bill-swift - March 21, 2012
Fantasy GMs might want to rethink part of their draft strategy. Word has come down from the Nationals organization that the next great slugger in the MLB is not quite ready for the Show just yet.
Last year's top draft pick, hard-hitting junior college catcher Bryce Harper, has been sent back down to the minors to get more seasoning as he makes the transition from behind the plate to centerfield.
Bryce came into camp with a shot at making the Big Club, but did not show the team enough to warrant a spot on the roster for opening day. In 28 at-bats the 19-year old slugger hit .286 with a pair of walks and 11 strikeouts, but the team did not see enough of the power that they drafted him for (zero home runs) to give him that shot right now.
Baseball has always been in the cards for Harper. Rather than graduate high school like most kids he got his GED so that he could start playing JUCO ball and be eligible for the 2010 amateur draft. In the process he gave scouts something to think about.
While playing for the College of Southern Nevada he hit 31 home runs in 66 games, crushing the schools previous record of 12. At the 2010 National JC Athletic Association World Series he made scouts drool when he hit for the cycle in one game (6 for 7 with 5 RBIs) and then went 6-6 with four home runs in another game.
While his raw talent is unquestioned, Harper is living proof that there is a reason why kids need to stay in school and grow up some before entering the working world. In a Class A start he blew a kiss at a pitcher after hitting a home run off of him. He's been trying to get rappers to put his name in a song. His interviews could definitely use some work too.
"Yesterday, I don't know what happened with that, so, you know, Heyman," Harper said. "But I'm for sure trying to make this club. I want to frickin' go up there, try and win. I've never had that mentality to say, ‘Ah, probably not.' Or, ‘Ah, I don't want to make the club.' So I'm shooting to be one of the top of the top 25 guys on this team and get up there to D.C. and try to win. That's my main goal."
If Kevin Costner would be willing to play Crash Davis for the Nationals with Bryce Harper while he's in Syracuse this boy could sure use some manly advice (just no Susan Sarandon please). He could at least teach him how to put on eye-black and breathe out of his eye lids.
Article by Travis Pulver
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