Friday, April 27, 2012

Zimmerman to DL, Harper to be promoted

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper will make his major-league debut tomorrow night in Los Angeles.
Updated at 6:24 p.m.

The Nationals never planned to bring Bryce Harper to the big leagues this soon, but with their two best players now injured and an urgent need for an offensive spark, general manager Mike Rizzo made the surprising decision today to promote the 19-year-old outfielder after only three weeks spent at Class AAA.

Harper will make his debut tomorrow night against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, starting in left field and taking the roster spot that will open up when third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

"We still have a very good and committed developmental plan for Bryce in place," Rizzo said during a late-afternoon conference call. "I still believe very passionately in the plan, and I'm going to be very committed to it. But this was expedited by the circumstances and by two of our middle of the lineup guys going down in [Michael] Morse and Ryan Zimmerman. We felt we needed to bring in an impactful, left-handed bat that can play the corner outfield."

Harper was hitting just .250 with one homer and three RBI in 20 games at Syracuse, but he had five hits in his last 13 at-bats, several of them coming in front of Rizzo, who watched his Class AAA club play in Rochester this week.

"This guy was just starting to heat up in Triple-A, and I think we caught him when he was hot," the GM said. "And we caught him when he had his stroke intact and felt comfortable at the position that we're going to play him in the major leagues."

Harper's debut, the source of much speculation since the day he was drafted No. 1 in the country in June 2010, will come on the road, in a West Coast game that doesn't start until 9:10 p.m. EDT. He will, however, be joined in the field by fellow No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg, who is scheduled to pitch for the Nationals against Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley.

Harper's debut also happens to come after he spent just slightly more than the 20 minimum days in the minors required to ensure the Nationals will retain control of him for an extra, full season when he's closer to peak form. Even if Harper never spends another day in the minors, he won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season.

Harper would, however, qualify for "Super 2" arbitration status after the 2014 season, a distinction that could cost the Nationals millions of dollars in salary down the road.

The decision to promote Harper, according to Rizzo, ultimately came down to the team's need over the individual player's readiness. With both Zimmerman and Morse (strained lat muscle) on the DL, the Nationals are without their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters. The players who have subbed for Morse in left field so far this season are hitting a collective .097.

"Suffice it to say, this isn't the coming-out party for Bryce that we had in mind," Rizzo said. "This isn't the optimal situation developmentally for Bryce."

Rizzo did consider other possible call-ups besides Harper, specifically power-hitting prospect Tyler Moore. Moore, who hit 31 home runs each of the last two seasons and already has six homers this year, is a natural first baseman who only began learning how to play left field this month. He's made only three appearances in the outfield to date, and Rizzo said he didn't want to put Moore in an uncomfortable position right now.

Harper has a well-established track record when it comes to his debuts at various new levels of play: He has always struggled to hit for at least his first two or three weeks upon getting promoted, but he's always taken off after that and performed at a high level the rest of his time there.

Thus, the Nationals know there's a reasonable chance Harper will come out of the gates slowly. His first stint in the big leagues may not even last very long, with Rizzo suggesting the organization might send him back to Syracuse when Zimmerman returns from the DL.

Even if that happens, though, the Nationals aren't concerned about this surprising promotion serving as a long-term detriment to Harper's development.

"With Bryce's makeup and his attitude and his confidence level, I don't have many reservations," Rizzo said. "I know this is a very confident person, and we expect him to perform well in the major leagues. And if he doesn't, he's not the type of guy that it's going to derail his developmental plan whatsoever. He's the type of guy who will handle anything that's thrown at him and be better off for it."

Zimmerman, meanwhile, will be placed on the 15-day DL with inflammation of the AC joint in his right shoulder. Because the move is backdated to April 21, the 27-year-old third baseman will be eligible to return as soon as May 6. Rizzo, while saying he did not believe this injury would require a long stay on the DL, did not say Zimmerman would definitely be ready to return when his 15 days are up.

"The doctors all feel there's a good chance he can come off the disabled list when he's eligible to come off," the GM said "But these things sometime take on a life of their own, as we've seen with some other injuries, and I'm not going to be held to a calendar date."

181 comments:

mick said...

Don't like the move with Harper, unless he is Fred Lynn or Jim Ricve in 1975, them I'll take it back

timeless46 said...

Not sure this makes a lot of sense to me. Harper sure seems to be struggling in Syracuse. His average is .250 or lower, lots of strikeouts, and 4 errors in the field....

mick said...

So, where does big boy play, LF?

MicheleS said...

Not what i was expecting. I hope he kicks butt!

mick said...

timelss46.... that is my point, why not bring up Moore instead??

Scott from Burke said...

he's like Magic Johnson circa 1979..he plays wherever he wants to play

RickH said...

Wow!

mick said...

I would love to see stats on Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1975 before they moved up... maybe, just maybe Harper will be the missing link

aneedell said...

Wonder if he'll platoon and face only righties?

mick said...

too bad Strassburg is not pitching Sat, imagine the game hype for this

Scott from Burke said...

After yesterday, with the starting pitcher and bullpen stressing out over every pitch and their best offensive weapon on the bench with no end in sight, and the team losing, a message was sent from the front office to the players..this isn't about options or money or trying to keep control of a player for 3 years,, we are ready to win NOW..and here's a big bat ready to pound the rock.

MicheleS said...

