Bryce Harper was only in the major leagues for a couple weeks before MLB Network started breaking down his similarities to Mickey Mantle.
So it should come as no surprise that MASN would compare Harper to Babe Ruth by the first week of his second season.
Now, in fairness, this was a pretty limited comparison, in which analyst F.P. Santangelo was merely noting how both left-handed hitters lifted up their back foot near the conclusion of their swing.
“We just thought it was pretty cool,” Santangelo said early in Thursday’s broadcast. “When you watch Babe Ruth’s swing on the left, watch his back foot come off the ground at contact. Now we’ll move over to Bryce Harper on the right-hand side, and we’ve seen this before – at contact, foot off the ground.
“They’re both hitting off a firm front side,” Santangelo continued. “It creates so much torque and power throughout the course of their swing that it’s almost impossible to keep that back foot on the ground. If you did, there’d be so much pressure on the hip it couldn’t take it. So guys that swing violently like that have to release the back side off the firm front side. And if you’ve ever watched Tiger Woods hit a driver, same kind of deal — his back foot comes off the ground, he creates so much club speed. Same with Bryce Harper.
“And I thought it was eerily similar, checking that out today, that Babe Ruth and Bryce Harper both do that. We talked about guys that do that through the course of history. Ted Williams comes to mind. Stan Musial. Great hitters like that. Frank Thomas from the right side.”
“Really interesting stuff,” Bob Carpenter noted.
“And you think about if you really kept your foot planted and you swing that hard, what kind of damage that would cause your hip over the course of a career,” Santangelo added. “It’s just almost impossible to keep that cleat in the dirt when you swing as violently as Bryce Harper has, and you create that much bat speed.”