This is how the Bryce Harper story began.
In 2012, the Washington Nationals jumped to a surprisingly great start. Prior to the season, most MLB experts did not expect the team to contend. Fans enjoyed the early success, but they also salivated with anticipation that Bryce Harper, a “once in a generation” talent drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLB draft, was sitting in the minor leagues. With no warning, the team calls up Harper to the big leagues, too early in the opinion of MLB experts (the same experts who didn’t expect the team to contend). Harper immediately makes a difference. He electrifies the team with his glove and his bat. His youthful enthusiasm fires up a fan base that hadn’t seen a playoff appearance, or even a winning season, in a very long time. The Nationals make the playoffs before losing a heartbreaking playoff series in 5 games. For 2013, Harper’s second year, expectations are limitless. He doesn’t disappoint by putting up MVP-caliber numbers in April and May. The Washington Nationals franchise truly has a franchise player.
That’s the Bryce Harper story.
It’s also the Manny Machado story. Just replace words Washington Nationals with Baltimore Orioles and Bryce Harper with Manny Machado. It works. Trust me.
Sports Illustrated profiled Manny Machado in April, but he didn’t make the cover like Bryce Harper, which is oddly appropriate because Machado has largely been in the shadow of Harper since the beginning.
Look at the similarities.
- Harper and Machado were both drafted in the 2010 MLB draft. Harper first overall and Machado third.
- Harper and Machado were teammates, and roommates, during the 2009 Pan American junior championships winning a Gold Medal for Team USA
- Both made their MLB debut in 2012, Harper in April, Machado in August
- Both are 20 years old
When Machado was promoted to the majors last August, his first phone call was to his mother. While talking to his mom, he received another call–from Bryce Harper.
“Welcome to the Show, Bro,” he said. “Battle for D.C./Baltimore supremacy: It’s on.”