Tomorrow night is going to be a zoo. Bryce and Strasburg!

timeless46 said...

one irony is that if he hadnt broken his ankle, Rendon probably would have been a better call up...

natsfan1a said...

Wow. Didn't see that one coming. I believe it will be Strasburg tomorrow. Wonder whether there will be attendant Hollywood Hoopla? I suppose Harper wouldn't mind that, though.

Scott from Burke said...

wouldn't matter if lannan was pitching, with harper in the lineup mlb network is gonna be all over it..and espn will be mighty interested

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I like what F.P. Santangelo said last night. "It is much harder to hit in AAA than the Majors, if you are a good hitter."

natsfan1a said...

Agree re. MLB Network, but that four-letter network seems more interested in NY and Boston (yawn).

SFNats said...

Didn't see this one coming. Wow! Harper and Strasburg in LA tomorrow, and I have to go to a birthday party for the husband of one of my wife's friends. Now I have even more reason to dislike the guy.

NatsFirin'BBs said...

You don't bring up Moore because he is even less polished in the outfield than Harper is. Defense is still of primary importance because no one guy is going to create enough runs to make every (or even even most) game a laugher.

jeffwx said...

He can't hurt a struggling offense. They have nothing to lose. It's April 27....so they don't lose a year to free agency.

Scott from Burke said...

The yankees are on tv again tonight...EVERY DAMN NIGHT those bastards are on...it's ridiculous

Exposremains said...

FP seemed to know something last night when he talked about possibility of harper coming up

NatsFanJim said...

And Away We Go!!! Good luck, Bryce.

Scott from Burke said...

FP don't know sh#$

NatsFirin'BBs said...

Now, does he have to knock the cover off the ball to avoid being sent back down when Zim returns, or is this a permanent thing?

Scott from Burke said...

The Nats Insider board is on fire now

Scott from Burke said...

As long as he handles it mentally and makes contact he's up...if he strikes out 14 straight times he'll go back down

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Let the cream rise to the top!

NatsJack in Florida said...

It certainly can't hurt the lineup but it can hurt his developement. Here's hoping for the best.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack, thinking the same but may only be 10 days or if he does well, the skies the limit.

Scott from Burke said...

Harper in lf, Ankiel in cf, Werth in right...i wonder where bryce will hit in the lineup...3rd?

JaneB said...

I have to give to to FP, whether he had a heads up or not. I thought he was nuts.

Let's hope the kid feels hitterish really soon. For them to give up a year of control over his contract, i gotta believe Zimm could be on the DL longer than anyone is saying.

Go Kid! Gonna be a fun night at Nats Park on Tuesday, ain't it? I wish I could go!

Scott from Burke said...

one of the most exciting things in baseball is when a hot prospect gets called up...this is gonna be FUN

jeffwx said...

He can't hurt a struggling offense. They have nothing to lose. It's April 27....so they don't lose a year to free agency.

NatsNut said...

Holy Crap! Does this say what I think it says? knock me over with a feather.

Scott from Burke said...

you thought fp was nuts becasue he said the nats were considering calling up the biggest name in the minor leagues who has ahuge contract to help a suffering offense with their best offensive player hurting? NO..now if he had said they were calling up Lannan....

sm13 said...

Wow, gotta give Rizzo credit for not playing it safe. He's walkin' on the wild side.

freshee said...

Curious what FP said. Couldn't catch the game last night. Was he just theorizing they'd bring Harper up? Or was he advocating the call up?

Scott from Burke said...

FP said the sky is blue and the nats had to be considering bringing up harper+

NatsFanJim said...

Don't agree with some: Harper in the Bigs to stay. He is truly the real deal.

A poster suggested Harper bat third? 7th feels better -- best for team and for him. Nevertheless, Davey's gotta find a better 3-hole guy than Tracy .. or even Derosa. Just do some shuffling, Davey -- why the paralysis there?

NatsJim said...

Really surprised by this, he really doesn't seem ready; I guess we'll find out soon enough, but count me as being strongly against this move (although I hope to be proven wrong).

lls45 said...

Wish it wouldn't be completely impractical to fly to LA and watch the debut!

JD said...

Steve and NatsJack,

I had always hoped that when he comes up he stays for good and it's after he has dominated every other level. I truly hope he surprises all of us and proves Rizzo to be right.

Scott from Burke said...

THIRD..lets see him in the first inning..if he gets a hit the team is gonna be out of their minds

ehay2k said...

So, no surprise with this news - quite a few people predicted he'd be up late April, early May if he was at all ready, because it might affect his super two, but no amount of service will impact their overall control over Harper.

Glad Zimm is getting a rest. Must have been on the advice of the doctor in LA.

Now if we can only keep Harper away from Eckstein...

MicheleS said...

Just bought my ticket to Tuesday's Game! WOO HOOOOO! Sorry, I swore I would see the kids debut, but I can't fly to LA.

God I hope this works out..(NatsJack - crossing my fingers, don't want this to stunt his development)

NatsLady said...

Wow. Well, before I read this, here was my post.

The dr. that RZ went to see is the same one that operated on Davey's shoulder. (And other tidbits that don't seem very interesting now!)

Whether it works or doesn't--sure is gonna FUN! No risk, no reward.

Dave said...

