Bryce Harper will likely participate in home run derbies some day, but he'll have to wait at least another year. National League captain Matt Kemp has revealed he does not plan on selecting the 19-year-old for the upcoming July 9 showcase.
Kemp explained his decision to Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today:
"It's not because he's a rookie. It's just that there are other guys out there that are capable,'' he said.
Kemp says he based his decision on the fact Harper's home run stats don't qualify him as one of the best sluggers in the league.
"That's how I got in last year,'' Kemp said. "I had a lot of home runs in the first half. So you have to take that into consideration.''
Based on numbers, you can't really argue with Kemp. Harper has seven homers on the year with isn't even in the top 50 of National League hitters. He actually ranks third on his own team as Adam LaRoche leads with 15 and Ian Desmond slots ahead with 11.
Despite the statistical evidence, however, many around the league were holding out hope Harper would be selected for the derby. Along with Mike Trout, Harper represents the single biggest story of baseball this season. Rarely has the league witnessed two players play so well this young as major leaguers. It would have been special to see Harper take hacks in Kansas City at 19, but Kemp does present a valid case. There's always next year.
ATLANTA -- R.A. Dickey frustrated Washington with his knuckleball for eight innings, Ozzie Albies had three hits and the Atlanta Braves beat the Nationals 3-2 on Thursday night.
After Ryan Zimmerman's leadoff homer in the second inning, the 42-year-old Dickey gave up only one hit -- a two-out single by Trea Turner in the third -- over the next five innings. Turner was picked off first base.
Dickey (10-10) gave up two runs, four hits and no walks. He made a strong case that the Braves should pick up his $8 million club option for 2018.
Zimmerman lined his homer into the left-field seats, tying the game at 1. He set a career high with his 34th homer, his fourth off Dickey this season.
Arodys Vizcaino struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances. It was a strong return to form after Vizcaino walked all three batters he faced in a blown save Wednesday night.
The Braves scored two runs in the fourth off Tanner Roark (13-10). Albies singled, moved to third on catcher Matt Wieters' wild pickoff attempt and scored the go-ahead run on Freddie Freeman's fly ball to deep left field. Nick Markakis doubled past Zimmerman at first base and scored on Johan Camargo's single up the middle.
The Nationals trimmed the Braves' lead to one in the eighth. Anthony Rendon doubled to left field and scored on Wieters' two-out single.
Ender Inciarte continued his push for 200 hits when he led off the first with a triple to right field. It was his 191st hit, the third-highest total in the majors. Inciarte scored on Albies' single.
The game was delayed several minutes in the middle of the eighth. There was confusion as Nationals manager Dusty Baker attempted to make several defensive changes and had to go over the changes with home plate umpire Nic Lentz, who also took questions from Braves manager Brian Snitker.
Ryan Zimmerman's resurgent season continues to get more and more impressive.
Zimmerman hit his 34th home run of the season on Thursday night, setting a new career high.
His previous career high was set in 2009, when he hit 33 while slashing .292/.364/.525 with a .888 OPS.
He didn't get cheated on it, either:
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