Yesterday, we learned that a universal DH was among the proposed ideas sent between the MLB and MLBPA. As the news has circulated, the famous DH-or-no-DH arguments have been had. Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard decided to jump in with his take:
Syndergaard has four career home runs, three of which came in 2016. The only other full-time pitchers with more home runs since the start of the 2015 season are Madison Bumgarner (11), Jake Arrieta (six), and Michael Lorenzen (six). Adam Wainwright is tied with Syndergaard at four in the last five years.
Syndergaard, in fact, hit two home runs in one game on May 11, 2016 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Bumgarner hit two in one game on April 2, 2017 against the Diamondbacks. Before those two, the last pitcher to smack two dingers in a game was the D-Backs’ Micah Owings on August 18, 2007 against the Braves. A pitcher has homered twice in a game just eight times since 2000.
It is fun to watch a pitcher occasionally crank out a long ball or two. That being said, Bumgarner is considered to be the best-hitting pitcher and he owns a career .540 OPS. Last season, the worst OPS among qualified hitters was Chris Davis at .539.
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.