MIAMI — Bryce Harper earned another award Monday, honored for his four-homers-in-four-days end to the week as a National League co-player of the week. He shared the award with Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Harper went 9 for 26 last week, with five of those nine hits for extra bases, driving in 12 runs. He became the eighth-youngest player in history to hit 100 home runs, hit his first grand slam, and tied a Nationals’ record with four consecutive games with a homer.
Harper currently ranks second in the majors with six homers, is tied for fifth with a .458 on-base percentage, and leads the majors with a 1.356 OPS. He also is tied for the eighth-lowest strikeout rate in the majors, not normally a statistic with a positive correlation to power.
“I don’t think it’s acceptable, really, the way we’ve accepted that just because you hit some homers means you have to strike out,” Nationals Manager Dusty Baker said. “It doesn’t have to be such. That’s what we’ve accepted. There were guys in the past that struck out a lot — look at Willie Stargell and Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle and those guys. But then you’ve got Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and others that didn’t. Ted Williams that didn’t strike out. Bryce falls into the category of not striking out.”
Harper is walking in more than 16 percent of his at-bats this season, among the National League’s top 10 hitters in that category. He has won four player of the week awards in his career. Nationals players have been honored with 19 overall.