O. M. G. Sure didn't see that one coming. I hope Bryce kills it in his big-league debut.

How do you think Magic, Stan, and the Guggenheim guy like this move? Think the Dodgers will sell any tickets for Saturday? Hmm?

Pete said...

Wait, I thought they'd have to wait until June somesuch to make sure he didn't hit the FA market early....

A DC Wonk said...

Hunh. Add my name to the list of "didn't see that one coming".

You know what's funny -- us NI experts disagree on so much, but there seemed to be a rare consensus that it was too early for Harper to come up.

Go figure!

Scott from Burke said...

he's like Magic Johnson circa 1979..he plays wherever he wants to play

And let us hope we get the same results!

(I know the following, because I went to Mich State when Magic did)

Magic after his sophomore year, signed with the Lakers. At the time, the Lakers had not won any titles with Jabbar. During his rookie year, the made it to the finals. While winning game 5, to take a 3-2 lead, Jabbar sprained his ankle. Game 6 was sort of a throwaway game, at Phillie (even some LA Press didn't show up), because they were regrouping for game 7. 21-year old rookie guard Magic Johnson played center in Jabbar's place, scored 42, with 15 rebounds, and the Lakers won the title.

So, yeah, let Harper follow that path!

JD said...

NatsFanJim,

Who do you have in mind?

MicheleS said...

Pete, June is the Super 2 arbitration date. April 21st was the control for an extra year date.

Obviously, money won't be an issue or they would have waited until June.

I hope Bryce's family gets to LA tomorrow (Vegas is a quick flight and a quick drive)

oldguyjim said...

OK! The Kid in LF hitting third, Lombo settle into 3B, Tracy, Navy, DeRosa and the Shark coming off the bench, Burnett to set up more, HROD is THE closer.... and let's go win some game in May!

MicheleS said...

I guess i am going to have to take a LONG Nap tomorrow, these late nights are killing me!

JaneB said...

Scott -- sheesh, you have a short fuse! I thought he was nuts because the kid isn't producing at the plate or in the field the way he has every other time before he was promoted. You might consider not jumping all over every Imaginary Friend you have here, all the time.

Freshee: What FP said, in fact, was that if Zimm is going to be out for a while, you call up some offense. And that the one he'd call was harper, because it's easier to hit in the bigs than in the AAA. I'm guessing it's true, somehow, counterintuitive as it sounds, because FP knows a lot more about baseball than I do.

freshee said...

If Rizzo wants a pennant this bad, what does this say about his stance on Strasburg's limit? Of course, comparing these two situations is like comparing an apple to an orange that looks a little like an apple.

Maybe the better question is, does Rizzo have a plan to sign a big time pitcher to replace Stras? Is he thinking he has enough with Gio and a healthy Wang rounding out the rotation?

SFNats said...

They've said all along that when Harper came up, he was up to stay. Not that they can't change their minds, but this smells to me like Davey lobbying for his guy. He wants Harper up to stay.

freshee said...

JaneB: Thanks for the rundown. Agreed on FP's knowledge. He tends to like the old school stats a bit too much, but his understanding of what it takes to play the game is such an asset to his commentary.

Tim said...

Gonna have to stay up late tomorrow night! I'm gonna be hurtin' Monday morning.

Need some punch in the lineup. Maybe this will fire everyone up!

Wonder what happens when Zim comes back and then the Beast comes back...

JT said...

I kind of expected Tyler Moore to be the call up, but...guess not. I'm not expecting him to be the second coming just yet because he hasn't exactly been tearing up 3A pitching. Hope I'm wrong about that and he starts with a hot streak.

Tim said...

@freshee: I think that's why we signed eJax... our top three starters after Stras still compete with ANY top three out there. When Stras' innings limit hits, I have no problem with shutting him down. Let the chips fall where they may.

Jim Webster said...

Not comfortable with Harper move. Think Tyler would be better bet. But I'm not Rizzo.

waddu eye no said...

Way to take some spotlight from rg3

Tuned in to hear mark @ 545 on 980

A DC Wonk said...

Scott from Burke said...

FP don't know sh#$

Well, since he actually, you know, played in AAA for three years, and then in the majors for six (and came in 4th for rookie of the year in the majors -- for the Expos, btw) . . . I'm guessing that however good or bad his announcing is, he knows a little more about hitting in AAA vs MLB than we do.

But, just a guess. . .

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Tomorrow's line up prediction

Desmind
Spinosa
Tracy
LaRoche
Werth
Harper
Ankiel
Ramos
Strasburg

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Notice I chanced Espinosa's name hoping to change his luck.

sjm308 said...

Harper has been ranked #1 or #2 in all of baseball for the last two years. Moore is not even in the top 100. Why would we consider bringing up someone who has not played even 5 games in LF? I realize Harper is still learning the position as well but he spent last year and this in the outfield so he at least has an idea.

This is a huge statement by Rizzo to tell his team that this is our year. I am positive that Davey also had a lot to do with this.

Go Nats!!

Eugene in Oregon said...

Just seeing this. Wow. Double wow. Didn't expect to see Mr. Harper promoted anytime soon.

