A prediction for the Home Run Derby

brushback_harperDrew Storen has an uncanny ability of predicting teammate Bryce Harper’s biggest home runs. On opening day, before Harper smashed two home runs, Storen turned to Tyler Clippard and said: “Can you imagine if he hits a home run right now?” And then, after Harper missed 31 games on the disabled list with a knee injury, the observant Storen predicted Harper’s home run on July 2.

“It’d be just like Harp to hit a home run his first at-bat,” Storen told columnist Thomas Boswell before the game. “You know he’s going to shoot for it because it’s been driving him crazy to be out. Remember opening day? First two swings, two home runs.”

So before Monday’s home run derby, in which Harper will compete, we asked fortune-teller Storen to handicap the contest. The American League team: Robinson Cano, Yoenis Cespedes, Prince Fielder and Chris Davis. The National League team: David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Pedro Alvarez and Harper.

“It’s hard to believe that Harp isn’t just going to dominate them. Watching his BP and knowing what kind of player that Bryce is that kinda steps up in big situations and puts on quite a show. I have a hard time believing he’s not up there towards the top.

“You see how Pedro has been swinging this year, too, I was glad to see him put in there, too. But I think not only the quantity of Harp’s homers but the quality of Harp’s homers, he’s not going to be short-changed because he’s not trying to hit wall-scrapers.”

Among the AL contestants, Storen has been awed by Davis. “It’s an easy pick,” Storen said. “I think for me, after seeing his BP last year, I just saw it and was like, ‘Wow.’ Before all this. But there’s so many different factors. There’s batting practice but then there’s the fact these guys are hitting without a bubble. It’s just different. So it’s tough to say but I think I’d like to see Harp and Davis.”

FROM THE POST

The Nationals enter the all-star break with a much-needed win, 5-2, over the Marlins and just over .500.

Washington Nationals reach all-star break not far from contending, but some distance from stability, writes Thomas Boswell.

Ken Babb writes about Chase Lambin, 34, the older active minor leaguer never to reach the majors.

From the weekend, Bryce Harper enters the all-star game as a marketing star, as well.

FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL

Nationals prospect A.J. Cole earns Futures Game save

Jayson Werth fouls ball off foot

Bryce Harper’s father will throw to him in the Home Run Derby

Wilson Ramos’ playing time increases

Davey Johnson upends lineup

The calls that led to Bryce Harper’s costly ejection

Danny Espinosa snaps slump at Syracuse

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 2, Lehigh Valley 1: Danny Rosenbaum allowed only one run over six innings. Xavier Cedeno shaved his ERA to 1.74 with a scoreless inning. Eury Perez went 2 for 4, Chris Rahl smacked a triple and Tyler Moore went 2 for 4 with two RBI.

Erie 7, Harrisburg 3: Robert Gilliam allowed four runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. Jimmy Van Ostrand, Jeff Howell and Jason Martinson each notched two hits. Van Ostrand and Martinson each homered.

Salem 5, Potomac 1: Marcos Frias allowed three runs on eight hits over three innings. Adrian Nieto drove in the Nationals’ lone run. He’s hitting .300.

Hagerstown 7, Rome 3: Ryan Mattheus began his rehab assignment and allowed one run on one hit in one inning. Pedro Encarnacion allowed one run on two hits and struck out eight over the next six innings. Wander Ramos went 1 for 3 with a homer and walk. Sam Palace (the minor league’s roving emergency back-up catcher) went 2 for 4 with three RBI.

Staten Island 7, Auburn 6: Austin Voth allowed two runs on four hits over four innings and struck out five. Greg Zebrack and Cody Gunter each drove in two runs.

Also on Nationals Journal

Nationals prospect A.J. Cole earns Futures Game save