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Pitchers Are Trying To Fool Bryce Harper With Changeups, And They Are Failing

The 20-year-old phenom is smashing baseballs with ease, and advanced stats show a pattern behind the carnage.

After 22 homers and a .340 on-base percentage as a 19-year-old rookie, Bryce Harper proved he can hit baseballs far and reach base with consistency.

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Two homers on Opening Day 2013 proved Harper was ready for more. The first was a beeline to right …

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… while the second took a more majestic arc to the same vicinity.

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His fourth of the year (from last night) was a looping 420-foot blast to right.

None of Harper’s homers have been cheapies. The lone homer that wasn’t hit at Nationals Park (and that didn’t go 400 feet) would’ve been one had it been hit in D.C.

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What is interesting is that all have been hit to right so far. That’s not exactly in line with 2012, when he showed an ability to hit to all fields.

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Here are last year’s home runs.

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Small sample size aside, almost everything’s been right of center field this season.

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One explanation? It could be that Harper is seeing more change-ups this season — 17.4 percent of all pitches, compared to 12.3 percent — so he’s ahead of more pitches and pulling them often.

Via pitchfx.texasleaguers.com

And his fastballs-faced percentage is also down considerably, perhaps a result of pitchers being intimidated by his unnatural bat speed.

Via pitchfx.texasleaguers.com

But so far, at least through eight games, everything’s coming up Harper.

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Via mlb.mlb.com

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