At 22 years old, Bryce Harper still has occasional moments of immaturity on the baseball diamond, but he has grown tremendously in the last year, which comes as a refreshing note for Jayson Werth and the Nationals.
In a candid interview with the Washington Post, Werth explains Harper's development from his point of view in the Nats clubhouse.
"It took some time," Werth said of Harper's maturation. "It's not something that's talked about. There's a public perception of a player and an actual team perception of the player. A lot of guys have tried to take him under their wing -- is that the right expression? Mentor him? … I don't think he was really ready for that. It didn't really register."
Werth believes that Harper's rapid ascension through the minors and into the majors at 19 years old played a big role in his early unreceptiveness of mentorship and bouts of immaturity.
"When you're young or new … these are things I don't think he ever had to learn," Werth said. "He flew through every level, never had time any place to be 'part of the team.' Now he is. He's one of us. He's a great player. And he's one of the guys, too."
Harper is in the midst of a career year, hitting .336/.468/.646 with 34 home runs and 83 RBI through 130 games.
As impressive as Harper's perceptible success has been this season, Werth is equally impressed with the intangibles he's developed as part of his maturation process.
"This year, he's shown the guys in here the intangibles that you think of in an MVP-caliber player," Werth said.
(h/t Washington Post)