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Bryce Harper is simply toying with the Sally League

May 12, 2011, 9:12 AM EDT

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is 18-years-old. Most guys his age will just be getting drafted next month or heading to college in the fall. As such, he is painfully young to be playing full-season A-ball right now, but there he is in the Sally League. And he’s making a mockery of it.

Yesterday he went 4-for-5 with a grand slam. He currently has a 15-game hitting streak going. Overall he’s at .396/.472/.712, with a league-leading 1.184 OPS.  Eight of the top ten guys in that league in that department are 22 or older.  Indeed, the only other player in the top 100 in OPS in that league who is 18 is Manny Machado, and he at least played rookie ball last year.

This doesn’t change the call-up calculus. The Nationals aren’t going to win the division with Harper there this year so they can fail to win the division him still in the minors too.  But it does remind one that, if you want to see Bryce Harper play in the minor leagues, you best get to it while the gettin’s good.

  1. ThatGuy - May 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Just crushing it, atleast they have an excuse to keep him down still in that he is striking out a little to much with 26 K (21st in the league). Doesn’t matter at that level, but it may later on.

    • b7p19 - May 12, 2011 at 10:12 AM

      With a 1.184 OPS and .712 Slugging %, he can strike out as much as he wants.

      • ThatGuy - May 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM

        Ha! Agreed, im more of just saying its an excuse the Nationals can use as to why they are keeping him down when their fanbase gets wind of his dominance and get restless.

      • b7p19 - May 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

        Yeah, I guess you do have to fish for reasons to not move him along too fast. Craig, haven’t seen anything written about how he’s playing in the OF. Please tell me he’s not going to move from catcher and become a + OFer in a years time.

      • Craig Calcaterra - May 12, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        From MASN yesterday:

        Daubach said the level of talent that Harper is facing in the South Atlantic League is a far cry from what he experienced at the College of Southern Nevada. But he believes that Harper pushing on every play really helps on defense.

        “He is going to be aggressive,” Daubach said. “We work with him every day on base running and fielding. You saw today, he made two great plays. First inning catch saved the inning and may have saved the game.

        “That ball gets over his head, it’s 2-0 or 3-0. Instead, we got out of there with just a zero up there. He is playing well. He is getting better jumps in the outfield and taking better routes. He is definitely improving. Every day, he is fun to watch.”
        Harper declined to speak to reporters after Tuesday’s game.

  2. halladaysbiceps - May 12, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Normally, I am against moving up a player this young to the majors. It often backfires as they are not ready to fave MLB pitching.

    That being said, something tells me that this kid is different and has the tools to be something special. This type of player comes around once every 30 years (ala Ken Griffey Jr.).

    If I were the Nationals, I would bring him up immediately and see what he can do. I would delegate Jayson Werth to be his chaperon and have Harper shadow him.

    I would love to see how this kid fare against a Halladay or Johnson. It would be exciting to watch. I would also like to see the Nationals attendance figures when Harper is in the everyday lineup. It would be a true test to see if that city can become a great baseball city.

    • Utley's Hair - May 12, 2011 at 2:48 PM

      Why do I get the feeling that these thumbs downs are based on past comments and not this one?

      • natstowngreg - May 12, 2011 at 6:42 PM

        My thumbs down is based on being part of the Nationals fan base that (a) actually goes to some games and (b) is patient with the young talent.

        Yes, it would be exciting, and would attact some more butts to seats (as Strasburg did). But that would not be the test of the market. The test would be when (yes, when; I’m being cautiously optomistic) they start winning — will the front-runners come to the park (like in Philly), or will they stay home (as sometimes happens in Atlanta)?

        Let’s give Harper a little time to get used to playing with the pros, and learning the outfield. Nats Park will still be there when he’s ready.

  3. Utley's Hair - May 12, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    By the way, the Sally League sounds like something Jonny 5 dreamed up.

  4. akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - May 12, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Harper absolutely made a great impression on the vets on this team (per the beat reporters all spring training) while down in Viera. His numbers in Sally look even better when you consider that he started off the season 6-28; since he’s 38 for 83 or a nifty .457.

    Conventional wisdom amongst Nats brass is that he’ll be promoted to Potomac (high-A) perhaps at the all star break (hopefully sooner) and finish the season there. AA to start 2012 with the idea of promoting him to the majors after super-2 jeopardy ends.

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