Harper’s Starpower Overpowering Machado’s Popularity
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – While Bryce Harper may be playing the game so hard he mistakenly ignores physical barriers, Manny Machado to the north, is struggling to break through the glass ceiling placed above him because of exceeding expectations of guys like Harper.
Taken 3rd overall by the Orioles in the 2010 MLB Draft, directly behind Jameson Taillon – a pitcher still developing in Pittsburgh’s farm system – and two spots behind Harper – obviously flourishing in his first full season in the Nats’ lineup – Machado’s brilliant play has largely gone unnoticed on the national landscape.
At 20-years-old, he’s just as young as Harper, and his .331/.370/.521 hitting line, along with 5HR and 24RBI in 2013, is in the same ballpark as No. 34’s .303/.400/.622 hitting line, and 10HR and 21RBI.
And through each of their first 89 games at the Major League level, as the Baltimore Sun discovered, Machado was actually little better than Harper offensively, forcing the question: Why hasn’t he gotten the same level of attention?
There are a number of obvious reasons, like Harper being labeled a phenom on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he was a legal adult, or that D.C. is just a larger media market, garnering more national exposure.
“It’s funny that no one has put him in that class,” MLB Network’s Darryl Hamilton told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny. “But he is.”
Defense can’t be the distinguishing factor either. With a .974 fielding percentage, Machado ranks 6th among Major League third basemen, while Harper – two errors on the year – falls among the lower level of his position. To be fair to Harper though, he played catcher his entire life before being drafted to play outfield by the Nationals.
To avoid venturing into commentary, perhaps you can let us know. Why does Bryce Harper get more attention than Manny Machado?