These days, there’s absolutely nothing about Bryce Harper’s swing that’s broken. The bat he used to hit a first-inning home run Monday night against the Mets, though — that’s another story altogether.
On the first pitch he saw from New York’s Jacob DeGrom, Harper mashed a 406-foot home run to right-center field, despite his bat breaking in two. As he trotted up the first base line, the Nationals slugger was still holding the shard that remained from when most of the bat flew away on contact.
Most of the time, pitchers want to break a bat because it tends to produce a more weakly hit ball. In this case, there’s no telling how far Harper’s shot would have gone had his bat stayed in one piece, but as it was, it traveled five feet farther than his average distance on home runs this season (per ESPN), a demonstration of prodigious strength that he celebrated by showing off his biceps as he returned to the dugout.
DeGrom’s pitch arrived at 95 mph and left Harper’s broken bat at a little over 99 mph. The feat amazed observers, including the Nats’ announcing team, and caused an understandable commotion on the Internet.
Harper’s feat had some recalling previous broken-bat homers by the likes of Barry Bonds and Chris Davis. Other major leaguers who have done it in recent years include Justin Upton, Nelson Cruz, Mark Teixeira and Mark Reynolds.
The homer was Harper’s eighth of the season, and it increased his major league lead in that category. Entering Monday’s game, the 25-year-old outfielder was also leading the majors in walks (20) and OPS (1.219), and he is already just one homer short of matching his career high through the end of April (nine in 2013, 2016 and 2017).
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