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Bryce Harper is hitting .355 with a 1.153 OPS at Single-A

May 3, 2011, 2:47 PM EDT

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is on fire at low Single-A, going 15-for-33 (.455) with four homers and six doubles in his last 10 games.

Harper is hitting .355 with a .456 on-base percentage and .697 slugging percentage in 23 games overall, including six homers and eight doubles in 76 at-bats and a 20/18 K/BB ratio. He’s even swiped four bases in six attempts.

Obviously knocking around low Single-A pitching doesn’t guarantee future success for Harper, but the fact that the former No. 1 overall pick is thriving as an 18-year-old in a league where the average player is 22 should be awfully encouraging for the Nationals.

Thoughts of Harper making it all the way to the majors in his first professional season are misguided, but at this rate advancing to Double-A before his 19th birthday is very possible.

  1. 5thbase - May 3, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    I would like to know exactly why “thoughts of Harper making it all the way to the majors in his first professional season are misguided.” Andrew Jones hit World Series home runs in Yankee Stadium at an age not all that more advanced than Harper and the HoF’er Yount was penciled in as the every-day shortstop at a similar age. It’s not like we’re talking about a 16 year old kid here. Here is a guy who is arguably the most advanced 18 year old hitter in the history of the game who has performed well above average at every level he’s ever been (including Spring Training) but we’ll have him waste his time against inferior competition just because.

    I think you’re right that he won’t make the majors this year but I think that has more to do with the Nationals having a losers mentality and overly worrying about what could happen. I believe Harper would outhit any Nationals outfielder other than Werth (and maybe him too) and would grow more in the process as compared to what they’re doing with him. Bringing him up to the majors would be the bold move a strong organization would make.

    • ptho16 - May 3, 2011 at 4:18 PM

      Jones was in his 3rd year of pro ball at the age of 19, not his first. Let the kid play in the minors for a year and a half or so before annointing him the next coming. Most guys in A ball only throw fastballs anyway.

      • 5thbase - May 3, 2011 at 4:29 PM

        Most guys in A ball only throw fastballs eh? You’re an idiot if you actually think that.

        Harper played against the best pitching prospects in baseball in the AFL and did great. He played against major league pitchers gunning for him in spring training and did great.

        “Let him waste a year and half against inferior competition” is the losers mentality I was talking about.

        Jones did have 2 years experience with a wood bat compared to Harper’s 1, but Yount was 18 years and 7 months old with 0 years experience with a wood bat when he began his HoF career. Clearly, Harper is a superior hitter to what Yount was at the same age and isn’t far behind defensively.

    • gammagammahey - May 4, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      Why do you use Yount as an example when he had a combined OPS+ of 82 for his first three seasons. Wouldn’t spending one or two of those seasons in the minors acclimating to pro ball maybe have helped him? Also, even if Harper’s career followed the same trajectory as Yount’s, the Nationals would be silly to bring him up as an 18 year old and let him start accruing service time while he’s learning to adjust to the jump of three or four professional levels of professional pitching. If they brought him up this year, that would mean right around 24 or 25, which is when Yount’s career started taking off, he’d be hitting free agency.

  2. Jonny 5 - May 3, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    I think they should put him in AA midway through this season if his numbers don’t go down. They’re making it easy on him, age be damned, it’s about skill.

  3. hep3 - May 3, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    It reminds me of that quote about a young Ken Griffey, Jr: “High school cost him at least three years on his baseball penision.”

  4. randomdigits - May 3, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    And Manny Machado is hitting 333/445/611 for a 1057 OPS as an 18 year old in the same league, except he is doing it while playing shortstop. Manny also has 5 homers in his last 8 games,his K/BB ratio is 14/18 and he is 3 for 4 on stolen bases.

    Now which is more impressive 1153 from right field or 1057 from SS?

    • jwbiii - May 4, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      So you’re saying that end to the Orioles’ Vortex of Suck at shortstop may be in sight? Cool!

  5. psousa1 - May 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    If he was in the Red Sox system they would bury him there until he was 25 years old.

    • dan1111 - May 4, 2011 at 3:00 AM

      Huh? Who are you talking about, exactly? What is a recent example of the Sox “burying” a prospect? The only one I can think of who debuted at a late age is Youkilis. But look at his minor league stats. He was not exactly tearing up AAA pitching. In my opinion, the Sox manage their young talent better than most teams.

  6. svallen - May 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    I think it might be time to bring up Harper. Nats are having a decent start to this season, why not bring his production up to the majors…at least for a taste of it.

    • randomdigits - May 3, 2011 at 5:16 PM

      I think it would be a very smart move to bring him up this early, this way he can still make Super 2 status! Of course I am sure that Harper will be reasonable with his contract demands.

      Or they could wait until next season when Strasburg should be back from TJ surgery.

  7. Daily Sports Card - May 20, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Even more nuts: there is a Bryce Harper rookie card on eBay right now for $25,000

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