After 15 games, 60 at-bats and a 3-1 count in his 61st at-bat, Bryce Harper finally went yard for Triple-A Syracuse.
Harper was off to a slow start in the minors, but perhaps this home run will loosen him up. After Sunday's first game of a doubleheader, Harper's average rose to .242. He finished the game with the home run and a single.
With all of the pressure on Harper, it did not surprise many people that he began the year slowly.
After all, he expected to be playing for the Washington Nationals when spring training ended, not the Syracuse Chiefs.
Harper did not disappoint with his first home run in Triple-A. It was a no-doubter off the bat.
On a 3-1 count Harper deposited 22-year-old right-hander Jeurys Familia's pitch over the right field fence. It was a towering shot and hopefully the first of many more home runs.
Harper would like to achieve the numbers that he produced in Single-A when he hit 14 home runs in 72 games. He slowed down in Double-A, only hitting three home runs in 37 games.
Harper now has four doubles, a triple and a home run on the season for the Chiefs.
There might be more emphasis on Harper being called up, even though his numbers are not outstanding, if the Nationals did not get off to a scorching 12-4 start.
Even though Washington is without a key piece of their outfield, as Michael Morse has had to miss more time than expected with a lat strain, it has looked like a good move to send Harper down.
Harper's numbers are not gaudy, but it is impossible to know if his performance was affected by being sent down to begin the season. Harper at the least is learning how to deal with adversity.
Harper might have been in a slump due to the fact that he was caught off guard by not making the 25-man roster. At the very least, he is being forced to learn how to pick himself back up and adapt to the situation that he has been placed in.
This home run might be the first step in Harper turning his Triple-A stint around and using it as a stage to show off his talents to the big league club.
If Harper can pick up the pace and begin hitting more home runs, it will only be a matter of time before the Nationals call him up. It's up to him to impress Nats' General Manager Mike Rizzo and earn the call up.
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