Earlier this a.m. was going to post on the previous thread a comment about this being a 162-game season, not obsessing about a single game, but the team clearly needing more offense over the long haul, etc., but had to dash off to class. But I think a similar notion applies to this move. Mr. Harper has taken a while to get going at each new level. Let's let him have that time. The Nats front office (and manager) know full well that the team can't sustain a .700+ winning percentage. And you don't need a .700 winning percentage to make the new, expanded playoffs. They need to win 90 (maybe a few more) games, and that's what they're trying to do. Even if it takes a month or six weeks for Mr. Harper to get going, I assume their calculation is that he'll contribute significantly over the summer and into the fall -- not based on his numbers at Syracuse, but on what they're seeing in his 'approach' (as the announcers like to say). It's not the move I expected, but I'm happy to go along for the ride (although, like an earlier poster, tomorrow's the one game of this road trip that I'm not going to be able to watch).

Scooter said...

WOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

(c) 2012, MicheleS, all rights reserved. Used without permission.

Ron In Reston said...

For JaneB and Pete and anyone else, to once again clarify:

Calling up Harper now does not mean we lose a year of team control. That date passed, interestingly enough, yesterday (21 days from Game One, not April 21, MichelleS). What it does mean is that he can go to arbitration a year sooner, which means the Lerners have to shell out big time, I hope. The June date you're thinking of is the one that would have kept his arbitration date a year later, like they did with Strasburg.

Now, my opinion is you do NOT hit him 3rd right off the bat, so to speak. You move Werth and his .400+ OBP to third, leave ALR at cleanup and bat the kid 5th or 6th. If he starts hitting like we hope he will, then you move Werth to the #2 spot and Harper to #3 with ALR 4 and move Espi down in the lineup until he finds his groove.

We're all also assuming that he is going right into the starting lineup. I certainly didn't read that anywhere, though I'll admit this is the place I've read anything so far (man, work can be annoying). So he may or may not be playing this weekend, maybe only in a pinch-hitting role so he can make his starting debut on Tuesday at home....and just in time for the Philthies to come to town, too.

sjm308 said...

Just heard from Mark that our leftfielders are hitting a combined .097!! Think it might be time to see what Bryce can do.

Go Nats!!!

Scott from Burke said...

6 hits in his last 13 abs..rizzo went down (up?) and watched him for 3 days per Zuck on 980..he is ready

Scott from Burke said...

cnnsi..stories on the left..harper on top of the list

Steady Eddie said...

Ron -- agree with everything you said except for Harp not starting. If they want him up in the Show adjusting to big league pitching they want that adjustment to start NOW. Why worry about him possibly hitting .150 for the first week or two when we've already got 2 vets in LF doing that????

sjm308 said...

Ron I agree with a lot of what you say, especially on where Harper hits. What I do not agree is putting him on the bench. I think you start him immediately and throw him into the fire. We did not bring him up to solidify our bench. He is a potential star and lets see how he does. Again, we are hitting .097 in lf so it has to be an improvement.

What if SS pitches a no-hitter and Bryce hits a homerun? I realize SS will not be allowed to go 9 but I can dream can't I??

Go Nats!!

SFNats said...

From Kilgore...

"Rizzo left the decision of how much Harper will play to Manager Davey Johnson, who advocated for Harper to make the major league roster out of spring training. But “we didn’t bring Bryce up there to sit on the bench,” Rizzo said."

Steady Eddie said...

Hah, sjm beat me to the punch and showed that I was being too generous to Nady and DeRosa! .097 instead of .150 indeed!

sjm308 said...

Steady Eddie and I are not the same person!

Steady Eddie said...

Maybe I should start calling myself sde135....

sm13 said...

I can't imagine them bringing up Bryce to sit on the bench. He's got to play regularly to make his adjustments and settle in. He's never come off the bench before and I don't think he will now.

sm13 said...

Rizzo on MLB network now

sm13 said...

Rizzo "he will give us a little thunder in the lineup"

NatsLady said...

Well, a mystery solved--why Rizzo didn't go on the road trip. Am at work, let us know what he says, those of you listening.

DaveB said...

Since Rizzo went to Syracuse to watch the prospects himself, he must have been torn between Bryce, Moore and/or Brown. I think this is the real embodiment of the "bring the best 25 north" (or the best 1 west) that we heard all spring.

As to the June date for Super Two status, is that really a date, or is it based on the number of days the player has at the major league level (i.e., if he gets sent back down after 10 days, and then doesn't get called back till mid July, does he still qualify for Super Two)?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Scott from Burke has a serious mean streak.

Scott from Burke said...

you bet..the only downside to this is he cant play tonight...tomorrow is gonna be great

Candide said...

Wow. This actually made the top of the home page on the Post's website. Even a photo of Harper at bat, looking just a wee bit demented. Take that, Redskins!

My nephew had been planning to come over Tuesday night and help me drink some bourbon and Maalox. I hadn't heard the news when I got an email from him a little while ago:

Given the news today, thinking we might be better off buying the tickets for Tuesday. What say you?

I always knew that boy would amount to something someday.

Section 220/J

I was betting/hoping Tyler Moore also, but at this point, the way those guys are hitting, even Nook Logan was starting to look like an improvement.

Scott from Burke said...

funny and accurate description of the pic

NatsFirin'BBs said...

I feel like Stras would be allowed to finish a no-no as long as his pitch count wasn't reminiscent of Edwin Jackson during his no hitter.

Scott from Burke said...

