Phillies manager Gabe Kapler says team understood that Bryce Harper comes with history of slumps

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

It’s pretty well-established at this point that Bryce Harper is having a rough start to his Philadelphia Phillies career.

The 26-year-old is currently hitting .222/.363/.430 with an MLB-leading 60 strikeouts. As far his OBP goes, he’s still a well-above average player, but the Phillies paid their $330 million with the idea he’d be an anchor in the middle of their lineup for a decade and beyond.

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Of course, the Phillies are also now saying they knew that they’d be seeing this slumping side of Harper as well.

Gabe Kapler explains how Phillies are handling Bryce Harper’s slump

Speaking with MLB Network Radio, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler plainly stated that the team is supporting Harper by letting him know that it understands he goes through slumps like this, where he’s hit .159 since April 21 with just one multi-hit game in that span:

I think the most important message we can continue to send is ‘We’re behind you, we support you, we know your history.’ Right, so it’s not like the staff is oblivious to the fact that he’s gone through extended periods of struggle. We know that he swings and misses.

Bryce Harper, he will strike out, he will walk, he will hit home runs, he will drive in runs, he’ll hit for extra bases. That’s his profile. His profile also is that he goes through periods where he struggles.

Kapler also stated that he’s optimistic that once Harper gets past his slump, the team will get the superstar is thought it was signing this offseason.

Us demonstrating that we know his history and that we have zero concerns that at year’s end, he is going to be one of the best offensive players in baseball, that’s what we can do for him.

It’s not ‘Get your elbow down, Bryce.’ It’s not ‘Get your foot down earlier, Bryce.’ Right? If it was a fix like that, it would be made and these streaks would not happen. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about demonstrating support at this point.

That all seems pretty fair from Kapler on staying patient with a slumping slugger, though it really is something to see a team employee readily accept a .222 batting average from a player treated like the city’s savior less than two months ago.

In all likelihood, Harper will not finish this season hitting .222 or worse. Even in his infamously volatile Nationals career, one of slumps and injuries and unanimous MVP seasons, he never hit worse than .249 in a season. He’s simply at the bottom of a roller coaster the Phillies have signed onto for the next 13 years.

Bryce Harper has been a volatile player throughout his career. (AP)
Bryce Harper has been a volatile player throughout his career. (AP)

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