The Philadelphia Phillies will play in Washington Sunday morning in a game that can be streamed on Peacock starting at 12:00 pm ET. This is a great chance to test the two main talents in the game, Bryce Harper as well as John Soto.
Harper is the current National League MVP after a season in which he hit .615 and had an OPS of 1.044.
Harper’s, OPS and OPS+ penetration is slightly higher this year. Not yet 30 years old, his career .920 OPS and 144 OPS+ puts him in the player’s stratosphere. Entering Thursday, Harper is hitting .364/.444/.675 with 6 HR, 19 RBI over his last 20 games. And this weekend, Bryce will play the Washington D.C. team with the most home runs in baseball.
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While his offensive performance is still spot on, he has been limited to a striker role due to right elbow strain. To say the Phillies need him in the outfield is an understatement.
One thing is missing from Bryce’s resume. He hasn’t played in the postseason since joining the Phillies in 2019. Harper has played in four postseason series and his teams are 0–4.
Even worse, the team he left, the Nationals, won the World Series in 2019, the first season since he left.
One of the main reasons Washington won the World Series was the performance of 20-year-old Juan Soto. Soto was second in 2018 in Rookie of the Year voting behind Ronald Akuna Jr. Soto finished second in last year’s NL MVP voting behind his former teammate Harper.
Juan Soto’s production has dropped this year, and for good reason. There is absolutely no reason to serve him and let him hit you. He leads the majors on walks. A lot of. On Thursday, Soto passed 52 times (pace 130). Kyle Schwarber of the Nationals is second in MLB with 40 walks.
Soto was sidelined for a second game in a row on June 15 after hitting his right knee on the corner of the bench on June 13. What a disappointing season.
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Maybe the Washington Nationals will figure out how to surround Soto with talent and find the resources to keep him for a long time. It’s hard to forget how important he was to the 2019 championship. In the World Series against Houston, Soto batted .333 (9-27 AB) with 3 HR, 7 RBI, .741 SLG and 1.178 OPS. He only had 20 bases in seven games. His fifth inning homer is away Justin Verlander put the Nats in first place in game 6. He hit base three times in game 7.
Bryce Harper never competed in the World Series. He never appeared in the championship. Before the 2019 season, he signed a whopping 13-year, $330 million contract. At the time of signing, it was the most lucrative contract in baseball history.
Although Harper would remain in Philadelphia for the rest of the decade, Soto avoided arbitration by signing a $17.1 million contract running through 2022.
Perhaps it is Soto who will sign the most lucrative contract in the history of baseball. For now, two old teammates will meet this weekend in Washington.
It must be frustrating for both that division rival Atlanta wins the 2021 World Series. It must be very frustrating to see the Mets break into first place in 2022 and have the resources to spend whatever it takes to win.
Both are great talents and will be presented on Sunday. And the Phillies have won 11 of 13 since Wednesday afternoon’s victory over the Marlins. Fangraphs puts the Fightin Phils’ odds of making the playoffs at just over 35%.
And the Phillies even have a 2.5% chance of winning the World Series.
It would be great to see Bryce on the biggest stage. It seems like he was always there.
Today is Father’s Day baseball… and we’re giving you… a tie.
One player averages heart rate every 18.16 balls during his career. Another player averages heart rate every 17.25 at-bats.
One player has a career OPS+ of 140. Another player has a career OPS+ of 137.
First Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. The second player is his sonVladimir Guerrero Jr.
When Vlad Jr. retires, there’s no reason to think his offensive record will be much different from that of his father, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018 in his second year of eligibility.
Tie for Father’s Day.
And what a tie!
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Vladimir, father, was born on February 9, 1975 in Nizao, Dominican Republic, where Guerrero played baseball barefoot as a youth, using a stick for a bat and lemons wrapped in rags for balls. He was literally homeless for a while, as a result of a hurricane that blew the roof off his small family home, leaving seven family members in two beds in a tiny room. According to a 2002 article by Dan Le Batard in ESPN: The Magazine, the family drank from puddles.
