Will Bryce Harper break any of the MLB’s teenage hitting records?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teen phenom Bryce Harper made his major league debut on April 28 with Washington going one-for-three with a double. There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not Harper will stay with the Nationals for the entire season, but if he does and continues to play as well as he has in his first eight MLB games, he would have a legitimate shot at establishing some new batting records for players in their teen years.

Harper does not turn 20 until October 16, so if he stays with the parent club and stays in the starting lineup, he may join Phil Cavarretta, Robin Yount, Mickey Mantle, and Ken Griffey, Jr., as one of the most successful teenagers in MLB history. Which hitting records for teenagers could Harper challenge? Following is a look a few stats that may have to make room for Harper at the end of this season.

Players that rank in the Top Ten for most hits before their 20th birthday

1. Phil Cavarretta, 295

2. Robin Yount, 235

3. Mel Ott, 209

4. Buddy Lewis, 178

5. Ed Kranepool, 166

6. Sibby Sisti, 164

7. Bob Kennedy, 155

8. Paul Hines, 151

9. Ty Cobb, 149

10. Al Kaline, 146

Although Harper has yet to hit a home run, here are the five teenagers with the most home runs in MLB history

1. Tony Conigliaro, 24; 2. Mel Ott, 19; 3. Phil Cavarretta, 18; 4. Ken Griffey, 16; 5. Mickey Mantle, 13.

Here are the five teenagers with the most RBI

1. Phil Cavarretta, 144; 2. Met Ott, 100; 3. Jimmy Sheckard, 78; 4. Robin Yount, 78; 5. George Davis, 73.

The one category where Harper may challenge a teenager record is doubles. Through Harper’s first eight games and 28 at-bats, he has five doubles. Should he stay with the Nationals for the entire season and get 300 or more at-bats, he could make a run at Phil Cavarretta’s teenage record of 46 doubles in his MLB career before he turned 20.

Did you know? Harper has a .308 batting average as of May 6. The best career batting average of any player before turning 20 was Mel Ott who had a .318 career batting average before he turned 20. Could Harper challenge Ott’s .318 average?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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