The Washington Nationals were one of the most fun teams to watch in baseball this season. Thanks to a pair of youngsters in pitcher Stephen Strasburg and outfield Bryce Harper, the Nationals garnered national publicity early and then backed up they hype by winning the National League East.
Harper was rewarded with the NL’s Rookie of the Year award on Tuesday, edging out Arizona pitcher Wade Miley. But Harper wasn’t all that interested in talking about his personal goals or achievements.
Bryce Harper joined 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. with Holden and Danny to discuss winning the NL Rookie of the Year award, his favorite moments from this season, what he’s working on in the offseason, how different pitchers worked him as the year wore on, the help he got from Jayson Werth and his goals moving forward.
On what it feels like to be the Rookie of the Year:
“I’m really excited about. The biggest thing to me, seriously, is I like to win. That’s what I’ve always done my whole life. I want to be able to come back and bring a title to D.C. All these accolades and stuff are great, but I’m being dead serious, I love to win and I want to bring that ring back to the town of D.C. and really get that thing going.”
What were some of your favorite moments of your first season?:
“I think the biggest thing is us winning the NL East for the first time, being able to share that with a group of guys that were unbelievable all year. We had a great team that played hard, with a great manager in Davey Johnson. And I really think that winning the NL East and having that for the fans, and bringing that to them, was not only huge for our organization, but huge for the fans. … Everything I went through this year, the ups and downs and goods and bads, it was all just a learning experience and I loved every minute of it.”
What are you most going to work on this offseason?:
“I always think to myself, ‘You can always get better in every aspect.’ So, when I’m working out here, I’m going to lift a lot and try to get as big as I can and try to get faster, and really working on my speed strength. … But also trying to get better reads in the outfield. The biggest thing I want to do is try to steal more bags this next year and try to get better jumps. … Every single year you can learn something new, and every day you can learn something new.”
How much did pitchers evolve in how they pitched to you as your first season wore on?:
“It just depends. There’s going to be teams that pitch me different and teams that pitch me the same. There’s a lot of guys that are good out there, and that’s why they’re in the big leagues. … Sometimes you struggle and sometimes you come up big. Sometimes it’s just a little thing in your swing that you need to fix.”
How much did your veteran teammates help you out in your rookie season?:
“I really think that Jayson Werth was the best guy for me. Werth always wants you to work hard and never wants it easy for you. I really think that having him by my side every single day, him helping me out, it was great. It was a blessing in disguise. It was unbelievable to really have him take me under his wing and teach me these things and tell me when I was being dumb and tell me, ‘Hey that was a smart move.’ … I like brash remarks, so when he tells me, ‘Hey, you look dumb out there,’ I respected that.”
Individually do you set goals, numbers-wise, for yourself going forward?:
“I set my bars really high for myself. That’s something I’ve always done my whole life. I don’t really look at numbers or anything, I really just look at what we’re doing, how we’re winning and things I can do to help this team win. And those things that I have in my mind are things that I keep personal and really see if I can meet that. … At the end of the day, if we have that W, that’s the biggest thing in my book.”