It would be great to be at the game...the fans watching bryce take bp..and i can imagine the dodgers checking him out also...years aago lasorda said he knew the dodgers had taken over the reds when he saw cincinnati watching th edodgers take batting practice..that was at teh end of the big red machine when the dodgers dominated the nl west for a few years...before the wild card (bleech)

Constant Reader said...

Look at the 40-man roster. Did Rizzo really have a choice? Bring up Moore to sit behind ALR? May as well bring up the kid and see how it goes. This is going to be fun to watch.

Candide said...

My first reaction on seeing that photo of Harper...http://img3.wpdigital.net/rf/image_358w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2012/04/27/Sports/Images/AP120314070901.jpg

...was that it reminded me of a photo of Ty Cobb standing with Christy Mathewson:
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv217/BillBurgess/Player%20Tributes/Image12-15.jpg

SFNats said...

DaveB, My understanding is that the "Super 2" isn't a firm date. It's based on how many prospects come up in all of baseball, and once the "limit" is reached,anyone who came up before that day is a Super 2. All to say, I think we can be pretty sure that Harper will be a Super 2 as of tomorrow.

Scott from Burke said...

i recently read an essay on cobb that was the basis of the film..the man was crazy but hard as nails...how about the pic of ya tittle bleeding from the head..or bendarek celebrating over a supine frank gifford?

Kevin Rusch said...

I'm 90% sure that if Bryce gets sent back down for another 5-6 weeks later in the season that he'll avoid Super 2. Which, suppose he does kinda-sorta OK, and then Morse is ready -- I'd totally make that move. You could save $7-8 Million and presumably Morse would still be hitting well.

Scott from Burke said...

talking about sendinghim down and his plane is in the air? he is THE FRANCHISE BABY

Chris said...

makes a bit of sense to me. let bryce get a head start finding his bat, let it sync with Zimm coming off DL. lets not forget the last teen DH decided to bring up, he was a gooden'

as a poster on another board said it best (summarizing as the original post was merged), 'The Nats have gone from a 'we're gonna play smart and look forward to 2013', to the 'NL East is up for grabs and we're gonna drop the hammer'.

let the skies clear for the AC-130. guns up, and go nats!

Chris said...

*DJ brought up.

Dave said...

Yes indeed, I think the hammer was just dropped.

Meanwhile: Lidge to DL? An explanation for recent putridness?

JaneB said...

Thanks Ron, for the clarification on his contract.

I was thinking about how hard it must be for managers to tell a player he is going down. But then days come, like this one: you get to tell someone he's going to the Bigs, and someone who is a once-in-a-generation phenom at that. I can't wait to hear the story of how they told him, and what he said, and what happened next.

Happy for him. Tomorrow is a dream come true for him and his family.
,

DaveB said...

Just saw that Lidge is also going to the DL ... these guys sure are snakebit on injuries this year.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Lidge to the DL...geez!!!

Scott from Burke said...

then someone else coming up...another pitcher presumably

NatsJack in Florida said...

I know for a fact that besides Davey, one Mr. Bob Boone was in total favor of Bryce making the jump. And if you dig just a little bit, you'll discover it is the most sensible short term move that could be the long term solution.

Chris said...

its no surprise on lidge, he's come out repeatedly and said 'it's not there.' this should prove to be a rocky May, but if we can weather this storm, and hold to .500 ill be happy.

peric said...

If Bryce hits you'd better believe he's staying. He continue his outfield instruction with the Nat's fav third base coach.

If he doesn't and it looks like he is flailing or struggling they will send him back ... if that happens that will be a HUGE blow to player development and the franchise as a whole given all the expectations.

That's the risk and its huge IMO. Harper didn't remind anyone of Ted Williams in AAA in the PCL at his age. And that's what you'd expect from a guy who has had the kind of success he's had. But Williams isn't often called the best hitter in the history of baseball for nothing. He was a fast learner and one of the best students of the game exclusively when it came to hitting.

SlowPitch63 said...

As mark mentioned and sjm emphasized our LF are hitting .097 opa .207 slg% .125. We're not replacing Ted Williams. Hell, Hoyt Wilhem would be an Improvement.
Unleash the Kraken!
Let's Pkay Two!
SlowPitch63

Scott from Burke said...

Harper has had 6 hits in his last 13 at bats...he found his groove..and he's faster than Williams

Dave said...

@Scott, Ryan Perry's coming up for Lidge, per Amanda.

sm13 said...

Rizzo said that he will send Harpet back to AAA if he thinks that's the right move. That's gonna be tough to do with Davey wrapped around his legs.

Chris said...

it shall prove to be an epic day to be a drunken dc fan tomorrow, one way or another. as for today, "I'm busting Jerry, I'm busting..."

natscan reduxit said...

… sure, I know all athletes are wont to make light of any 'injury' they may or may not sustain, either in the course of play or not. Ask any writer who asks any question after any game of any player and you'll find any given answer to any given question has to be closely examined for any grain of brutal honesty.

… so when RZimm says, "Hey, it's only a scratch", any fan anywhere has to dig deep and peer between the words to find the wink, wink, nudge, nudge lying in the gaps.

… clearly one of two things is true: RZimm knew in his heart something was amiss but chose to brush it off on the expectation that the team, the media and the fans would not pursue it, OR RZimm is much more fragile than has appeared until now, and a minor bruise has developed into something requiring more attention than your neighbourhood construction worker would warrant.

… the face of the franchise is covered with egg, IMNSHO.

