bryce harper denard span comments lineup nationals

bryce harper denard span comments lineup nationals

Published Aug. 10, 2014 11:15 p.m. ET

I'€™m voting for Bryce Harper for Manager of the Year. We roasted him for his comments, but he is a genius motivator. This kid is spectacularly talented; now we know he'€™s brilliant too.

Let'€™s travel back to the end of June, when Harper hypothetically removed Denard Span from the lineup.

"€œI think [Zimmermann] should be playing left,"€ Harper said. "€œRendon's a good third baseman. He should be playing third. We'€™ve got one of the best second basemen in the league in Danny Espinosa. Of course, we want the best-hitting lineup in there."

Roughly ten days later, Denard became the best player in baseball. No, I mean it. He has been more valuable than any other player. Over the last 30 days, Span is tied for the major-league lead in WAR with Josh Harrison. This value isn't coming from sketchy defensive metrics, either. He'€™s gotten on base nearly 50% of the time over 1/6 of the season. Ridiculous.


So, did Harper'€™s comments fire Span up? Does he visualize Bryce'€™s face as he strolls to the dish? Not likely. He was already a good baseball player, and boy, has he been lucky. His batting average on balls in play over the last month is .473, significantly higher than his .321 career mark.

It'€™s still fun to fantasize about Harper knowing the precise motivational tactic to take with Span. What a spectacular spin. I'm rolling with it.