Scout Hot Sheet May 4-10: Bryce Harper

A pair of multi-home run games and a big league-best 13 RBIs net Bryce Harper his first Player of the Week nod this season, as he lifts his batting average more than 40 points over the course of the past six games.

They call him “The Natural,” and, really, for Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, the only thing missing from the past week were the exploding light standards.

Harper – who came into the week hitting .261 – exploded in his past six games, despite an inauspicious start.

In his first two games last week, Harper went a combined 0-for-6, with two walks and two strikeouts, dipping his season average to .245.

But, after the first two games against the Miami Marlins were out of the way, Harper started mashing. In his past four games, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder out of Las Vegas has gone 10-for-16, clubbing six home runs and driving in 13 RBIs, lifting his season average to .300.

Over the past seven days, Harper has posted a .455 average – seventh in the major leagues for qualifying players – and his .520 on-base percentage is tied for sixth in the bigs. Harper’s 1.318 slugging percentage, though, far out-paces the rest of the majors, with second-place Marlon Byrd coming in at .952. Harper’s OPS over the past week of games is 1.838 -- .350 ahead of the second-place Byrd in that department.

Harper’s six home runs and 13 RBIs each were tops in the majors this past week, while his 10 hits were tied for eighth. Thanks to those six jacks, Harper tallied an absurd 29 total bases, six ahead of second-place Anthony Rizzo’s 23. Harper averaged 1.16 bases per plate appearance, adding three walks.

In fact, Harper leads all of baseball with 27 free passes this season, and his 11 homes are second in the bigs, and first in the National League, trailing only Seattle's Nelson Cruz for the Major League lead. With those 13 runs driven in, Harper now owns 28 on the season -- the second-most in The Show, behind Adrian Gonzalez and Giancarlo Stanton's 29 apiece.

In the third game against Miami in the nation’s capital, Harper homered in each of his first three at-bats, his sixth multi-home run game of his career. Harper got things off to a rousing start in the second inning, punishing a 1-1 pitch from Marlins righty Tom Koehler over the left field wall for his first longball of the day, cutting an early Miami lead to 2-1.

An inning later, Harper hit a moon shot into the second deck in right center to stake the Nationals to a 4-2 lead. In the fifth, Harper completed the trifecta with a solo shot into the right field upper deck.

Harper came up q bit short in his fourth at-bat, grounding out to second, but still drove in Denard Span to give the Nationals a 7-2 lead.

Harper’s next game, a home tilt against the Atlanta Braves, wasn’t quite as much of a home run derby for Harper, but was a night for longballs in the District, as Washington slugged five balls over the walls, with Harper accounting for two, in a 9-2 win over the Braves.

Like the Marlins the night before, the Braves sprinted out to an early 2-0 lead, but after a solo shot by Jayson Werth in the fourth, Harper gave the Nationals the lead with a two-run bomb off of lefty Eric Stults. Harper followed that up with a three-run job in the eighth off of reliever Williams Perez, as Washington scored all nine of its runs on home runs.

Harper notched another dinger in a 2-for-4 performance against Atlanta on May 9, and went a rather pedestrian 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, which came on a first-inning double to score Yunel Escobar.

During Harper’s big week, Washington went 5-1, pulling to within 3.5 games of the first-place New York Mets. Over the past 10 games, the Nationals have gone 8-2, while the Mets have fallen back to the pack, going 5-5 after a 15-6 start.

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