The Phillies, as you’ve surely noticed, have done a whole lot of nothing recently, losing four straight entering Saturday’s game in Atlanta. But the Phils’ recent swoon hasn’t stopped Bryce Harper from raking as the All-Star outfielder has been a behemoth of late, absolutely feasting in the month of August (.367 AVG with six homers, four steals and 15 RBI). The left-handed-hitting Harper has traditionally struggled against southpaws (.265 career average), but clearly that was not the case Saturday as the former MVP absolutely slaughtered this one-out offering from Braves starter Robbie Erlin.
Harper’s missile to center didn’t just clear the outfield fence—it exited the solar system. Per Statcast, Harper’s first-inning jaw-dropper spanned an estimated 470 feet, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton’s 483-foot blast against Washington for the furthest home run of 2020. Since the Statcast Era began in 2015, only one of Harper’s 171 homers has traveled a longer distance. That was a 473-foot rope off Nick Pivetta (who was traded to Boston Friday in a deal that netted the Phillies Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman) on May 4, 2018. Saturday’s blast off Erlin, who Harper has always had success against (7-for-9 lifetime with eight RBI), represented a 25-foot improvement on his previous best this season, which came against another Braves left-hander—Sean Newcomb—on August 10.
The Braves seem to have learned their lesson about the perils of pitching to Harper, who has walked in each of his last two plate appearances.