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The Washington Nationals announced Tuesday afternoon the prospects they will be sending to the 2011 Arizona Fall League. They will be sending five of their prospects to the league and among them is their top offensive prospect Bryce Harper. Joining him will be RHP Pat Lehman, RHP Rafael Martin, LHP Sammy Solis, and catcher Derek Norris.
It will be Harper, Solis and Norris' second go around in the AFL and Harper's first full season in the desert. In 2010 Harper played on the taxi squad of the Scottsdale Scorpions and was only available two games a week. The Scorpions won the AFL championship last season and Harper, Solis and Norris all received rings during an informal ceremony just before batting practice during a Spring Training minor camp session this past March.
More baseball for a budding, young offensive phenom is never a bad thing. Considering Harper skipped Single-A Potomac and that he will be missing the rest of the season the minor league regular season with Double-A Harrisburg due to a hamstring injury, it will be nice to get him hot and going again.
It's official - the Washington Nationals' prized hitting prospect, Bryce Harper, who strained his right hamstring running the bases Thursday, will be placed on the 7-day disabled list. Via Mark Zuckerman of CSNwashington.com:
Class AA Harrisburg has placed Bryce Harper on the 7-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, a move that doesn't officially end the 18-year-old's first professional season but almost certainly ensures it.
Harper was examined by a doctor in Harrisburg Friday evening, an examination that confirmed the hamstring strain he suffered Thursday in Akron.
Harrisburg's season ends Sept. 5, meaning Harper would miss the final 18 games of the team's campaign. Harper has performed well in the minor leagues this year, batting .297 with 17 home runs and 58 runs batted in at Harrisburg and Hagerstown. Even if the hamstring injury lingers, as they are apt to do, Harper should still be healthy and ready to play in the Arizona Fall League, which begins play in mid-October.
Washington Nationals uber prospect Bryce Harper injured his right hamstring Thursday going from first to third on a double by Harrisburg teammate Archie Gilbert. With just 18 games left on the Senator's regular season schedule, there has been speculation Washington might just shut down their prized hitting prospect for the rest of the minor league season. Via Ben Goessling of MASN, Nationals manager Davey Johnson seems to agree with that sentiment:
"He probably won't play the rest of the year, as far as I know. There's only a few days left. You take a chance of aggravating it, and it becomes more of a serious injury."
Harper has handled himself quite well in the minor leagues this season, batting .297 with 17 home runs and 58 runs batted in at Harrisburg and Hagerstown, and there is no real reason to toy with a hamstring injury, which can stick with a player for a long time without proper rest. Even if Harper were to shut it down now for Harrisburg, he would have sufficient time to rest the hamstring before possible playing in the Arizona Fall League a month and a half from now.
Byron Kerr of MASN.com thinks that it is a viable option:
The Nationals could decide to shut Harper down for the season if they deem the injury to be serious. The Senators have 18 games remaining on the regular season schedule. Harrisburg is also in a dogfight in the western division for a playoff berth, leading Bowie by two games at 70-54.
The 2011 Arizona Fall League opening game for the Scottsdale Scorpions is Oct. 4. If the Nationals want Harper to play for Scottsdale again, that would give him at least 45 days before that game.
Harper has a combined 17 home runs and 58 RBIs for Hagerstown and Harrisburg as he continues to work his way through the Nationals' system. It's been made widely known that Harper will most likely not see time with the big club this season, so giving him time to recover might be the best thing for a team that already has its top player - Stephen Strasburg - currently rehabbing.
Washington Nationals prospect and current Harrisburg Senator Bryce Harper left Thursday's game against Akron with a right hamstring injury after running from first to third on a double from Archie Gilbert. Video has surfaced of Harper being helped off the field following said injury.
As you can clearly see, Harper is not putting any weight at all on his right leg as two people had to help him into the dugout. He will be re-evaluated Friday. Depending on the severity of the injury, Harper could be out for an extended period of time.
Harper has been playing great baseball with both Harrisburg and Class-A Hagerstown; he is hitting a combined .297 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs.
