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Harper on what he wants to become

May 7, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT

October 7, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper smiles before game four of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper’s career day of three home runs and five RBI on Wednesday provided him a chance to not only talk afterwards about what he had done, but also what he wants to be.

The two-time All-Star spoke extensively on his future and some of his personal goals. There were a lot of good quotes, too many to fit into my postgame story on Wednesday.

Here are some of his thoughts on how he still wants to improve…

How has drawing more walks helped your offensive game?

“I’d love to lead the league in walks. That means you’re getting on base and getting on base for the guys you need to get on base for. I’ve got a great guy behind me in Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, those are guys I need to get on base for. If I can score 100 runs a year, that means the guys behind me are getting 80 RBIs. Just trying to get on base, do things the right way and score runs.”

Is it simply being more patient?

“I mean, I just feel like the older I get the more I need to be patient. You’re gonna get one pitch an at-bat, half a pitch an at bat. I’ve talked to multiple guys about being a little bit frustrated, trying to do a little bit too much, trying to do certain things, but the biggest thing is to try to draw your walks, get on base for the guys behind you.”

Do walks lead to extra basehits, do they go hand-in-hand?

“I think when you’re walking, you’re a better hitter. When I was younger, I walked a bunch, and became a hitter I felt pretty good about. Talking to my pops, talking to people around the game, when you’re seeing the ball well, you’re getting into counts that make the pitcher think about it. I’ve even talked to pitchers. I’ve talked to [Max Scherzer] a bunch of times about it. When you’re taking pitches on the inside half and they’re one or two inches off and they’re calling it a ball, you know that makes the pitcher freak out a little bit. So, just trying to go up there and have some good ABs. If I walk, I walk. If I strike out, I strike out, if I hit a homer I hit a homer. It’s just part of the game.”

Is walking more allowing you to key in and wait for your best pitches to hit?

“I mean in certain situations. Today of course, I felt good. There’s times when I’m still missing my pitch. If you look at a minor leaguer and a big leaguer, a high school guy and a big league guy, they don’t miss their pitch. Big leaguers do not miss. That’s why Nelson Cruz is so good, that’s why Mike Trout is so good, that’s why Robinson Cano is so good. That’s why all these guys are so good, because they don’t miss their pitch. I’m still trying to get to that point. Just trying to have great ABs — I don’t think I’ve had a bad AB all year, I’ve been locked in each AB — and you know Marlon Anderson used to tell me, you only have to lock in for five seconds. Best you can. Five to ten seconds , you’re in that box, lock in as fast as you can and stay locked in.”

How are you feeling in right field and how you have adjusted on defense this season?

“I like right field. Having a great guy like Jayson Werth in the clubhouse, being able to lean on him a little bit, seeing reactions at each field, what the ball’s gonna do down the line, what the ball’s gonna do in certain places we play, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. And of course Denard is so good in center field that I’ve been able to lean on him, too and try to get good reads. I’m so focused in the outfield right now, just trying to get better, trying to be a defensive guy, not just offense. I’m trying to win gold gloves”

  1. tcostant - May 7, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    M V P

    • Karl Kolchak - May 7, 2015 at 4:23 PM

      No doubt…Harper is not merely the leader of the Nats’ offense, right now he IS the offense.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2015 at 8:29 PM

        It just shows how much the team needs Rendon who is also a top MVP candidate to readjust this lineup and create less opportunities for these pitchers to put Harp on 1st where he’s there as the only one on base. The pitch-arounds remind me of the years of Bonds.

  2. pburm9qp - May 7, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    Sniffle sniffle. This kid is growing up right before our very eyes.

    • ArVAFan - May 7, 2015 at 4:46 PM

      Don’t worry. We still have his hair!

  3. erocks33 - May 7, 2015 at 5:06 PM

    How soon before the national media (and the bozos at 980 WTEM) take his words out of context, re-arrange them and try to spin it so Bryce was being arrogant:

    “I’d love to lead the league in walks … that means the guys behind me are getting … a little bit frustrated, trying to do a little bit too much.”

    “if I hit a homer … that makes the pitcher freak out a little bit.”

    • Guapo - May 8, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      Exactly. #34 might be the most mis-represented athlete in sports right now. He’s a great kid who puts 110% into his training and play. Unselfish on the field (to a fault sometimes), ZERO off field issues. Yet every non-Nats fan is convinced he’s a jerk.

  4. infideljack - May 7, 2015 at 5:13 PM

    What a great attitude. You can tell this young man was raised to take responsibility. Good families usually produce good adults.

  5. 9rhrssy01 - May 7, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    Fine young man. His parents must be very proud of him.

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 7, 2015 at 6:03 PM

    I love this one:

    “You know, Marlon Anderson used to tell me, you only have to lock in for five seconds. Best you can. Five to ten seconds , you’re in that box, lock in as fast as you can and stay locked in.”

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 7, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    But THANKS CHASE for the interview.

  8. Bruxtun - May 7, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    Great questions that got great responses. Very well done.

  9. Section 222 - May 7, 2015 at 8:29 PM

    So cool. And hardly an “every single day” or “and what have you” in sight. I especially love his focus on defense. A comment this morning led me to look up the biggest home run hitters like Bonds, Mays, Aaron, and A-Rod. All of them, even A-Rod, won gold gloves. Trout will probably win some too. Bryce has the makings of a true superstar, and that includes playing the field.

  10. veejh - May 7, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    Snoozer. Can’t stand days off.

  11. David Proctor - May 7, 2015 at 9:41 PM

    Mark DeRosa had a great segment on MLB Network on Harper.

    http://m.nationals.mlb.com/wsh/video/topic/7417714/v105545983/?query=nationals

    • Section 222 - May 7, 2015 at 10:12 PM

      Outstanding. Thanks for posting this. Nice collection of early Bryce highlights, including the first hit, the steal of home off Colbert, and the clown question, bro. DeRo is a natural on MLB Net. Fun to listen to.

    • letswin3 - May 7, 2015 at 10:19 PM

      Nice. DeRosa is good people.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:38 AM

      The term he used “reckless abandon” was the one rub on Bryce that I used in the past that I haven’t used in a while.

      His baserunning has matured and that is good to see.

      Bryce and Esco and Ramos have been the standouts thus year.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 8, 2015 at 11:50 AM

      Looking at those old videos, it reminds me how much BIGGER Bryce is now. He looked downright skinny as a rookie. Can you see that in three years? He’ll look like he should be playing against Bugs Bunny.

  12. Section 222 - May 7, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    Amanda Comak posted video of the Nats’ visit to the Caps’ locker room last night. Check it out:

    http://www.monumentalnetwork.com/videos/the-nationals-in-the-winning-locker-room-5-6-15

    • veejh - May 7, 2015 at 11:58 PM

      Pretty cool.

  13. Joe Seamhead - May 7, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    Casey Janssen did pitch the first inning in Potomac tonight, faced three batters, striking out one, in a 1-2-3 inning. It’s a start!

  14. nats128 - May 8, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    “I don’t think I’ve had a bad AB all year”

    Short memories are good Bryce and a little embellishment. Im glad you have all ready forgotten those “bad” ABs against Matt Harvey.

  15. peewilly - May 8, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    I really like how he’s kept his emotions in check. Nothing close to a confrontation with an ump or throwing his hands up after a bad call. This has lead to him starting to get the benefit of the doubt on some borderline calls.

    That was a great game on Wednesday but I think we need to pump the brakes a bit on the historical references and MVP talk. Bryce has shown to be a streaky player, there will be times when he looks lost at the plate. If he’s as mature as he seems he’ll handle these waves and the lows won’t be extended.

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