Go Bryce! Go Nats!!

Scott from Burke said...

sm13: Funny stuff

Candide said...

If Harper turns out to be The One, then by July, when Morse and Znn are back in the lineup, we could be looking back on April and laughing about what a weak lineup we had back then.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

Didn't see this coming, but I understand given that Nationals are in desperate need of offense.

Best wishes to Bryce and Nats. I hope he does great.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Another over the top comment. Was sending ARod, Griffey, jr., or Al Kaline back a HUGE blow to their developement?

Bryce understands how this works. It could only be a 10 day cup of coffee but even if it is and he gets sent back, he'll be back once his developement gets back on track.

On the other hand, this could elevate his focus and he's here to stay.

164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e said...

Freshee, you can't compare the risk with Harper's development to the risk of extending Strasburg's innings.

In the former, the risk is minor. If he struggles and gets sent down, it's not that unusual -- indeed, it happened to Mickey Mantle, to whom Harper is most often compared, and who survived it quite well. He's only 19, its not going to damage him psychologically to the point of ending his career.

In the latter, the risk is career-ending injury.

The situations couldn't be more different.

peric said...

Unleash the Kraken!

Let's hope that doesn't end up being the Kraken rum ... plus Sunshine_Bobby's Maalox.

peric said...

Another over the top comment. Was sending ARod, Griffey, jr., or Al Kaline back a HUGE blow to their developement?

I'm pretty sure Al Kaline was never sent back. And he didn't have the franchise level expectations attached to him that Harper does. The guy was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was barely out of junior high.

If you think sending him down won't have an effect on the psyche of the organization you don't understand baseball.

jeffwx said...

Back from Hotlanta for work....Got in the car late enough to hear the final out of the game.

O's (12-7) and Nats (14-5) in First place. Battle of the Beltways beginning on May 18 at the Park.

two 19 year olds had good years according to MLB. Mel Ott and..............Tony C.

peric said...

two 19 year olds had good years according to MLB. Mel Ott and..............Tony C.

Tony Conigliaro is a very sad story. That beaning cost a potentially great career.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Riiight.

UnkyD said...

I'll take my lumps, for pooh poohing this possibility, over the last few months, but I agree with Rizzo that this Kid knows he's gonna get it... Struggling for a few weeks ain't gonna affect his confidence... And the sooner he sees the stuff, the sooner he'll hit the stuff...no?

jeffwx said...

And let's say Bryce looks decent up here.
And Zimm and Morse come back healthy...

Desmond, Espi, Zimm, Morse, ALR, Werth, Harper, Ramos

Would be an excitin lineup for sure...or am I drinkin the kool-aid

Bench: Lombo, Tracey, Ankiel, Bernadina

ehay2k said...

Heard Rizzo on the radio, he said he'd seen Harper and that he had "found his groove" in Syracuse. Questioned about his low BA, he said it's a small sample size, and Bryce always starts slow. But he looks comfortable at the plate, he is getting pitched to like no one else in AAA. Rizzo then said: Using a smaller sample size, he is batting .313 over his last X games. (I think he said ten games.)

So, Rizzo thinks he's ready. Gonna be fun for the Harper family. Lerners are about rake in the money on Harper gear and seats in the park

Who else will be at the game Tuesday? I'll be insection 129.

Scott from Burke said...

what's the difference between the 40 man roster and the other players the nats own but not on the 40 man roster?

Steady Eddie said...

Once again, NatsJack and letters and numbers guy nail it.

Though I hope -- and half expect -- that with BHarp it's not only a matter of focus. Some rare, top athletes feed off the spotlight. It takes them to another level.

Soay it be with BHarp, and break out that Knob Creek!

peric said...

it happened to Mickey Mantle, to whom Harper is most often compared, and who survived it quite well. He's only 19, its not going to damage him psychologically to the point of ending his career.

Or the comparison could be made to Bobby Murcer Mantle's heir apparent. He failed as the franchise floundered NatsJack.

Candide said...

ehay2k said...Who else will be at the game Tuesday? I'll be insection 129.

My nephew and me in 220/J. He'll be the one with the falafel (the kosher guy's open on Tuesdays, right?) and summer shandy. Kid needs to learn the art of beer drinking, starting with don't fruit the GDMF beer!!!...

I'll be keeping a scorecard for only the second time ever; did it for Strasburg's start last week. Thought it would be difficult to follow the game and talk with Cunegonde and all that while keeping score, but it really wasn't. And I actually enjoyed doing it! Cunegonde said she might start doing it also. And to think that a couple of years ago, she didn't know a baseball from a tire iron. Introducing her to the greatest game man ever invented should be enough to keep me out of Hell when I die, I hope.

Scott from Burke said...

Murcer was ok..a class act..who can follow Mantle? Ruth to Dimaggio to Mantle to...that's not a tough act to follow..it's an impossible one

peric said...

Rizzo then said: Using a smaller sample size, he is batting .313 over his last X games. (I think he said ten games.)

The splits against left-handers are pretty pathetic as yet. He hasn't been able to pick up those breaking pitches and changeups tailing into him. He is best against right-handed pitching at this point.

Scott from Burke said...

Falafel and fries at Amsterdam in Adams Morgan..not as good as the stuff you get in Tel Aviv but mighty tasty

peric said...

