The first professional sign of struggle from Bryce Harper — the first indication that major league baseball cannot be conquered at age 19 — has drawn from him a new feature: defiance.

It doesn't come from anger, but rather self-assurance. He ignores the numbers and says he is not in a slump. He mentioned that he felt "all over the place" at the plate last week, and later he was asked to further explain what he meant. "I feel good now," he said. "I don't really want to talk about that."