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So far, No. 1 pick Bryce Harper has looked every bit as good as advertised, and more. In eight games in the Arizona Fall League, Harper is hitting .323 with a .400 on-base percentage, one home run and a .613 slugging percentage, which is outstanding considering his age. But despite his strong performance, Harper will start next season at the same level the team originally anticipated.
General Manager Mike Rizzo said today that Harper will start next season at Class A Hagerstown, the lower of the Nationals' two Class A teams. Via Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
"I would assume [Harper] starts in Hagerstown," Rizzo said. "That could change. If the minor league season opened today, it would be Hagerstown. I think he needs to start in a comfortable position for him and succeed and move on."
The Nationals could have started Harper at the higher Class A team, Potomac, but decided that comfort was more important. They did something similar last season, starting Stephen Strasburg at AA-Harrisburg despite him being much better than the competition.
On the heels of a report that he's heading to the Arizona Fall League, Bryce Harper, as well as general manager Mike Rizzo, confirmed that Harper will indeed start play in the league next Wednesday, according to CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman.
Harper is reportedly going home to celebrate his 18th birthday before joining the Scottsdale Scorpions on their "taxi squad," according to Zuckerman. It's fairly unprecedented for someone so young to play in the league, since the league is seen more as a final step for more polished prospects, but Rizzo told Zuckerman Harper is a special case.
"I recognize that this kid is going into a situation that is pretty unprecedented,"Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He's going to be an 18-year-old player in an extremely accelerated league. But we feel the trade-off of getting this kid to work out for two months in that environment was well worth the opportunity of him struggling a little bit in such an advanced league. With this kid's ability level and this kid's attitude, it's certainly not going to retard his progress."
The Nationals had to receive a special exemption to get Harper into the league, but they got it from Major League Baseball.
Yesterday, we passed along a report that the Nationals would be sending Bryce Harper home to rest instead of having him participate in the Arizona Fall League. Harper must have a hyperbolic chamber or some magic dust or something, because the Nationals already feel like he is ready to go.
Bill Ladson at the Nationals blog has reported that the Nationals will be sending Harper out to the Fall League "effective immediately." Ladson also reports that Harper will be part of a unit that plays twice a week. He'll be joined in Arizona by a number of important people from the organization.
(general manager Mike) Rizzo, manager Jim Riggleman, hitting coach Rick Eckstein, special assistant Phil Rizzo, a special advisor to the general manager, will also be in Arizona to help develop Harper.
We'll have updates from his performance here in this stream, including the first time he hits a home run over the Grand Canyon.
Once the Nationals were able to sign Bryce Harper, a big question was whether they would elect to have him play in the Arizona Fall League. The answer, it seems, is not yet.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, the Nationals will send Harper home to rest instead of having him play in the first few games in the Arizona Fall League.
Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris and General Manager Mike Rizzo will speak in the next few days to decide if Harper's next step includes playing in the AFL. For now, they want to give Harper time to relax and reflect in a comfortable setting.
"He's going to go home," Harris said. "Mike and I are going to talk about it. This is the first time he's really been away from home. He needs to go home."
Harper can still receive a special exemption to play in the league, though the Nationals would have to petition for it since they already have the maximum two players below AA on the roster. The team does have an open roster spot, and Kilgore writes that they should be able to use in on Harper if they would like.
The Arizona Fall League begins today and lasts until the middle of November.
Bryce Harper, the 17-year-old phenom who the Nationals made the first overall pick in the MLB draft this spring, will begin his career with the team on Friday. According to Mark Zuckerman, Harper will join other Nationals prospects at the team's spring training club facility later this week.
The Nationals' top draft pick will report to the club's spring training complex in Viera, Fla., this week and begin working out with Washington's instructional league squad on Friday, the first of several steps toward his eventual arrival in the big leagues.
Harper is still somewhat of a mystery. He played in college, but at a school so small that nobody really got to see him play. At this point, his greatest attribute is his legend. We might not be able to see him on Friday, and I'm sure the Nationals will not be in a hurry to rush to judgement on a few at bats with instructional league players.
