"I don't even think about home runs," said Brett Harper. ""I've always been a good .300 hitter so I just think about getting base hits, hitting doubles and driving runs in."
In a 2005 split season between Binghamton and high-A St. Lucie, Harper combined for a .277 average, 36 home runs, 22 doubles, and 102 RBI - which led all Mets minor leaguers. Now batting clean up this season, teammates don't expect Harper's bat to cool down anytime soon.
"He's going to drive in 100 runs and hit 35 home runs. He's always going to do his thing [offensively]," said shortstop Corey Ragsdale who bats behind Harper in the lineup. "I'm definitely going to see more scoring and better hitting opportunities because of him."
Harper's power will be looked upon heavily to lead Binghamton's offense. His leadership though doesn't stop on the field.
"Obviously, Brett is one of the leaders on this ball club," said B-Mets Manager Juan Samuel. "He is very vocal, he talks a lot in the clubhouse, sometimes we even have to tell him to shut up."
Harper saw his career advance to new levels this spring, as he was a non-roster invitee to his first ever Major League spring training. With the Mets in Port St. Lucie, the first baseman observed what it takes to make it to the big leagues.
"It was amazing, I learned a lot of from the guys, the little things that it takes to get there," said Harper, an Arizona native. "Everyone here is not too far away from being in the big leagues."
However, as with any minor league prospect, they're setbacks that prevent a player from advancing. In Harper's case, things aren't any different.
"From what I hear it's just his defense that's probably keeping him from moving up," said Samuel.
Being one of the top sluggers in the farm system, Harper understands his offense alone will not carry him into the big leagues. Rather his defense must improve to be a well-rounded major leaguer.
"I worked a lot on my defense this off-season, because that's a big part in playing National League baseball," said Harper. "I worked on my footwork, getting my feet quicker, jumping rope and doing agilities."
No one expects Harper's defense setbacks to affect his attitude. Confident in hitting Major League pitching, the son of retired Twins catcher Brain Harper, fully expects to have an impact within the Mets' depth chart.
"He's a gamer, the one guy that he reminds me of at that position is a guy like Will Clark," said hitting coach John Valentin. "But Will was a very good defensive first baseball man, not to say Brett isn't, but we are in Double AA and there's something that we all have to improve on."
Harper Focused On Defense
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