Outfielder Bryce Harper, the top Washington Nationals prospect and perhaps the top offensive prospect in all of baseball, had to be carried off the field Thursday night after sustaining a hamstring injury while running the bases in the eighth inning of a Harrisburg Senators game in Akron, Ohio.
Harper was rounding second base after smacking a double against the Akron Aeros when he went down. He was unable to put any weight on his leg and had to be carried off the field by a trainer and Harrisburg manager Tony Beasley. It was unknown if Harper would be taken to the hospital, but the injury will be reevaluated on Friday.
With two weeks left in the minor league season it is completely possible the Nationals shutdown the valuable right fielder for the rest of the season.
Harper was hitting .297 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs this season across Single and Double-A levels, and he is hitting .256 since joining the Eastern League.
Bryce Harper, after struggling early in Double A, has hit his first home run at the Double-A level on Wednesday. He broke a 1-1 tie to give the Harrisburg Senators a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning against the Bowie Baysox, the Baltimore Orioles' affiliate. Harper entered the game hitting just .217 with a .267 on-base percentage and a .273 slugging average in the 18 games since he was promoted to Harrisburg from low Single-A Hagerstown.
Immediately after he homered, Washington Nationals prospect Tim Pahuta blasted another solo shot, giving the Senators a 3-1 lead late in the game. It is unknown whether either player blew kisses at the opposing pitcher.
Harper now has 15 home runs on the season, 14 of which came in Hagerstown. Although he is still not performing up to par with his expectations since moving up to Double-A, Harper's numbers have improved slightly across the board since his abysmal 6-35 slump in his first 10 games with the Senators.
If you are worrying about Harper's .208 average at Harrisburg, then you aren't seeing the bigger picture. We take a trip to Richmond and find that Harper's gaining valuable experience in Double-A that you can't measure in numbers.
Washington Nationals prospect and future franchise savior Bryce Harper is currently struggling at Double-A Harrisburg. He has only gotten six hits in 35 at-bats after ten games with the Nationals' double-A affiliate.
The 18-year-old was promoted to play for the Senators of the Eastern League directly from the Nats' low single-A affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League, skipping over the Nationals' advanced single-A affiliate, the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League.
Harper is without an extra-base hit in double-A and his OPS barely reaches .400, which, according The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, is just the latest example of Harper struggling upon joining a new league. He did it at junior college and the South Atlantic League as well.
So what does it mean that this supposed phenom is off to such a terrible start with his new ball club? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The jump from single-A to double-A is widely considered to be the hardest transition in baseball outside of being promoted to the big leagues. The fact that Harper skipped a league in the process and is now the youngest player in the Eastern League make his struggles even more excusable.
Harper tends to struggle at every transition before adjusting to the competition and using his natural talent to succeed. A 10-game slump in double-A is no reason to think this level of play will be any different for him.
The 13th annual MLB Futures Game is in the books, with the U.S. team defeating the World team 6-4 at Arizona's Chase Field. The performance of both representatives from the Washington Nationals will be dissected in the coming days, as the can't miss phenom struggled while his minor league teammate showed tremendous promise on the mound.
Uber prospect Bryce Harper was hitless in four at-bats, striking out twice and grounding out twice to first base (I'm pretty sure I even heard a few "Boos" after the second strikeout). Braves right hander Julio Teheran actually got Harper looking in his first at bat, freezing him on a 95-mph fastball after a nasty changeup. Harper displayed his cannon arm in the sixth inning, throwing a bullet from just in front of the wall to home plate. Unfortunately, he probably should have just hit the cutoff man, because the base runner was able to advance to third base.
Less hyped Harrisburg teammate Brad Peacock was extremely impressive in his one inning of work, mowing down the World team on just nine pitches. Peacock worked the second inning, fanning Alfredo Silverio (Dodgers) on three fastballs and then getting Chih-Hsien Chiang (Red Sox) to ground out to first base and Wilin Rosario (Rockies) to meekly pop up to shortstop. The Nationals have said they look forward to a rotation that saw Peacock as a number three starter behind Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. Tonight, he showed why that could become a reality in the not-too-distant future.
