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Is it a lock that the Nats will draft Harper?

Mar 12, 2010, 2:15 PM EDT

Bryce Harper cover small.jpgDave Shenin of the Washington Post doesn’t think so, and offers several
reasons why what everyone things to be a foregone conclusion is not
necessarily forgone.

Among the reasons: Harper hasn’t “separated himself” from the pack like
Strasburg did; He may not stick at catcher, thus diminishing his value;
He’s a Boras client, thus inflating his price; his recent comments
about “second guessing” his fast track to the draft may make people
question his makeup; the Nats have a catching prospect already, in the
form of Derek Norris — he doesn’t mention Jesus Flores, but he’s worth
noting too; and the Nats may contend in 2011, so they might want a more
finished product than Harper.

Those are mostly decent points, though each has a counterargument or two. The one about makeup can go either way,
of course, in that his decision to skip two years of high school, in my
mind at least, raises just as many questions about his maturity and
mental preparedness as his statements showing a lack of confidence now
that he has done so. I’m also not terribly worried about whether he’ll
stick at catcher given that he appears to have a bat that is simply
awesome, not just awesome for a catcher.  Not as valuable at, say,
right field as he is behind the plate, but his bat will play anywhere.

The biggest problem, Shenin notes, is that no other great first round
option has emerged yet.  Some people think differently, and point to
high school pitcher Jameson Taillon, but a high school pitcher, even a
great one, is farther away from the big league level than a hitter like
Harper, so his pluses work against some of the same considerations
Shenin mentions above.

And ultimately Shenin admits that he may be over thinking things.  I think he may be right.

  1. Joe L - Mar 12, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    He’s overthinking it. My cousin played against Griffey Jr. in high school, and told us at the time that he was the best player anyone had ever seen, was miles better than everyone else, and would be a huge star in the bigs. Does anyone remember how much Griffey was “overpaid” coming straight from high school (at age 17 no less)? It was $160,000, which was up there at the time (not huge, but at the top range, historically). I realize a Boras-client-circa-2010 is more expensive than Griffey in 1987, but still. If it’s that obvious, just draft him and pay him for the love of crumbcake.

  2. Joey B - Mar 12, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    “and the Nats may contend in 2011,”
    Maybe, but last year, they finished with the worst record in BB. This year, they figure to be the 2nd worst team in BB. If PT develops, then maybe Washington goes back to being the worst team in BB in 2011. If their entire team were to become FAs, a couple would land starting jobs, but there would only be one player that teams would be fighting over.

  3. Old Gator - Mar 12, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Does that look like a golf swing or what?

  4. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Mar 12, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    What seems to be escaping everyone is that whichever team drafts Harper could have him become a free agent before he turns 23 years old. Even A-Rod and Griffey didn’t have their best years until they were in their mid-20s. Is he so good that you’re willing to spend $20M just to develop him potentially for another team?

  5. Jonny5 - Mar 12, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    If he was my son, he’d have a foot in his ass for dropping out of H.S. It’s two years, he can’t be ready yet.

  6. Joey B - Mar 12, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    “What seems to be escaping everyone is that whichever team drafts Harper could have him become a free agent before he turns 23 years old.”
    If they start him on the team the same day they drated him, maybe, but the chances are he’ll still be in the minors 3 years. Griffey was also 17 when he was playing minor league ball.

  7. True Grich - Mar 12, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    The Bryce Harper hype makes me very uncomfortable. There’s something very TMZish about the whole thing. I don’t understand why any kid would be in such a hurry to grow up.
    He can’t possibly live up to expectations, right?
    Of course, I said the same thing about LeBron James. But he’s a once in a lifetime deal, right?

  8. Joey B - Mar 12, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    “If he was my son, he’d have a foot in his ass for dropping out of H.S. It’s two years, he can’t be ready yet.”
    Technically, he is already in college.
    And I doubt college is going to do much for him. I think he has a 4.0 so far, but if your career is going to be hitting a baseball, there isn’t a heck of a point to taking 3 credits of Greek Philosophy, English Lit, etc.

  9. Todd Boss - Mar 14, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    The world has changed (for all of you who are worried about him growing up too soon or quitting Hs too soon). High-end baseball players in this country know they’re going straight to the pros. Look at guys like Taillon and Harper; this past summer they weren’t playing babe ruth or American Legion, they were in Venezuela playing in the under-18 world championships.
    His “hype” machine was summarily shut off, you’ll note, the second he got to college. I’m sure Boras saw to that. No facebook no interviews, no youtube legends anymore. Just production. He’s seemingly the best hitter on the #1 ranked juco team in the land, playing in a pro-prep league with wood. And he’s 3-4 years YOUNGER than every one else in the league.
    Harper’s only competition for the #1 overall draft pick was Renaudo; now that he’s injured his arm Harper’s the no-brainer #1. And someone’s gonna get a steal on Taillon 2,3 or 4, and someone else is gonna get a bigger steal taking Renaudo mid-1st round.

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