Bryce Harper on facing Livan Hernandez: “It sucks”

14 Comments

Livan Hernandez got the best of Bryce Harper in their first matchup last night, as the 19-year-old rookie swung wildly at an incredibly slow curveball from the 37-year-old veteran and whiffed.

Harper’s eyes lit up when he saw the 65-mph pitch coming to the plate and you could tell he wanted to hit it approximately 1,000 feet. And when he got another chance later in the game, he did.

In their second matchup Hernandez tried to throw a 78-mph slider past Harper and it ended up deep in the right field seats for the phenom’s fourth career homer.

After the Nationals victory Harper shared his thought process for facing Hernandez with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

I was just looking for something I could drive. Livo throws really slow. You’re going to have wait back and try to get something up that you can drive out of the park or drive up the middle or the left side. He left something up, and I got it.

And when asked about facing Hernandez in general, Harper amusingly replied:

It sucks. I don’t like facing guys like that. I’d rather face a hard lefty or something like that. I don’t like facing slow guys. It’s not very fun.

And yet with the homer Harper is now hitting .287 with a .376 on-base percentage and .525 slugging percentage through 27 games at age 19, including four homers and 13 total extra-base hits in 101 at-bats. To say he’s living up to the incredible hype would be an understatement.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.