Vladimir, son, was born on March 16, 1999. At the time, the new father had established himself as one of the brightest stars in the game, albeit for a poor Expos team. Vlad will retire from the Hall of Fame in 2011, earning over $125 million playing major tournaments.
My father had no money for a bat or a ball. The son was born, figuratively speaking, on third base.
Earlier this season, on April 13, Vlad had a signature game against the Yankees in New York. He went 4-4 AB, including three home runs and a double in a 6-4 win.
Vlad the Elder never did this to the Yankees. But oh my god, could he be a problem for the Bronx Bombers.
Vlad Sr. played in the playoffs against the Yankees in 2005, 2009, and 2010. All he did in 17 postseason games against New York was .324. He batted .333 in the 2005 Division Series with the Angels, who eliminated the Yankees. He scored 3 tries in the 2010 ALCS decisive Game 6 for the Rangers, which eliminated the Yankees. He batted .370 (10-27 AB) with HR and .985 OPS in the 2009 ALCS, a series the Yankees won.
The Yankees once had to contend with Vladimir Guerrero, an unconventional five-tool player who was electrifying. And now they have to face his son – in the same division.
When all is said and done, I’m not sure there will be many differences between Vlad the father and Vlad the son.
Tie for Father’s Day.
Look at other great father-son combinations in MLB history. Usually one is much better. On the Blue Jays, infielder Cavan Biggio is in its fourth season. No one will ever mistake the back of his baseball card for his father.Craig Bigio.
Bobby Bonds was an amazing player (OPS+ 129) but was not close to his son Barry (OPS+182). Even if you discount (or discard) everything after 1998, Barry was much better (OPS+ 164 for the 1998 season).
Ken Griffey was a very, very good player, but not close to his son Ken Griffey Jr.along with Barry Bonds, the best player of the 1990s.
Dante Bichette He had a very good career, which could have been even better if not for the injuries. In 1995, he finished second in MVP voting. Barry Larkin. Bichette hit .630 and scored 40 points that season. Of course, 31 out of 40 homers came to Coors Field. That season, Dante hit .755 at home with 1.153 OPS and hit .473 with .802 OPS on the road. Last year shortstop Jays Beau Bichette hit 29 home runs. Bo’s strength has declined this year and it’s unlikely he’ll ever reach 40 points in a season.
The only combination of father and son, who each played more than 40 seasons in their careers besides Guerrero, were the Fielders. Cecil Fielder as well as Prince Fielder each had a 50 hour season.
Prince Fielder had 50 HR in 2007. Cecil had 51 HR in 1990.
Toronto had a winning April (14–8), a winning May (14–12) and a winning June (9–5) so far. They may not catch up with the Yankees in the division, but they will almost certainly be a playoff team.
And if the Yankees have to fight Vladimir Guerrero again in the postseason — this time with his son — then watch out for New York.
Not all major league players have fathers who played in the major leagues. Obviously, most do not. Phillies shortstop Didi Greorius grew up in Curacao. Both his older brother Johnny and his father played baseball for the Curacao national team.
Some fathers don’t play baseball but pass on their love for the game. Phyllis Rhys Hoskins originally from Sacramento, and his father Paul grew up a big fan of Willie Mays.
Not every man or woman who works in baseball has a father who is experienced or passionate about the game. My own dad Lenny Kalb, a man of many, varied interests, but baseball is not one of them. He really thought it was important to introduce me to the game at a young age. And when he took me to my first game – at Dodger Stadium – probably in the summer of 1970 – it was shortly after he and my mom took me and my siblings to Disneyland for the first time. As I entered the gates of Dodger Stadium, I had one thought that has not left my mind all these years. “Why on earth do they call Disneyland ‘Magic Kingdom’.
Happy Father’s Day, dad.
How to watch Philadelphia Phillies vs Washington Nationals on Peacock
- When: Sunday, June 19
- Where: National park in Washington DC
- Time: 12:00 PM ET (Live starts at 11:30 PM)
- Live Stream: Watch Live on Peacock
Father’s Day is here and NBC Sports has gift ideas for you this year.