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« Fister's Command Key to AL Consecutive K Record | Main | R.A. Dickey, 20-game winner »

Breaking Down Bryce Harper's Homers

As the Nationals chase 100 wins, Bryce Harper has an outside shot of becoming baseball's all-time teenage home run champ. With 21 bombs, Harper has already passed the likes of Mickey Mantle (13 in 1951), Ken Griffey Jr. (16 in 1989) and Mel Ott (18 in 1928). Next up is Tony Conigliaro, who hit 24 homers back in 1964. How has Harper put himself one power surge away from Tony C.'s record? Here's a quick breakdown of Harper's homers.

  • The lefty-hitting Harper has gone deep 15 times against right-handed pitchers, and six times versus lefties.
  • He has done more damage on non-fastballs (12 home runs) than fastballs (nine). Harper has nine homers against fastballs/sinkers, four against changeups, three apiece versus sliders and cutters, and two on curveballs. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise us that Harper has more big flies against non-fastballs, considering that he has seen the second-lowest percentage of fastballs among all qualified MLB hitters:

Lowest fastball percentage seen among qualified hitters, 2012

Batter Fastball Pct.
Pedro Alvarez 38.1%
Bryce Harper 38.3%
Cameron Maybin 38.5%
Alfonso Soriano 38.9%
Ike Davis 39.3%
Chris Johnson 40.2%
Justin Upton 40.5%
Josh Hamilton 40.6%
Dan Uggla 40.7%
Jesus Montero 40.9%


  • Harper hasn't had much use for the opposite field, as his homer spray chart shows:

 He has hit 12 HR to the pull side, six to center field and three to left field.

  • While Harper's pull power would lead you to believe that he hit most of his homers  against inside stuff, he actually has more taters on outside pitches (nine) than inside or middle offerings (six apiece).
  • Six of Harper's homers have come on the first pitch of an at-bat. The only NL hitters with more first-pitch home runs are Ike Davis (11), Jay Bruce (10), Carlos Beltran (10), Ryan Braun (nine), Adam LaRoche (eight) and Matt Holliday (seven).

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