Bryce Harper is leading off right now for the Nationals. Tonight, that’s proven to be an effective strategy for Washington, as Harper opened up the bottom of the first by doing this:
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) May 4, 2018
That tweet is alluding to the fact that Harper hit a leadoff homer already this week:
And then, in the second inning, Harper came up again and delivered another bomb:
Is Bryce Harper a superstar?
Our column: pic.twitter.com/yFyIjC7JFS
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 5, 2018
That’s ridiculously long. Harper’s longest of the Statcast era, in fact, at 473 feet:
Bryce Harper just obliterated a baseball.
At 473 ft, it's his longest HR since Statcast began tracking in 2015. pic.twitter.com/D5TQwpJPlF
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 4, 2018
And here’s the full breakdown:
We have liftoff in Washington! 🚀@Bharper3407 crushes this ball 112.1 mph and 473 feet — his longest HR and the 3rd-longest HR for the @Nationals since #Statcast began tracking in 2015. pic.twitter.com/rHwPqMGDPA
— #Statcast (@statcast) May 5, 2018
You may also have noted in those team tweets that Harper was referred to as a superstar. That’s because earlier this week, Bill James made a point to say Harper wasn’t that, which is hilarious:
Thank you all for participating in my poll about how many superstars there are now in baseball. Consensus answer was about Seven. Amazed at how many people think of Bryce Harper as a superstar. To me, he is nowhere NEAR that standard.
— Bill James Online (@billjamesonline) May 3, 2018
Nowhere NEAR! That’s despite Harper tearing the cover off of the ball to start his contract year, including a broken bat home run. If he wasn’t a superstar before (he was and is, obviously, but I thought of this line and I want to use it), this moved him about 473 feet closer.
Oh, and also, we’re now on five homer game watch. Generational hitter, leading off, two home runs in two innings. That’s the perfect recipe for something that’s never happened. (Eighteen people have hit four, so even that would be a very rare thing.)