We won't know exactly what the Nationals have in Harper quite yet, but this is a very important first step.
When Bryce Harper was introduced as a member of the Washington Nationals, general manager Mike Rizzo said there was a chance he would play in the Arizona Fall League after the season.
As of right now, though, it appears that will not be the case. The Nationals have announced their initial list of participants in the league, and it doesn't include Harper. Via Mark Zuckerman:
The full list headed to Arizona in October...
OF Michael Burgess
RHP Adam Carr
RHP Cole Kimball
INF Stephen Lombardozzi
C Derek Norris
LHP Sammy Solis
This list isn't final, to be clear, and Rizzo did say that there's a chance Harper would be added depending on how he played in the Florida Instructional League. As of right now, though, Harper isn't on the Nationals' Arizona Fall League roster.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Listening to Bryce Harper talk, it's hard to believe he's only 17 years old. His responses during today's 15-minute introductory press conference were subdued, yet mature, to the point where one media member even asked him how he learned how to handle, well, the media.
"Exactly what I'm doing right now," he said. "Smile, and have fun."
That was among the lighter moments of today's press conference, during which Harper addressed everything from his much-discussed batting practice session to why he decided to have a faux mohawk. While he clearly looks and speaks like he's mature beyond his years, he also demonstrated that he still is a kid at heart.
"It felt like home," Harper said about hitting batting practice today. " It was a blast going out there with a couple of the other guys, and it's always fun to hit on a pro field. That's a kid's dream, and I'm like a little kid in a candy store right now."
Harper said he's not worried about how fast he enters the Major Leagues, saying he doesn't have a target year in mind and will let "the higher powers" take care of that. His father, Ron Harper, agreed with his son.
"I don't believe there's a huge rush," Ron Harper said. "If he feels the need to rush, that could backfire."
General manager Mike Rizzo said the team's plan is to prepare Harper to play in the Florida Instructional League in two weeks and potentially have him play in the Arizona Fall League. However, he added that "from [the Florida League,] we're not sure" what will happen with Harper in the near future.
"We're going to take that step by step, and prepare him for spring training next season," he said.
Later this afternoon, Bryce Harper will be introduced to the media as an official member of the Washington Nationals. Before that, though, he took batting practice and wowed the assembled crowd with some towering home run balls.
MASN's Ben Goessling described the scene:
Dressed in Nationals workout gear and sporting a mohawk, Harper has already knocked one off the facing of the third deck, and then put one in the third deck. He hit back-to-back shots into both bullpens, has put several balls in the second deck and is consistently driving the ball out of the park to right center. You can tell Harper's natural power gift by the way the ball jumps off his bat; it looks like it's heading out of the park as soon as he makes contact.
Not that we needed any more confirmation of Harper's natural ability, but that's good to hear.
SB Nation D.C. will have full coverage of Harper's press conference starting at 5:45.
As of this minute, Bryce Harper is still in Las Vegas. Next week, Harper will be in D.C. for an introductory press conference. After that, though? According to GM Mike Rizzo, Harper will go to the Gulf Coast League, and if he holds his own, the Nationals will give him a chance to prove himself in the Arizona Fall League.
Rizzo said Harper will be in DC next hoemstand, then off to Gulf Coast League and probably Arizona Fall League
Rizzo reportedly said "we'll see if [Harper's] ready" for the Arizona Fall League. That will be Nationals' fans first benchmark to see how Harper is progressing.
We know that Bryce Harper got a Major League contract, but thanks to Jon Heyman of SI, we know have all the details on Harper's deal.
harper got 5 year deal, including $2 mil in roster bonuses for 2014 and '15 in addition to the $9.9 mil guarantee
Clearly, this means the National expect Harper in the Majors in the next five years.
It took until the stroke of midnight for the Nationals to reach agreement on a contract with Bryce Harper. But how close was this deal to not getting done? According to Stan Kasten, via Bill Ladson, the deal almost fell apart with moments to spare.
Kasten: "The truth is, with a full minute to go, Mark and I both thought that we were not going to have a deal."