Murcer was ok..a class act..who can follow Mantle

NONETHELESS after that the franchise floundered until Steinbrenner. I don't think the Nats project Harper as a class act player like Bobby Murcer who really was an average, at best, hitter.

jeffwx said...

Peric....
I'd say Bryce Harper's skills/capabilities/potential are higher than Bobby Murcer. We weren't ready to let go of Mickey Mantle in 1968 so we tried to invent another one.

Scott from Burke said...

that is true..but part of the reason for floundering was disinterested ownership..can't out that on Bobby M

UnkyD said...

Scott: lots of things, but mainly, you can't play on the 25, unless you're on the 40, and you can't leave the 40, without clearing waivers. Anybody with a "major league contract", has to be on the 40 (Harper, Purke and Rendon all signed ML deals, and so are on the 40...

jeffwx said...

Love Amsterdam Falafal....Tempted to get some before the game now.

Scott from Burke said...

thanks Unky

Scott from Burke said...

heres the thing..go to amsterdam falafel for lunch..eat up..then WALK to the game..that's 5 miles or so? i love walking in the city

NatsNut said...

Super Two:

Players who have at least three years, but fewer than six, of Major League service time, are eligible to file for arbitration. In addition, there there are the so-called "Super Two" players. These are the top 17 percent of players, based on service time, with at least two but fewer than three years of service. The rule states that a player must have at least 86 days of service in the immediately preceding season to qualify for this status. Typically, the cut-off for the top 17 percent has been around two years, 130 days of total service, though the days fluctuate from year to year.

Scott from Burke said...

Bobby Murcer's WAR was 7.2 and 7.7 in 1971 - 72

That's pretty good

Scott from Burke said...

In MLB history only 24 players hit above .275 while also hitting 250 or more home runs, driving in more than 1,000 runs, and stealing more than 125 bases and totaling 45 or more triples. Among that elite group only Murcer, George Brett, and Rogers Hornsby struck out fewer than 1,000 times.

NatsNut said...

"letters and numbers guy." LOL


Steady Eddie said...

Once again, NatsJack and letters and numbers guy nail it.

JamesFan said...

I sure wish him well. This is tremendous pressure to put on a 19 year old kid, but here we go. He did not do well in AAA so far despit what Santangelo says (.250, 1 HR, 4 errors). I suppose from the Nats' standpoint, he is not going to be worse than what we have.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

where can I look up minor league splits?

sm13 said...

Davey shoes up the lineup tonight against Kershaw - Lombo batting 2nd and playing 3rd. Werth batting 3rd and playing cf.

sm13 said...

Shakes up...

A DC Wonk said...

To repeat, and amplify, and add to, a comment above:

What this tells me is that Rizzo (who, by consensus, is a terrific evaluator of talent) is saying: "we're done planning the future, we can take this thing this year" and "there's a good chance Bryce can handle this and/or is 'ready enough'"

I really think that's what Rizzo's saying with his actions.

And, as I trust his evaluation of talent -- this bodes really well for the Nats.

My point, is that this is more than just "young phenom gets his debut" -- this is: "we're angling for the playoffs this year, and we're willing to take some risks to do it. This year.

And that, my imaginary friends, is why this is so significant. And so exciting.

sjm308 said...

Kaline was never sent down, in fact Kaline NEVER played a day in the minors!! He went right from HS in Baltimore to the major leagues! Hit .350 as a 20 year old!! pretty impressive.

That being said, if Harper is struggling, you send him down to find his stroke. You don't do it immediately, you give him every opportunity, but its professional baseball and there will be no psyche issues with him or the team, and I do understand baseball and athletics.

I also understand that disagreeing with Peric will open up a whole can of "whatever" but this is the life Harper has worked for his entire 19 years. I am hoping it never gets to that and that he is super but he is not holding them hostage here. Produce or get sent down. Its as simple as that.

A DC Wonk said...

Werth batting 3rd and playing cf.

Well, whaddya know! I suggested that twice last night during the game thread!

Like I always said: I may not be a good armchair GM, but I think I'm a pretty good airchair manager! ;-)

John C. said...

Bobby Murcer failed? Murcer was great his first go around with the Yankees. He hit 129 home runs his first five years with the Yankees, and in an era when power was hard to come by. He was an all-star four times in those five years, finished in the top 10 in MVP votes three times and won a Gold Glove. His OPS+ numbers were 119, 116, 181, 169 and 135. He led the league in OPS in 1971. He was traded, yes - for Bobby Bonds, another all-star. The Yankee teams he was on in the late 60's and early 70's were not good. Murcer WAS very good. Despite having been sent down a couple of times early in his career.

Here, Peric - do some research. Don't confuse the end-of-career journeyman Bobby Murcer when he played with the Yankees from 1979-1983.

NatsLady said...

FS baseballreference.com shows minor-league info.

Dave said...

So we're all about Harper here, but does anybody have any thoughts about Perry coming in for Lidge? How does this affect the bullpen, for good or I'll? Or not?

Dave said...

That would be "for good or ill." Damn autocorrect.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

NatsLady, it does not show splits by season or career numbers unless I am not looking right.

jeffwx said...

Yes, Murcer was a very good ballplayer from Oklahoma...Mantle was an exceptional talent from the Oklahoma mines. Nothing against Murcer by saying that he was no Mantle...Who was.

John said...

