Craig Heist, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – He is 19 years old and plays the game of baseball with a flair and aggressiveness that is at times jaw-dropping.
On Sunday Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was named the National League Rookie of the Month for May. It’s the first rookie honor for a National since Ryan Church won in May 2005.
Harper hit .271 in 28 games during the month and led National League rookies with 21 runs scored and four triples. He hit four home runs and 10 RBI during that stretch, including his first Major League blast on May 14 against the Padres.
Harper enjoyed a nine-game hitting streak which ended last Wednesday in the series finale against the Marlins. In his last 11 games heading into Sunday’s action against the Braves, he hit .366. He has averaged over a hit a game during the month, including nine multi-hit games.
Perhaps the best part of the nine-game hitting streak was his series against the Braves in Atlanta. Harper went 5-for-11 with a pair of homers during a three-game sweep.
“I feel good up there,” Harper said Saturday before the game. “I have felt good the whole time I have been up here. It’s only a matter of time once I get going. I am playing pretty well right now but you can’t sit on that. You have to play well throughout the year.”
WTOP’s Craig Heist interviews Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper before the game Saturday, June 2, 2012. Video shot by Lauren Larson:
Harper was the team’s first overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and he has played a big role since his April 28 call-up in keeping the Nationals in first place as they have had to battle through a multitude of injuries.
Watching Harper take batting practice, you can see him trying to soak in the knowledge from hitting coach Rick Eckstein, and he credits his teammates for helping him win the award.
“I have had a lot of guys play around me that are really good,” he said. “Having guys like (Adam) LaRoche, Zim (Ryan Zimmerman) — you know, guys that have been here and really helped me out with pitchers and base runners. (Jayson) Werth was huge on that. He’s been big with me on base running and things like that