Bryce Harper’s hitting still mostly hasn’t come around. He’s socked a couple impressive dingers recently, but he’s still batting just .229 on the season after putting up another 0-fer Monday night against the Cubs. Ultimately it’ll be his plate production that determines whether the Phillies are getting their money’s worth from his $330 million contract, but in the meantime, it’s helpful when he makes bitchin’ highlight defensive plays out there in the outfield.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, with one out and the bases jacked, Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. smacked a liner to right, more or less right at Harper, giving Harper an opportunity to set himself to make a throw home, where Anthony Rizzo would certainly be headed after tagging at third on the catch. Here’s how that went:
That’s a damn cannon-blast of a throw. The Statcast numbers are impressive—MLB says that ball traveled 264 feet in the air, at 96 miles per hour. Rizzo isn’t the fastest guy in the world, but probably part of why his slide was so screwed up is because under no circumstances was he expecting the ball to beat him to the plate by eight feet. And this play wound up mattering very much. The Cubs got zero runs out of a bases-loaded situation, and the Phillies would go on to win the game by a run, in extras.
Baseball Reference has Bryce as a negative in the field, and Baseball Savant says he’s accounted for exactly zero outs above average as a member of the Phillies. He is not on track to win a Gold Glove out there. But while he’s not producing a ton of runs at the plate, he can at least use that bazooka right arm to wipe one out from time to time in the field.