Bryce Harper hit one of six home runs for the Nationals last night in an 8-3 victory over the Mariners. In doing so, he joined some impressive company.
Harper is just the 15th player in MLB history to reach 50 career home runs before their age-22 season. It took him 331 games to get there.
Via Baseball Reference, he’s the full list, which includes two other active players:
Mel Ott – 86
Tony Conigliaro – 84
Eddie Matthews – 72
Frank Robinson – 67
Alex Rodriguez – 64
Mike Trout – 62
Ken Griffey, Jr. – 60
Al Kaline – 59
Mickey Mantle – 57
Giancarlo Stanton – 56
Bob Horner – 56
Andruw Jones – 54
Ted Williams – 54
Orlando Cepeda – 52
Bryce Harper – 50
Such a disappointment, that Harper. In all seriousness, imagine how high he’d be on that list if it wasn’t for the injuries over the past two seasons. He’d be near the top, most likely, if not the highest. Still, he’s off to a pretty good start and has plenty of time to meet those lofty expectations.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.