Today, Washington Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper returns to the lineup after missing the entire month of June with a knee injury. During his four-game rehab stint for the Class A Potomac Nationals and Class AA Harrisburg Senators, Harper went 4-11 with three extra-base hits, including a triple and home run.
Harper’s performance in his rehab starts was no surprise, but the fact that he was the youngest player on BOTH teams’ rosters was a bit of a mind-exploder.
The next closest player in age was A.J. Cole of the Potomac Nationals, and he was STILL 10 months older than Harper.
Harper is so good it’s easy to forget that the first time he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated he was only 16.
It’s easy to forget he decided to forgo his junior and senior years in high school to take the GED exam so he could enroll in college early and therefore be eligible to be drafted a year early.
It’s easy to forget that Harper was 19 when he dominated National League pitchers on his way to win Rookie of the Year.
If he progresses according to the typical pattern of improvement for a baseball player, Harper will hit his peak in seven years or so. His current OPS is .973.
Not that Harper WOULD ever buy beer, since he’s Mormon and doesn’t imbibe clown substances.