Tonight, in Phoenix, the most talked about hitting prospect of the last decade will be showing off the skills that made him the top pick of the 2010 draft by the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper will bat second and play left field for the U.S. team in the 2011 XM All-Stars Futures Game, giving the fans at Arizona's Chase Field the chance to see the phenom who has already been promoted to Washington's Class AA affiliate Harrisburg after tearing through the Low-A South Atlantic League while a member of the Hagerstown Suns.
Harper hit .318 in Hagerstown, with 14 home runs, 46 runs batted in, 19 steals and 44 walks. As has been noted many times before, Harper has tremendous power but also great plate discipline, and his speed makes him an asset on the base paths as well. It doesn't hurt that he also has a cannon for an arm, and is showing improvement as he works to become a capable big league outfielder. Nationals fans can only hope the comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez become reality for Harper.
Harper is not the only player representing the Nationals in the game. Right-hander Brad Peacock, now Harper's teammate at Class AA Harrisburg, will pitch the second inning for the U.S. squad. Tony Beasley, the skipper at Harrisburg, is also at the game as a coach.
Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post will be live-blogging the Futures Game, and has mentioned Harper wasted no time showing off, crushing several batting practice home runs already.
Bryce Harper's first three games with Double-A Harrisburg have been a major success. On Wednesday night, Harper had what was probably his best game since being called up from Single-A on Monday. He went 3-3 with an RBI, a stolen base and even a sacrifice bunt as Harrisburg defeated Erie, 4-3.
Harper's three hits were all singles, so he isn't just someone that will mash the ball. His first single was originally ruled an error, but it was later changed to a base hit and an RBI. He also was called upon to sacrifice bunt to move runners over to second and third base, and did so successfully. I'm not sure why he was asked to sacrifice bunt, but that's neither here nor there.
Overall, Harper is now hitting .500 in three games, with two RBI, one stolen base and, yes, one sacrifice bunt.
Bryce Harper played his second game as a member of the Double-A Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday, and he used this opportunity to show off his ever evolving defense in the outfield. Harper finished 0-4 from the plate, but displayed his strong throwing arm from left field, and according to Gene Wang of the Washington Post, it impressed his new manager.
“Really nice,” Senators Manager Tony Beasley said of Harper’s fielding. “He’s never been over there [in left field]. Those are different angles to set up and throw. Those throws seemed to be pretty true and on line with a lot of carry. It was impressive. Those were really, really solid throws.”
The two throws in question were made to second base to gun down players who were trying to stretch a single into a double. Harper seems to be adapting well to the outfield, a position he had never really played until he got into the Nationals system. We knew he had the athleticism to excel there, but it seems like he is really making a smooth transition; no matter where you put him.
Bryce Harper played his first game for the Double-A Harrisburg on Monday, and he did not disappoint. Harper contributed to the Senators' offensive explosion by going 2-3 in their 8-1 victory. He also scored a run and walked. Both of his hits were singles.
Harper also raised some eyebrows (which has become sort of his thing) by going first to third on a groundout to the third baseman in the fifth inning. It was a smart baseball play, but something that is just sort of not done. According to the Nationals News Network, Harper knew that he was pressing some buttons by doing that.
"I probably should have gotten hit my next at bat," Harper only half-joked. "After thinking about it a little, I..." he paused to gather himself before continuing. "It worked out. That's all I can say."
New level of the organization, same productive - if not brash - Harper. Here are some of his highlights via CSN Washington.
For full highlights of the game, including Brad Peacock looking dominant and Derek Norris going deep, check out the Senators' page on YouTube.
Bryce Harper has been dominating the pitching at Single-A Hagerstown all season, and that has finally earned him a promotion. The Washington Nationals' phenom will be called up to Double-A Harrisburg, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. He is scheduled to make his debut on Monday night.
Harper has spent the past three months in low-Single A, proving that he was probably too advanced for that level. Harper hit .318 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI in 72 games and 305 plate appearances. He posted an on-base percentage of .423 and a slugging percentage of .577.
