VIERA, Fla. -- Despite coming off a historic season and being named the youngest unanimous MVP in the history of major league baseball, Bryce Harper still doesn't see himself as one of the leaders of the Washington Nationals.
"I don't think I'm a leader," said Harper, who addressed media in the Space Coast Stadium dugout on Monday morning. "I think I'm more just a guy playing the game. I think J-Dub [Jayson Werth] and Zimm [Ryan Zimmerman] and all those guys are the leaders, those guys that are going to go about it every single day and do the things that they think is right for this team."
Manager Dusty Baker echoed Harper's sentiments.
"He has leadership potential, but he's not a leader yet," the Nats' new skipper said of his 23-year old star outfielder. "How many people are going to follow the youngest kid in the room? And just because you're the most talented doesn't mean that you're the leader. I don't think it's really fair to even put that on him. I think he has some good examples for the day when he does take over a leadership role because he's learned how from J-Dub and from [Max] Scherzer, from Zimmerman, and I think he's learned some things from [Jonathan] Papelbon. I've always said that leaders are anointed, they're not appointed."
Last season, Harper led the majors in on-base percentage and slugging, becoming the third-youngest player since 1900 to top the majors in both categories, behind only Ty Cobb and Stan Musial. Harper also tied for the NL lead in homers, finished second in batting and was a Gold Glove finalist.
Harper, who is the sixth-youngest player on Washington's 40-man roster, is entering his fifth season in the big leagues. That makes him the 16th longest-tenured member of the current Nationals. Werth, a 13-year veteran, is the team's most experienced player, followed by offseason signee Oliver Perez, Papelbon and Zimmerman.