Bryce Harper’s underrated day: Three at-bats, three homers

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“Bryce Harper is overrated” has always been a very silly stance to take and it looks particularly silly today because the 22-year-old Nationals right fielder has hit a home run in each of his first three at-bats against the Marlins.

Harper is now hitting .268 with .419 on-base percentage and .567 slugging percentage on the season, including seven home runs and a league-leading 26 walks. He won’t be 23 years old until mid-October and is currently the fourth-youngest player in the National League.

He’s also the third-youngest player in National League history to hit three home runs in a game–trailing only Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott–and the youngest player in either league to homer three times in a game since 1969.

And here’s a list of all the players since 1985 with at least 1,500 plate appearances and an adjusted OPS+ of at least 120 through age 22:

Bryce Harper
Mike Trout
Miguel Cabrera
Alex Rodriguez
Ken Griffey Jr.

UPDATE: Harper failed to homer in his fourth at-bat, settling for an RBI ground out. What a bum.

First homer:

Second homer:

Third homer:

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.