Most baseball insiders were confident this deal would get done, so hearing this is a little bit surprising. But knowing Scott Boras, he probably wanted to take every opportunity he could to negotiate the best deal for his client.
According to Howard Fendrich, Mike Rizzo had a similar sentiment.
GM Mike Rizzo: "Got the negitations done seconds before the midnight deadline.
Can you imagine the stress that Kasten and Rizzo must have felt at 11:59 p.m. if in fact the deal was really that close to not happening? Luckily, they kept their composure and made sure they had a deal in place by the time the deadline passed.
You may have missed it, but the first line of the Nationals press release actually revealed something very interesting about the nature of Bryce Harper's contract. According to the release, Harper will receive a Major League contract, not a Minor League contract.
The Washington Nationals tonight agreed to terms on a Major League contract with College of Southern Nevada outfielder Bryce Harper, the first-overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
This is significant because it immediately adds the 17-year old Harper to the 40-man Major League roster. To be clear, this doesn't mean he's going to be playing in the Majors next season or anything. Calling him up now would mean he would be eligible to face arbitration sooner. But teams traditionally offer Major League contracts to players they believe will rise through the minors quickly rather than slowly.
Clearly, they feel Harper will be in the Majors far sooner than we expect.
We know Bryce Harper has signed with the Nationals. What we don't know as of yet, are the exact parameters of his deal. Bill Ladson has some clarification.
According to a baseball source, the contract will be about $10 million.
That has been the number reported by most of the people covering this story, but hearing it from Ladson after the deal has already been agreed to, gives it a little bit more credibility.
So we are still awaiting official word, and more details about the length of the contract, but $10 million seems to be the general consensus as far as value.
UPDATE: According to SI's Jon Heyman, Harper will receive a signing bonus worth $6.25 million, while the total amount of guaranteed money in the deal is about $9.9 million.
At the last minute, and with the deadline to sign rapidly approaching, the Nationals were able to reach a deal with 17-year-old super prospect Bryce Harper, according to Nats Town News.
The terms of the contract are not yet known, but reports released right around midnight all suggest the deal is for about $10 million.
Harper has played catcher throughout his career, but the Nationals plan to move him to right field, a position that is much less demanding physically.
The Nationals still haven't finalized a deal with Bryce Harper, but whatever deal they do reach will likely be for around $10 million, according to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman.
bryce harper said getting "close'' to a deal with #nats. believed worth close to $10 million in total.
There are less than ten minutes left until the deadline.
UPDATE: MASN Sports has confirmed the $10 million figure.
With less than an hour left until the deadline, evidence is beginnging to pile up that suggest the Nationals will be able to sign Brye Harper. The most recent, a tweet from Jeff Fletcher:
Bryce Harper "will sign" former CSN coach Tim Chambers told FanHouse.
Chambers is the best source we have heard from thus far, so this suggests a deal more than likely will get done before the deadline.The Nationals and Harper now have 20 minutes to agree to terms on contract.
According to Adam Kilgore, the Bryce Harper contract is not as close to completion as previous reports have stated.
The Nationals and first overall pick Bryce Harper have one hour to strike a deal. General Manager Mike Rizzo and Team President Stan Kasten were both feeling confident earlier today, but at the moment, according to one team source, the Nationals aren't positive they will come to agreement.
"No idea," the source said in a message.
There have been numerous reports, both positive and negative, about the status of contract negotiations between the Nationals and Bryce Harper. As the deadline draws nearer, Byron Kerr is now reporting that a deal, "will get done."
With less than two hours remaining until the midnight deadline, a source with knowledge of the situation told MASNSports.com that a deal between No. 1 overall draft pick Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals "will get done".
Now, don't go out and buy our Bryce Harper jersey quite yet. It's important to remember that, "a source with knowledge of the situation," is not official word from the franchise. But when a deadline is looming and the minutes are slowly ticking away, any positive news is welcome.
As we head toward the midnight deadline, it's looking like it's only a matter of time before Bryce Harper signs with the Nationals. However, that doesn't mean Harper will come cheap. According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, Harper is still looking for a record signing bonus for a position player.
