Bryce Harper put up 42 home runs, 117 RBIs and a .834 OPS before turning 21.
As of today, he could, if he desired, legally celebrate those accomplishments with a beer.
Harper turns 21 today, which is sure to set off plenty of bad “Clown question, bro” jokes online throughout the day. It was up in Toronto after a game last year, of course, that a 19-year-old Harper was asked whether he would be drinking any Canadian beers postgame, leading to his catchphrase that swept the country, got trademarked and led to t-shirts.
Harper is a practicing Mormon, and doesn’t consume alcohol. But at least the next time the Nationals end up in a champagne-spraying situation, Harper won’t need to be stuck with a bottle of apple cider in his hand.
Wilson Ramos sure wasn’t stuck with apple cider in his hand when the Nationals celebrated their division title last September. Despite Ramos being out for the season after having had surgery to repair the ACL and meniscus in his right knee, I distinctly remember a smiling Ramos sitting in a metal laundry cart, getting wheeled around by teammates as he poured champagne all over his head.
Ramos might have been unable to play during the Nats’ postseason run last year, but he sure didn’t miss out on the celebration.
This year, Ramos came back from that knee injury hoping to play a full season and show the Nats that he could become their franchise catcher. He might not have played a full season, but he certainly proved that when he’s healthy, he can do enough to deserve the lion’s share of playing time behind the plate.
Ramos played in just 78 games this season, getting 287 at-bats. Still, he managed to pop 16 homers, drive in 59 runs and post a .272/.307/.470 slash line.
If he had enough plate appearances to qualify among the league leaders, Ramos’ OPS of .777 would’ve ranked sixth among all major league catchers. As is, he ranked 10th among catchers in home runs, despite having more than 200 fewer at-bats than a handful of catchers around the league.
The injuries, of course, continue to be a bit of a concern. Ramos twice went to the disabled list this season because of a left hamstring strain, and over the final couple of months of the season, he barely went into a light jog when running down to first base after a ground ball, making sure that he didn’t push the hamstring too hard.
But while he sure didn’t move too quickly, Ramos did show down the stretch that he could handle a healthy workload. He started 23 games in a row at one point, the most of any catcher in the majors this season, and got the start in 63 of the Nats’ final 78 games. In those 63 games, he hit .276 with 14 homers (one every 17 at-bats), 53 RBIs and a .784 OPS.
“I’m very happy for what I did this year,” Ramos said during the final series of the season. “I know I’m coming back from the surgery and two injuries in my hammy, but I’m happy for what I did. I was thinking, ‘Finish healthy,’ and, ‘It’s not about the numbers,’ but I made pretty good numbers this year. So I think right now what I can do if I’m healthy all year.
“So this offseason I want to work on my body, try to get healthy all season next year and see what happens - see what I can do.”