Phillies: Bryce Harper names his closest teammates

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper names his closest teammates

More than 500 days have passed since Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper agreed to a franchise record-breaking 13-year, $330 million contract.

It did not take long for him to integrate himself in the Phillies family; early on, we saw the six-time All-Star develop a relationship with every teammate of his in the clubhouse, and that continues today amid summer camp and the imminent 60-game season.

Over the course of Harper’s eight-year career with the Washington Nationals and Phillies, he has played with hundreds of teammates. But, when asked in a recent Rawlings interview to name those who he is most close with, Harper immediately replied, “the whole team.”

But, then, he went on to name a few that stand out, in particular.

“Of course there were some great teammates in D.C. that I played with — [including] Jayson Werth and Rick Ankiel,” Harper said. “I played with a lot of good veterans, [also] Mark DeRosa. I learned a lot of stuff from them as well.”

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Harper noted that now with the Phillies, it is easier for him to communicate with his teammates rather than his days with the Nationals. In part, because he was just a teenager and his early 20s while playing down in D.C.

“I was 19 playing with guys that were 35-36, so it was very tough for me to kind of communicate with those guys and going out or anything like that,” Harper said. “Now, I’m at the point in my life where we’re kind of the same age. We can all hang out and go out together.”

“Our wives can hang out as well; [the Phillies are] such a family-oriented team, so that’s been great.”

Harper went on to call out six Phillies teammates that he enjoys the most, although he repeated that he appreciates all of his teammates. The six include catchers Andrew Knapp and J.T. Realmuto, right-handed pitchers Jake Arrieta and Tommy Hunter, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, and outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

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In regards to Knapp, Harper said he loves walking into the clubhouse and seeing him.

“He’s our DJ, he’s our guy,” Harper said. “He gets us fired up before every single game. He’s always putting on good music, so I really enjoy him.”

Clearly, Harper has been an advocate for the re-signing of Realmuto; in summer camp, he has been seen donning a white Realmuto shirsey, before he audibly yelled “Sign him!” after the catcher hit a home run in an intrasquad game.

Harper calls Realmuto his “favorite player in the world.”

“Everyone knows that. I think he’s the best catcher in baseball. He’s got a great family; he has two beautiful daughters and he’s an amazing husband,” Harper said. “He just is somebody that you just kind of aspire to be, because he goes about [things] the right way every single day.”

The feeling is mutual between the All-Stars, as Realmuto has said he appreciates Harper’s support, but is focusing on the 60-game sprint ahead. Harper went on to call Realmuto, who has been nicknamed the “best catcher in baseball,” as a “true professional.”

“If there’s one guy that’s a true professional that understands the game, it’s him,” Harper said. “He puts down good fingers every single day as well and hits the crap out of the ball each day also.”

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Harper continued that he could go “on and on” about the entire team.

“Jake Arrieta is one of the best I’ve ever been around, Tommy Hunter [too],” Harper continued. “Rhys Hoskins … he just cares about everybody on this team and wants what’s best for everybody. It’s a good clubhouse.”

McCutchen has not only won over Harper, but the entire Phillies fanbase in recent months with his “Uncle Larry” persona. Harper said the fellow outfielder is “one of the most hilarious guys” he has ever been round.

“He’s hilarious,” Harper said. “He’s such a good dude, too. Good family.”

At the end of the day, clearly, Harper has no regrets about his decision to leave D.C. and sign with the Phillies. His family continues to grow, with him and his wife Kayla having their first child last summer, with another on the way. Kayla is happy being in Philadelphia, too.

“My wife is so happy around all the other wives,” Harper said. “They all communicate and they’re all friends.”

“It’s so nice; everything goes hand-in-hand and it’s been so much fun.”