Bryce Harper, the homer-hitting 17-year-old from Las Vegas, is said by sources to be seeking to beat Mark Teixeira's $9.8-million signing record bonus for a position players but baseball executives are hopeful Harper won't top Stephen Strasburg's record $15.067-million set a year ago. No word has leaked yet on the Nationals' offers to Harper, whom Washington took with the No. 1 overall pick in June's draft.
That's a lot of money, but according to Heyman, everyone still expects an agreement to be reached.
Folks around the game say the Nationals don't believe Harper is likely to pass on their offers and re-enter the draft next year, which is considered better and deeper, and includes another big power hitter, third baseman Anthony Rendon, from Rice University. Nationals president Stan Kasten offered only two words by text regarding word going around the game that Harper will sign: "Hope so.''
We will find out for sure sometime in the next eight hours.
The deadline for the Nationals to sign Bryce Harper to a contract is tomorrow. If you remember 12 months ago, Stephen Strasburg was in a very similar situation.
Many of the same players were involved. Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo has been heavily involved in the negotiations with each player. Harper's agent Scott Boras was representing Strasburg as well.
Those negotiations 12 months ago went down to the final hour before a deal was reached for Strasburg to earn $15.1 million. It looks like the same thing could happen with the Nationals' first overall pick this year.
"I don't have any advice for him," Strasburg said. "It's his decision. If he wants to play here, he's going to play here. He doesn't need advice from anyone to confirm his views. If he doesn't want to play here, then we don't want him here. That's the bottom line."
Harsh words from the rookie.
The Nationals' deadline to sign first overall pick Bryce Harper is Monday, and there have been some rumors that Harper is strongly considering a return to the College of Southern Nevada instead of signing. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post decided to look into these rumors by talking to college teammate Tyler Hanks, the Nationals' 17th-round draft pick.
Hanks' response? Don't worry about those threats.
Is there any chance, Hanks was asked this afternoon, that Harper goes back to school?
"Hell, no," Hanks said. "You don't take your GED and show everybody that you're ready to play this game, ready to move up, so you can go back to school."
To be clear, Hanks hasn't spoken to Harper since June 7, so he's merely offering his opinion. When asked about the fact that Harper still doesn't have a contract, Hanks had more encouraging words.
"He better be a damn National," Hanks said. "I don't think it's the money. His mom and dad have good money. For $10 million, you could live the rest of your life on that. I think he's waiting until the end of the deadline to rest, to take time off. I know that he's probably taking his hacks. I just think, honestly, he's just taking his time off. How can you get your GED and do all that and not sign? I honestly think he's just taking a rest."
Here's hoping he's right. I'm not sure I can take another Stephen Strasburg-like situation.
Bryce Harper, the number one overall pick in last month's MLB Amateur Draft is not going to spend his summer worrying about signing his contract with the Nationals. According to Dan Steinberg he's going to let his agent, whom he calls simply "Boras," (you may recognize the name) take care of it.
"I don't even know what's going on with that," Harper said, when asked about his contract negotiations on Sirius XM's MLB Network Radio earlier in the week. "I'm not even interested in that right now. I'm just all about just coming out here to watch the All-Star game, out here for the Golden Spikes award, so I'll let Boras handle that."
It appears that Harper is going to spend his summer like a typical 17-year-old kid, which is somewhat unexpected because of the accelerated pace he lives the rest of his life.
Harper was in Anaheim this week enjoying the all-star festivities and accepting the Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the nation's top amateur baseball player. While out there, he also had the opportunity to meet a couple guys who had similarly lofty expectations upon entering the league.
Harper said he had met Joe Mauer ("really humble") and Josh Hamilton ("really humble, all about the Lord.) He said he was just trying to "take it all in" while at the All-Star festivities.
He also reiterated that he was ready to contribute wherever the Nationals see fit.
"I don't care where I play," he said. "I'll play wherever they want me to play. As long as I'm in the lineup every day, that's all that matters to me. I'm trying to go out there and have a lot of fun and learn the spot. And f they want me to play right, center, left, catcher, whatever, I'll do whatever to help the team."
