When Bryce Harper was chosen by the Washington Nationals as the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, he had played for most of his amateur career as a catcher.

In just three-plus years, it’s safe to say he’s picked up the nuances of the outfield fairly well.

On Friday against the Kansas City Royals, Nationals closer Rafael Soriano had given up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull the Royals within one run, 11-10. With a runner on first and just one out, Justin Maxwell lofted a fly ball to short right field. 

At first glance, it looked like the ball would drop. But Harper was having none of that.

His tremendous play was a huge out, and Soriano was able to induce another fly ball to left fielder Tyler Moore for the final out.

But no question it was Harper’s valiant effort that saved the day for the Nationals. 

It was Harper’s comments following the game that indicate exactly how he approaches the game, and especially how he reacts when the game is on the line. 

It’s that attitude that has endeared Harper to his legions of fans in the metro-D.C. area, not to mention the many other sterling defensive efforts over the past two seasons.

The game-saving catch on Friday allowed the Nationals to pull back to the .500 mark, now 8.5 games out of the wild-card chase in the National League. 

If the Nationals were to pull a rabbit out of their hat and complete a stunning comeback, they can certainly look back at this catch as a turning point for sure.


Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com