Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper has made a lot of outs on the basepaths this season including one last night when he was picked off first by San Francisco Giants' catcher Buster Posey. Is Williams alarmed by Harper's baserunning gaffes?
Bryce Harper singled to start the second inning last night, but one out later, with Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate, the Washington Nationals' 21-year-old outfielder was picked off first when he wandered too far off the bag while taking an aggressive secondary lead.
"It's not alarming. I think it's a maturation process. We discuss it every time something goes haywire." -Matt Williams on Harper's outs on the basepaths
Travis Ishikawa applied the tag and Harper popped up and headed straight for the first base dugout. He made no argument and had none.
As MLB.com's Daniel Popper reported in a write-up on Harper's latest baserunning gaffe, it was the 13th out of the season on the basepaths for Hopper, which tied for the third-highest total in the majors.
As he noted, however, Harper has played significantly fewer games than the other players atop the list:
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is two years older than Harper, has made a league-worst 17 outs on the bases, but he’s done it 118 games. Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is second-worst with 15, and he’s played 103 games. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is tied with Harper at 13. He’s done it in 124 games.
Harper, meanwhile, has compiled his total in 68 games.
Matt Williams was asked if he was alarmed by the frequency of the outs Harper has made on the bases and the first-year skipper said, "No," but added that it was something he and Harper have discussed frequently.
"It's not alarming," he said. "I think it's a maturation process. We discuss it every time something goes haywire. He's also done some very good things. The other night we talked about him going first-to-third on a ball that most guys don't. So he does some good things as well. We make sure we let him know that and we make sure we discuss the things that don't go so well and he learns and moves forward like the rest of us. I'm not alarmed, he's an aggressive player and he'll continue to be that way as we all will."
• We discussed Harper getting picked off first, Doug Fister's start and the end of the Nats' winning streak on the latest edition of Nats Nightly after last night's game:
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