Bryce Harper joined Ken Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones, and B.J. Upton as the only 19-year-olds to bat third in a big-league game since 1980, but now he’s on the move in the Nationals’ lineup again.
Harper, who debuted as a No. 7 hitter before shifting to the No. 3 slot, is batting No. 2 tonight because Ryan Zimmerman is off the disabled list and back is his usual third spot.
Using that same since-1980 cutoff, the only previous 19-year-olds to bat second in an MLB game are Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Jones, Griffey, and Upton. Not quite as exclusive in terms of company, but Harper is once again linked with some pretty big names.
Following a dominant 5-1 win to clinch the National League Championship Series on Saturday night, the Dodgers named outfielder Cody Bellinger their MVP of the series.
Bellinger, 23, made noise when it mattered. Entering Saturday’s game, he carried a meager .190/.227/.238 batting line with just four hits and two RBI, but his hits in Games 4 and 7 became the difference-makers the Dodgers needed to keep pace with the Brewers and clinch the NL pennant. In Game 4, it was Bellinger’s 13th-inning base hit off of Junior Guerra that put the Dodgers over the top for the walk-off 2-1 win. The outfielder returned to put the finishing touches on the series with a go-ahead home run — his first of the postseason — in the second inning of Game 7.
Bellinger wrapped his second season in the Dodgers’ organization in 2018, slashing .260/.343/.470 with 25 home runs, an .814 OPS, and 3.6 fWAR across 632 PA and all 162 games. He’s the youngest Dodgers player to receive the award to date.