Time for your “how does Bryce Harper compare to the best 19-year-olds ever?” update


Bryce Harper has recovered from the first extended slump of his career by going 14-for-35 (.400) with five homers in his last nine games, so it seems like a good time to check back in on how he compares to the best 19-year-olds in baseball history.

First up, OPS:

                    YEAR      OPS
Mel Ott             1928     .921
Tony Conigliaro     1964     .883
Mickey Mantle       1951     .792
Cesar Cedeno        1970     .790
BRYCE HARPER        2012     .783
Freddie Lindstrom   1925     .761
Edgar Renteria      1996     .757
Ty Cobb             1906     .749
Ken Griffey Jr.     1989     .748
Buddy Lewis         1936     .746

You know you’re doing some pretty big things when you’re looking down on Ken Griffey Jr. and Ty Cobb while being one good week from moving past Mickey Mantle.

Harper has scored 79 runs, which is the second-most ever by a 19-year-old behind only Buddy Lewis with 100 in 1936. He also ranks third among all 19-year-olds in homers with 17, extra-base hits with 44, walks with 47, and Isolated Power at .192.

And last but not least: Mel Ott in 1928 is the only 19-year-old in the history of baseball with more plate appearances and a higher OPS than Harper has right now. Toss in his defense and “ferocious baserunning” and Harper is also tied with Ott for the highest Wins Above Replacement (WAR) total ever for a 19-year-old position player at 3.7.

I feel sorry for all the people who decided to immediately hate Bryce Harper forever, because they’re missing one helluva player.

Royals sign Clay Buchholz to minor league deal

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Royals have signed pitcher Clay Buchholz to a minor league deal. Buchholz will earn a $1.5 million salary if he makes the club’s major league roster and can earn an additional $250,000 through incentives. Buchholz has an opt-out date set for May 1, which means if he isn’t on the Royals’ 25-man roster by then, he can request his release.

Buchholz, 33, was acquired by the Phillies from the Red Sox in December 2016, but he made only two starts before an MRI revealed he had a partial tear of his right flexor pronator mass. He underwent surgery in April and missed the rest of the season.

The Royals recently lost Jesse Hahn, who was diagnosed with a sprained right UCL. Buchholz would likely be in consideration for a rotation spot if another starter were to suffer an injury. Presently, the Royals’ rotation appears set with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Jake Junis, and Nate Karns.