times.
Harper said he did not dwell on the Game 5 loss to the Cardinals in the National League Division Series. After the loss, he stopped watching baseball and switched to college football.
“I like to close the book immediately,” Harper said. “It is in the past. There is nothing we can do about it.”
Co-host Danny Rouhier, who played college baseball at George Washington, asked about the technical aspects of Harper’s swing, and how he does not want his shoulder to fly out.
“My biggest thing is to try to keep (my shoulder) in, hit the ball the other way, not trying to do too much and just hitting what they give me,” Harper said.
Playing in D.C., Harper also has had a chance to admire Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, and he likes what he sees.
“I respect that kid, he is unbelievable. he is something special to watch, that is for sure. It is a lot of fun to see him play,” Harper said.
You got to see it many times during the season after a catch in the outfield, right fielder Jayson Werth would come over and talk to him. Harper said working alongside Werth was invaluable experience.
“Werth always wants you to work hard,” Harper said. “Having him by my side every single day, him helping me out, it was great. (He would) tell me when I was being dumb, or (say), ‘Hey, that was a smart move’ or, ‘Hey, you look stupid out there.’ I like brash remarks. So when he tells me I look dumb out there, I respect that.”
Harper said he works out in the gym every morning. We found out he is not a bench press guy in the weight room. But Harper does like to power clean. Harper said he power cleans 325 pounds. He also runs the bases with a small parachute on his back to build strength in his legs.