Sounds like a pretty nice couple days for a kid who should be just finishing his junior year of high school.
It took just one week for the Nationals to sign many of their picks from the 2010 MLB Draft. According to the team, they have signed 22 of their picks already, including 15 of their top 25 selections.
The highest pick the Nationals signed was shortstop Jason Martison, the team's fifth-round pick. The other signees included catcher Cole Leonida, the team's sixth-round pick, pitcher Aaron Barrett, their ninth-round pick, and many others.
In case you were wondering, number one pick Bryce Harper remains unsigned. Sorry, folks. That one will probably take more time.
Bryce Harper primarily played catcher in his one season at the College of Southern Nevada, but he’s willing and ready to make the move to right field for the Nationals.
“I’m pretty stoked about that,” Harper said on a conference call Tuesday. “Whatever the team wants, whatever it needs, it’s up to the team.”
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, who just selected Harper with the first overall pick in the MLB Draft on Monday, decided to move Harper to the outfield so that he can concentrate more on his offense.
“I think we made the early decision that we’re going to take the rigors and the pressure of learning the difficult position of catcher away from him and really let him concentrate on the offensive part of the game and let his athleticism take over as an outfielder. He’s got above average speed and a plus plus throwing arm. We believe that he could pull off being a major league catcher. We think his bat is well ahead of his defense as a catcher, and with the rigors of the game of catching, the squatting, the beating that they take behind the plate, we just think that it will accelerate his development in the minor leagues and also extend his career as a major leaguer.”
The other move Harper will reportedly have to make with the Nationals, playing without his trademark eyeblack, doesn’t seem as hunky-dory for Harper.
“That’s totally fine,” he said. “You’ve got to live with it and play without it, I guess.”
The Washington Nationals have selected Texas RF Kevin Keyes in the seventh round of the MLB amateur draft, and UCLA left handed pitcher Matthew Grace in the eighth. More information on both prospects is available through our MLB draft blog, MLB Bonus Baby.
In the first round, the Nationals selected Bryce Harper, a catcher they plan on moving to right field. In the fifth round, they chose Georgia Tech’s Cole Leonida, a catcher who will most likely stay behind the dish.
In 62 games for the Yellow Jackets this season, Leonida has hit .296 with 11 home runs and 56 rbi.
With their fourth round pick in the MLB amateur draft, selecting highly touted high school pitching prospect A.J. Cole. According to our MLB draft blog MLB bonus baby and Brian Oliver of Nationals Farm Authority, Cole could turn out to be something of a steal.
As one of the top prep arms in the class, he features one of the best pure fastballs that we have seen in a number of years for such a projectable frame. Jacob Turner threw gas like this last year, but the general consensus was that Turner was close to finishing his physical growth. Cole, on the other hand, remains supremely projectable, and he could be a true ace when everything is said and done. His fastball is currently a low- to mid-90s pitch, most commonly sitting 91-94, but he’s been clocked as high as 98 last summer, not an uncommon occurrence. It’s already a plus pitch, and it gets a true 70 future grade from some scouts. His breaking ball is an excellent curveball with plus shape, and it should be a plus pitch with consistency after enough repetitions. He’s also thrown a solid changeup that rates as a future solid-average pitch, and if it gets there with consistency, he could be special. He’s a probably top twenty pick, and he should garner more than slot money outside of the top ten picks.
That doesn't sound like your typical fourth round draft pick. If Cole can cash in on the physical tools he allegedly has, he could turn out to be a very productive major league player; which is excellent value in the fourth round. He figures to be another addition to the impressive stable of young arms the Nationals have built in the last few drafts.
With heir fifth round pick, the Nationals went a little safer, selecting Texas St. SS Jason Martinson. Here's the book on Martinson.
He’s not considered a longterm option at shortstop for anyone, and he lacks the pop to play third base, so he fits best as a potential utility player for teams with the ability to play most infield spots and the corner outfield spots. His hit tool is an average tool, and he backs it up with below-average raw power. He does have gap power, though, and he qualifies for the label of doubles hitter. He’s going to make a living testing those gaps, so keeping that hitting approach isn’t widely criticized.
