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Nationals promote Bryce Harper to Double-A at age 18

Jul 4, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper jumped directly to low Single-A to begin his pro career despite being just 18 years old and after dominating the South Atlantic League for a half-season the Nationals have decided they’ve seen enough from him in the low minors.

Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that Harper has been promoted to Double-A, bypassing high Single-A in the process, which is remarkable in itself because he’s still four months from his 19th birthday and the average Double-A player is 24 years old. Not only will he be the only teenager in the Eastern League, there are only two hitters in the entire league under 21.

More remarkable is that he actually deserves the promotion after hitting .318 with 14 homers, 17 doubles, 44 walks, and 19 steals in 72 games at Hagerstown to rank second among South Atlantic League hitters with a .977 OPS.

Moving up the ladder so quickly increases Harper’s odds of making his MLB debut late this season and, even failing that, he’s definitely on track to be in Washington by mid-2012. So far at least Harper’s performance has matched the incredible hype and the Nationals are being extremely aggressive with the former No. 1 overall pick/eye black enthusiast.

UPDATE: General manager Mike Rizzo said that Harper probably won’t advance past Double-A this season, but we’ll see whether those plans change if he keeps hitting .320 with power there too.

  1. randomdigits - Jul 4, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    He is skipping High-A because of field conditions at the Nats High-A affiliate.

    • oikosjeremy - Jul 4, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      Click through on the links in the article. Nats GM Rizzo specifically denied this.

      • randomdigits - Jul 4, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        Would you expect the GM to publicly denounce the conditions at one of his minor league affiliates?

      • jimbo1949 - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        Skipped Potomac cause it’s too close to DC? Afraid of drawing fans away from Nats?

  2. skerney - Jul 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    He is skipping High-A because he is mashing conditions at the Nats Low-A affiliate.

  3. jimbo1949 - Jul 4, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Bryce Harper heading to Harrisburg along with Chien-Ming Wang, one of them will be in DC soon.

  4. ddjesus - Jul 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Good, I can’t wait to see this kid tear up the majors.

  5. royhobbs39 - Jul 4, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    As a Nationals fan, I think that keeping him at Double-A is a smart decision. But as a Nationals fan, I have a hard time agreeing with what Rizzo does.

  6. oikosjeremy - Jul 4, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    @randomdigits:

    What evidence is there that Rizzo has any other reasons for his decision besides the one he gave? I’m not saying the Nationals are happy with the field conditions at Patomac, but why would their unhappiness dictate their decision as to where to promote Harper? You honestly think they’re going to move Harper up to a level they don’t think he can handle because otherwise he might lose a few games due to the poor drainage at Patomac, or just to piss off the Patomac owners? Seriously?

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