A rare twofer on the BSOHL beat. From the mouth of Ned Yost in Bob Dutton’s notes column from yesterday’s KC Star, talking about how a ton of guys are already in Royals camp despite it still being ten days from the mandatory reporting date:
“There are a ton of position players here, too. Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas — I’m extremely proud of both of those guys. They are in the best shape they’ve been in their career. Billy looks great, and I hardly recognized Moose, he looks so good.”
Of course Mike Moustakas is 23 years-old and has a grand total of five professional seasons under his belt, so I would hope he was pretty close to the best shape of his career as it was. But really, good for him.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.