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.”