He plays too hard. He doesn't play hard enough. Amid the constant debate surrounding Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, let's not forget that he is 21, the youngest player in the majors. He would be the youngest player on the Nationals' Triple-A club and the youngest on their Double-A club, as well.

Let's also not forget this: Harper, at 6-foot-3, 229 pounds, is not your normal 21-year-old. His agent, Scott Boras, compares Harper's body to a "very big engine" — an engine that isn't easy to steer, manage or otherwise control.

Yes, Harper ripped up his thumb sliding headfirst into third base Friday night, suffering an injury that will sideline him until July. But, please, let's not turn this into another referendum on how the kid plays the game.

Youngsters who see themselves as invincible — Harper, the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig, et al — aren't the only players who slide headfirst. Respected veterans such as Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Philadelphia's Chase Utley hurt themselves doing the exact same thing. The Angels' Mike Trout, the yin to Harper's yang, said he will not abandon the practice because it is something he has always done.