New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper's First Audition for NY
The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals square off for a three-game set this weekend, and 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper will get his first taste of what it's like to play the Yankees in the regular season.
The Yankees will throw Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova in the series, while the Nationals will counter with Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson.
While the pitching matchups will command some of the attention, Harper versus the Yankees will likely be the more dominant headline.
Harper has been a force in the Nationals lineup lately, and is currently hitting .303/.384/.548 with seven home runs and 19 RBI. He is likely the early favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year award and could potentially even earn a spot on the NL All-Star squad.
With the Nationals always desperate for consistent offense, his solid play has come as a huge lift for the team.
Harper is committed to the Nationals right now, and he wants to bring a championship or two to the city before he hits free agency after the 2018 season (five-year contract, three arbitration seasons).
After that, all bets are off.
The Yankees could easily have the money to throw at the then 26-year-old, and Harper will likely deserve a large amount of it. In six years, we could be talking about Harper as the no-doubt best player in baseball. Harper was also a Yankee fan growing up (via the Washington Nationals.com), so that could give him a little extra incentive to play in New York as well.
No matter what happens in the future, the New York media will have a field day this weekend. Even if Harper struggles, he'll be praised for his hustle and emotional play.
We may even see more hustle than usual from Harper, as he definitely wants to prove a little something to the Yankees and their fans.
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