Via reporter Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, slugger Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals says he plans to get away from the game for a while after having a rough time in 2013. His offseason regimen:
• No paying attention to baseball playoffs — he'll watch college football instead
• No surgery on his knee — just rest
• No running into things, like fences
• Spending time with his girlfriend and his dog (Swag)
• Lots of working out:
Harper, eventually, plans to lose himself in offseason weight lifting and to arrive at spring training “as big as a house.”
Working out is a way for Harper to get away from it all mentally, and if he turns into Popeye physically in the process, all the better. It should be noted that Harper stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 230 pounds already. He's hardly a waif.
And, as Kilgore points out, Harper still had a terrific season at age 20 despite being banged up:
Over the full season, Harper hit .274/.368/.486 in 497 plate appearances, even with a 1-for-27 finish. He fell short of qualifying for league leaderboards by five plate appearances. If Harper had qualified, his .854 OPS would have ranked 11th in the National League and tied for 10th since 1900 among hitters 20 or younger.
And still, his first month hints at what may be to come and what could have been had he not run into those two walls. On April 29, the day he hit the fence in Atlanta, Harper was hitting .356/.437/.744 over 103 plate appearances. When he was healthy, he was a monster.
GM Mike Rizzo goes on to say that Harper will learn to pace himself because of the distasteful feeling sitting on the bench gives him. Something tells me it will be easier said than done. But, if Harper really becomes "as big as a house," he can crash into all of the fences he likes, and simply knock them over.