It might be hard to get excited over that description, but it appears the Nationals are trying to build a deep and complete team. Not everyone is going to be the star player, you need solid role players and consistent help off the bench to be successful. While Martinson might not be the SS of the future, he could prove to be an excellent option off the bench at a number of positions.
In the thirs round of the MLB amateur draft, the Washington Nationals have selected Rick Hague, a SS from rice University. In our analysis, we defer to our MLB draft blog, MLB Bonus baby and Andy Seiler, via Nationals Farm Authority.
After a pair of intriguing seasons as the shortstop for the Owls, he headed to play for Team USA last summer. While playing for Team USA, he moved to third base in deference to Christian Colon, and that move showed scouts some intriguing tools at a position he’s likely to play as a pro. His tools are all right around the average category, and it’s only his plus makeup and work ethic that causes him to be projected as a potential starting third baseman at the next level.
While he may not be the knock-your-socks-off prospect that fans have come to expect with the nationals, it appears Hague is destined to have a long and solid MLB career.
According to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (@jonathanmayoB3), the Washington Nationals are expected to begin the 2nd Round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft by selecting USD left-hander Sammy Solis with the Nats’ first pick after Bryce Harper:
“Day 2 of the #mlbdraft will start with the Nationals taking USD lefty Sammy Solis.”
Solis is a 6’5’’, 220lb lefty out of Litchfield Park, Arizona. (9-2) in 15 games (14 starts), Solis has walked 29 (2.84 K/9) and K’d 92 (9.00 K/9) in 92.0 IP this season, posting a 3.42 ERA and a .233 BAA on the season.
More info on the pick when it’s available…
Shortly after the Washington Nationals made College of Southern Nevada catcher/outfielder Bryce Harper the No. 1 pick on the 2010 MLB Draft, the Nats announced that the 17-year-old phenom would be an outfielder in their organization. MLB.com’s Bill Ladson began the post-pick press conference with the Nats’ general manager, assistant general manager and scouting director by asking GM Mike Rizzo why they weren’t going to have him catch:
Mike Rizzo: “I think we made the early decision that we’re going to take the rigors and the pressure of learning the difficult position of catcher away from him and really let him concentrate on the offensive part of the game and let his athleticism take over as an outfielder. He’s got above average speed and a plus plus throwing arm. We believe that he could pull off being a major league catcher. We think his bat is well ahead of his defense as a catcher, and with the rigors of the game of catching, the squatting, the beating that they take behind the plate, we just think that it will accelerate his development in the minor leagues and also extend his career as a major leaguer.”
This won’t shock anybody, but the Washington Nationals just made Bryce Harper, the 17-year-old catcher out the College of Southern Nevada, the first overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft.
Here is the MLB.com scouting report summary:
Strengths: His bat, from hitting abilty to his plus, plus power. He’s got great arm strength from any position, particularly behind the plate. He’s very aggressive and hustles at all times.
Weaknesses: Some worry about his ability to catch in the long-term. When hitting, he fought jumping out at pitches and getting out front a bit.
Summary: The Bryce Harper story is well-documented at this point. Just 17 and in junior college, he’s gotten as much hype as any Draft prospect not named Strasburg. For the most part, he’s lived up to it in his first college season, showing incredible hitting and power skills. He’s moved around on the field and has plus arm strength from anywhere, though most would like to see him catch. The only questions that seem to remain with Harper is if he’ll go No. 1 overall and then, if he’ll sign.
Another Strasburg? That isn’t a bad thing.
Check Federal Baseball, SB Nation's Nationals blog, for further reaction.
So tonight's the night the Nationals will officially make Bryce Harper the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft. That's the part we know. (Shameless plug: Follow all Harper pre-draft stuff in this stream).
Still, this is the place where we will keep track of everything as it happens. We'll also be providing coverage of the Nationals' 7:05 p.m. press conference after the first pick, as Patrick Reddington will be live at Nationals Park.