May 7, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT
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”
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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