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Bryce Harper Faces Stephen Strasburg

Bryce Harper Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals

What would happen if Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg actually faced off?

It’s not often that a live batting practice session draws so much attention. When it involves two of the most highly touted prospects in baseball history that have never faced each other, the session becomes a little more interesting. Bryce Harper stepped into the box to face Stephen Strasburg during a morning workout on Wednesday at Nationals’ camp.

The routine of the live pitching is for a group of hitters to rotate while a pitcher throws off the mound. It is not a regular round of batting practice where the pitcher (or coach) lobs the ball in and the hitters swing for the fences. The live round is more for seeing pitches and treating it like an at-bat in an actual game. There is no running out of the box or end result of a play – each hitter gets a set number of pitches regardless if he swings or not.

Such a drill is beneficial for both hitters and pitchers.  For the pitchers, it gives them a chance to throw their pitches at full speed off of a mound while facing a batter in the box.  There is a screen in front of the pitcher for his protection, and the idea is to get work in while allowing a hitter to see the live pitches.  For the batter, the drill is a chance to see live pitching and get the timing of the velocity down.  Especially before the first game of Spring Training, timing is critical and cannot be practiced enough.

 

 

Harper happened to get ten pitches from Strasburg. He swung at three; Harper whiffed at two and lined the other into the outfield. What does this mean? Nothing really. Although Strasburg was throwing live off the mound, it wasn’t a game. Even if it was, there’s not much to take away from it. The two are teammates.Stephen Strasburg was the top pick in the 2009 draft and Bryce Harper went number one overall a year later. Both players could be considered the face of the Washington franchise, and both have dealt with injuries early on in their careers. This could be the season where both are healthy and propel the Nationals into contention for a World Series.

Bryce Harper whiff

Despite the anxious fans that lined the fences to watch the anticipated matchup, it was nothing more than a photo opportunity and a little entertainment. If either Harper or Strasburg leave the Nationals in the future and they face each other on opposite teams, then we’ll have something to watch for.  

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