The mild surprise is that Harper skipped the Nationals' high- Single A affiliate in Potomac. Evidently, the Nationals saw enough of him mash the ball at Hagerstown to know that he didn't need to play in that league. This is despite the fact that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo suggested that Harper would "touch every level of the minor-league system."
For more on Harper, visit Federal Baseball.
Bryce Harper's kiss shouldn't doom him forever, but the young phenom should take a lesson from Bull Durham and understand that he is in no position to be taunting anyone at this young stage of his career.
Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper made news on Monday night when he taunted a pitcher by blowing a kiss in his direction while rounding third base after hitting a home run. It set off a series of articles that brought the questions surrounding Harper's maturity back into the spotlight. The Washington Nationals have taken this chance to address the issue.
ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Harper's entire team in Hagerstown was addressed about the incident, and it was used as a "teachable moment."
Nationals source: Bryce Harper exchange used as a teachable moment for the whole Hagerstown team. It's been talked about, matter closed.
Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris confirmed the exchange and said the matter has been handled. Via Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
Nats DOPD Doug Harris on Harper kiss: "It's something we're going to handle internally. For us, it's a teaching moment." He'll play tonight.
Harris added that Harper is a "wonderful kid" and that everyone on the team should learn from that moment.
The much-anticipated Hagerstown Suns game involving both Washington Nationals' phenom Bryce Harper and superstar Ryan Zimmerman playing on a rehab assignment was not meant to be. In his first at-bat of the game, Harper was drilled in the leg by a pitch and had to leave the game.
Harper hit with the next pitch in the foot I think. Trying to walk it off but he's limping hard and getting lifted. We think now it was higher than the foot, but hard to tell. Harper was in a good bit of pain but did limp off on his own power.
It's not clear how badly Harper is injured beyond this. Nichols reports that Harper is "walking gingerly" in the Hagerstown dugout. Harper has been on fire at Single-A Hagerstown thus far this season, with 13 home runs and 41 RBI in just 52 games played.
In case you were looking forward to seeing Bryce Harper with the Washington Nationals in 2011, Mike Rizzo said that will not happen. Despite Harper's torrid hitting for Single-A Hagerstown thus far, Rizzo said in an interview on "The Sports Fix" with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980 that Harper is not going to rise through the Minor Leagues this year.
"Yes, I have [ruled it out]." It's not going to happen, because he's not ready for it to happen."
Rizzo said that Harper needs to "learn the nuances of the game of baseball," and the team doesn't want to set him up to fail. He added that Harper would likely play at every level of the team's Minor League system before eventually coming to the Nationals.
"This is a player that I believe needs to touch every level of the Minor League system. Believe me: I have a very specific plan in my mind for Bryce Harper. It's what I do for a living. It's what I've done to get to being a general manager of a baseball team. It's to develop players. Believe me: we've started to optimize his skill set and talent level, and we're going to do the right thing for him by the long term."
It's hard for both writers and fans to separate the hype from Bryce Harper, but perhaps that separation does not need to happen. Harper is that rare player that is both, and Natstown should be excited about it.
The Washington Nationals' front office has always maintained one stance when talking about mega prospect Bryce Harper who currently is playing in Single-A ball with the Hagerstown Suns: Harper will move up in the system when he shows he is ready. That time might be nearing very soon, as Harper continues to absolutely shred the pitching being put in front of him in the South Atlantic League.
The 18-year old is currently hitting .396 with a .472 on-base percentage and a .712 slugging percentage. On Wednesday night, Harper went 4-for-5 with five RBIs against the Delmarva Shorebirds. He is also riding a 15-game hit streak and a 19-game on-base streak. He won the South Atlantic League Player of the Week last week. Put it all together, and you have a kid that is just cruising through the League and pasting any ball that is put in front of him.
The next logical step will be a call up, but when and where remains a mystery even to Hagerstown Manager Brian Daubach:
"That hasn't even been discussed with me," Daubach says. "But I'm sure Mike Rizzo (Nationals GM) and Doug Harris (director of player development) have a plan. They've just told us to keep working hard."
Working hard, hitting hard and playing hard has never been much of a problem for Harper, and there isn't any reason to think he won't continue to do so no matter where he lands in the Nationals organization next.
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