PHOENIX - The scenes around Bryce Harper and Brad Peacock after Sunday's All-Star Futures Game were about as different as their paths to this point. Harper packed his locker as more than a dozen reporters stood waiting for him, while Peacock was standing dressed at his locker, unsure if any media types wanted to chat about his day.
That's how things are going to be for the two Double-A Harrisburg teammates, and Peacock knows it by now, having played with Harper in the Arizona Fall League as well. But while Harper claimed most of the attention on Sunday, Peacock quietly outshone his fellow Nationals prospect.
He pitched a perfect second inning, throwing just nine pitches and striking out Dodgers prospect Alfredo Silverio to start the inning. Peacock featured all three of his pitches - a 94 mph fastball, a curveball in the mid-70s and a changeup that helped him get an inning-ending pop-up the one time he threw it.
That pitch is the last one to come for most minor league pitchers, and Peacock is spending plenty of time working on it these days.
"It was a good one," Peacock said of the changeup he threw to Rockies prospect Wilin Rosario. "It ran up on his hands, and he kind of jammed it a little bit."
While Peacock had a nice introduction to baseball's collection of top prospects, Harper struggled all day, taking a called third strike in his first at-bat, grounding out to first in his next two and swinging through a fastball for a strikeout to end his day. But he was facing four pitchers he hadn't seen much, and all of them had fastballs in the mid-to-high 90s.
"I was trying to gear up for that fastball, and if I swung through a changeup or curveball, that's what happens," Harper said. "Ted Williams used to say he hated playing in All-Star games and facing rookies. You have nothing on them."
He did provide one highlight, launching a throw to home plate from just in front of the warning track in left field. The throw was off-line, and it allowed Sebastian Valle to go to third, but Harper said he was trying for a highlight-worthy play, not necessarily a sound baseball move.
"Just trying to show my arm off. That's pretty much it," Harper said. "In a real game, I'd try to work through the cutoff man. In this kind of game, I'm just trying to show it off a little bit and see what happens."
That's all the fans really wanted from Harper on Sunday. But at least for one day, he said as much about Peacock as Peacock said about him.
"He's been dealing all year," Harper said. "For him to go out there and deal like that, that's huge for him. He looked great, as always. He's throwing 91-94 (mph), and he looks really good. It's a great thing for him."