WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper has regained his home run stroke ahead of Opening Day, but let this serve as your annual reminder, don’t put too much stock into spring training numbers.
No, there’s nothing wrong with Harper hitting eight home runs or putting up a .302/.415/.811 slash line in spring, it’s just not necessarily indicative of how Harper will hit in the regular season.
During Mike Rizzo’s season debut on The Sports Junkies, where the Nationals General Manager and President of Baseball Operations will appear every Wednesday at 9 a.m., Harper’s absurd spring numbers came up in the form of this week’s Burke & Herbert Bank Fan Question of the Week:
Bryce is on fire this spring. Eight homers so far. Do you put any stock into the spring training stats? – Adam in Arlington
“I do not,” Rizzo said on 106.7 The Fan. “I don’t put any stock into the stats, just because, unfortunately for Harp, Opening Day, he’s got zero-zero-zeros like everybody else.”
“I remember one year Mike Morse hit like 16 or 17 home runs in spring training and he was kind of happy he was playing so well, but kind of bummed that he wasted a few bullets,” Rizzo said.
“I really don’t put a lot of stock into it just because, early in spring training, pitchers are getting their work in, they don’t really care about what they’re giving up run-wise.
“A lot of times you’re hitting against guys with No. 96 on their back and no name on their jersey, so those numbers are very, very deceiving. What I like to see is how players are swinging, how they’re moving. What’s their energy level? What’s their strength level?
“I really like where Harp is at. He came into spring training as big and strong and physical as I’ve ever seen him. He’s got a good base under himself offensively. He’s working really hard defensively. Obviously, we like where he’s at right now.”