To cope with the end of a crazy, exciting, exhausting rookie campaign, Bryce Harper did two of his favorite things: spend time with those closest to him at home in Las Vegas, and lift weights. He took a month off after the Washington Nationals’ season ended abruptly in October, and then began the offseason routine that altered his already athletic, growing and built body.
The reigning National League rookie of the year reported to spring training nearly 20 pounds heavier than his playing weight at the end of last season, a chiseled, linebacker-sized 6 feet 3, 230 pounds, ready for the physical and mental rigors of his second season in the major leagues.
“I take a lot of pride in my workouts,” he said, sitting in the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium this week. “I work as hard as I can to get ready for the season.”
The Nationals’ grandiose hopes for this season rest, in part, on the broad shoulders and unspeakably high expectations for 20-year-old Harper. As a rookie, he injected life and power into the Nationals’ lineup and, despite some growing pains, helped propel them to their first NL East title. He recorded one of the greatest teenage seasons in baseball history, smashing 22 home runs, posting a .817 on-base plus slugging percentage, scoring 98 runs and evolving into an strong defensive player.
The goal this year, though, is higher. “The World Series is the biggest thing on my mind,” he said.
As for his personal ambitions, Harper has been mum since arriving in Viera for spring training. If he were to share them, he insists, people would think he is crazy.
“More extra-base hits,” Manager Davey Johnson said, jokingly, earlier this week. “Probably with more stolen bases, more runners thrown out. You name it, there’s probably a litany of lists. . . . It’s probably .390 with 50 [home runs]. But whatever I get, I’m going to be happy with.”
Tim Soder, who has trained Harper for the past two offseasons, has heard Harper talk about his personal goals for 2013.
Bryce Harper is bulked up and ready to resume living his dream with the Washington Nationals
Washington Post | Feb 20