Twenty-two years, two-hundred and thirty-seven days. That is the age of Bryce Harper today on June 10, 2015. Twenty-two years, ninety days. That is the age of Jacob Lindgen, rookie pitcher for the New York Yankees.
This afternoon in the Bronx, the two youngsters faced off. The at-bat in the seventh inning brought an end to a great Bryce Harper fun fact. Lindgren is the first pitcher younger than Harper to face the Washington Nationals’ outfielder. It took over five years and 2,300 professional plate appearances, but Harper finally faced a pitcher born after him.
When Harper made his debut on April 28, 2012, Lindgren was still pitching for Mississippi State University. Harper ended up flying out to left against the Yankees’ 2014 second round draft pick. That gives him a career .000 batting average against pitchers born after October 16, 1992. Harper does have a .280 batting average and a .498 slugging percentage against everyone older than him, so don’t get down on the likely National League MVP just yet.
There is only one other pitcher younger than Harper that he is likely to face the rest of the season, and that is Aaron Nola, the Philadelphia Phillies’ first round pick last year. Nola is 7-3 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts at the Double-A level this season. If Cole Hamels winds up getting traded, you would have to think the Phillies would give Nola a chance in the Majors. Nola was nearly ready for the big leagues after being drafted as a college junior, and has been impressive in 23 minor league games. Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox and Lance McCullers of the Astros are long shots, as Harper would have to face them in the World Series at this point. Brandon Finnegan of the Royals is another candidate should the Nationals and Royals make it that far. Finnegan and the Royals probably have the best chance to meet up with Harper’s Nationals in the Fall Classic.
We knew it had to come to an end eventually, but Harper and this fun fact had a great run. Just goes to show you how incredibly young Harper was when he made his Major League debut. The next player who may have a similar streak is Julio Urias of the Dodgers, who is 18-years-old and at the Double-A level and has a career 2.53 ERA and has struck out over 11 per nine innings since signing as a 16-year-old.