Bryce Harper is again doing what he does finest: taking part in within the postseason. The 2-time MVP has an uncanny skill to ship hits in essentially the most essential moments, and he was the driving pressure behind the Phillies’ run to the World Collection final season regardless of taking part in via a major harm.
Whereas Harper can be within the lineup for the Phillies this October, he will not be at his acquainted spot within the outfield. Harper has rotated between first base and the designated hitter function this season, a change of surroundings for a participant who spent the primary decade of his profession as an outfielder.
Whereas the expertise is completely different for Harper, the outcomes on the plate have been equally as sturdy. Harper hit .293 with 21 house runs and a .900 OPS this season after lacking the primary month. Having that type of bat within the lineup is invaluable for the Phillies, no matter the place Harper performs within the discipline.
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Here is what you could learn about Harper’s transition to first base.
Why is Bryce Harper taking part in first base?
Harper underwent Tommy John surgical procedure in November to restore a UCL harm in his elbow. Whereas the surgical procedure tends to maintain pitchers out for not less than a yr, hitters are in a position to return a lot faster. Harper made it again to the Phillies by early Might, lower than six months after the process.
Any hitter getting back from Tommy John surgical procedure has limitations, nevertheless. Harper wasn’t cleared to throw within the outfield when he returned, so the concept of placing him in place to play the outfield and need to throw to house plate was out of the query.
Harper nonetheless may have returned as a full-time designated hitter. In actual fact, he did function a DH in a majority of video games this season. By studying find out how to play first base, nevertheless, he gave the Phillies far more flexibility.
Philadelphia misplaced 1B Rhys Hoskins to a torn ACL throughout spring coaching and was utilizing Alec Bohm on the place to begin the season. With Harper at first base, the Phillies had been in a position to fill that gap and slide Bohm again to his customary third base.
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As an additional advantage, the flexibility to play first base may shield Harper sooner or later. He has eight years remaining on his contract, and taking part in a place that is not as bodily taxing may enable the star to age gracefully.
Harper indicated in September that taking part in first base full-time is perhaps one thing to think about, telling Ken Rosenthal, “I am open to something actually.”
Harper performed 36 video games at first base through the common season, receiving constructive critiques for his efficiency.
What was Bryce Harper’s harm?
Harper suffered a small UCL tear in his elbow early within the 2022 season. He was in a position to play via the harm the remainder of the way in which, although he did miss time through the summer time with a damaged thumb.
Whereas Harper was dominant on the plate for the Phillies late in 2022 and into the postseason, he wasn’t in a position to play the outfield very a lot. He spent nearly all of his time as a chosen hitter, with first base not an possibility because of Rhys Hoskins’ presence.
Two weeks after the World Collection ended, Harper had Tommy John surgical procedure. He was in a position to return initially of Might, remarkably, however the Phillies spent a few of that point main as much as his activation making ready him to play first base.
Thus far, the experiment has been successful. The standing of Hoskins, who’s a pending free agent, may decide how a lot time Harper sees at first base in 2024.