With Harper sure to grab all the focus, maybe the rest of the lineup can start to relax and find their hitting stroke.

Scott from Burke said...

Peric said: Bobby Murcer who really was an average, at best, hitter.

now he needs to say I WAS WRONG

John C. said...

Dave, Perry is going to be the "garbage time" guy in the bullpen, strictly middle innings. What will be interesting is the ripple effect through the bullpen. Is HRod now the full time closer? If you're going with the "A" and "B" bullpen idea that DJ likes, who is the other closer?

You still have Clippard, Stammen, Mattheus and Perry from the right side and Burnett and Gorzelanny from the left side in the pen. Burnett has some (not very good) experience closing, but is probably next in line.

Candide said...

A DC Wonk said......I may not be a good armchair GM, but I think I'm a pretty good airchair manager!

Where do I get one of them airchairs? Sounds way cool.

jeffwx said...

AROD goes deep on Verlander....number 633 (many on the juice).

Just back from the grocery store and the checkout clerk asks who were the 4 Nats players with the largest impact last year. He answers with Storen, Clippard, Morse and Zimm. Good answer I think. Then, he asks what have these 4 done for the Nats this year. Again, he answers very little. His point being,When those 4 are healthy, we'll be so much stronger. Good points from the checkout guy. They're talkin about the Nats all over town, even during a west coast road trip.

sjm308 said...

John C. - you might be right but Perry has saved games at the major league level (not that well) and Clip in my opinion is struggling right now. I think it could be Mattheus who might have the best stuff besides HRod, or Davey might just stay with HRod and see how that turns out. wouldn't it be great if we didn't need that closer night in and night out.

Scott, if you get Peric to write those words you will join ehay on my "buy a beer" list. But remember, Peric knows baseball and the rest of us are just here to read his comments.

Scott from Burke said...

If he doesn't anytime he writes anything i will bring it up..i will wear him down..and instead fo a beer how about an italian sausage?

MicheleS said...

Ehay2k/ Candide, I will be in Section 130.

Scott's Mean Streak: Scott, just a word of caution, don't go after the ladies (Like JaneB, 1A, NatsLady) on this blog, We do have claws and are not afraid to use them - a little civility and decorum please.

FP being nuts, Heck Yea we all thought that last night. But Like JaneB, he has actually played in the majors, so what do i know and will defer to him on that AAA vs MLB is easier.

NatsJack, if Bob B says Bryce is ready, no arguing with that opinion.

And all of a sudden, Verlander is getting shelled. What parallel universe are we living in!

Dave said...

@John C., I guess I assume that MPHRod is now the closer, and that Lidge's last couple outings sort if started to move him into that "junk" role.

It's that ripple effect I was thinking about, in fact. I'd like to see this bullpen fulfill its promise as the shut-em-down gang.

Scott from Burke said...

MicheleS..I'm sorry, sometimes NatsLady pushes my buttons. But I will do my best.

Scott from Burke said...

The AAA vs. MLB makes sense..i was referring to something else...better lighting, more pitches around the strike zone..less chances of a 90mph fastball coming at your head..better batter's backdrops...i have heard this before...

jeffwx said...

Just checking out the comments from the oakland A's article regarding Tomaso Milone's great start this week.
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120424&content_id=29547596&vkey=news_oak&fext=.jsp&c_id=oak#disqus_thread

One A's fan comment:
"Is it just me or are Nationals fans classier than other MLB fans?"

Given our support for Tommy from afar.

Candide said...

Looks like tix are going fast. I had no trouble scoring a pair in section 220 for $23 (plus tax, convenience fee, tags, freight, dealer prep, title transfer fee, certificate of indemption, donuts) about four hours ago. Now there are four left, going for $55 apiece.

When was the last time you saw a Tuesday night sellout?

MicheleS said...

Scott, hadn't thought about the AAA park as an issue, but that makes sense. Also, from other posts, hasn't it been SUPER COLD, like the Artic up in CUSE? That could hurt your batting going from sunny FL to that.

ejs1111 said...

i'm looking forward to watching Harper play...

my next game in my 15 game plan is Friday night against the Philthies... Section 305

Looks like I'll get to see Strasburg AND Harper

GO NATS!!!

MicheleS said...

JaneB.. remember your addiction from last night? I have tickets to Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I should just give the Nats my bank account!

MicheleS said...

Scott, that is what the scroll button is for, we all used to use it for the Bold NegAnon's.

Dave said...

So Candide, sec. 220 is now going for face value? I've got a half-season ticket there, but alas, I won't be there until Wednesday.

MicheleS said...

How cool is it to be watching MLB Network and hearing Jim Kaat and Matty V talking about the Nats chances in the NL East and how the Nats are appointment viewing now!!! Seriously, DO NOT WAKE ME UP!

Scott from Burke said...

Doesn't it get blacked out locally for you know who?

MicheleS said...

Yes, we get MASN Locally, but the rest of the country gets MLB Network and probably Vin Scully. I think I will put game day on so I can hear Vin.

jeffwx said...

And we're off...Johnny Holiday on the tube

Candide said...

Dave said...So Candide, sec. 220 is now going for face value? I've got a half-season ticket there, but alas, I won't be there until Wednesday.

Yeah, we have tix for ten games in 219 that were our share of a STH distribution. We paid $45/ticket, which I thought was a great price until I saw how cheaply Tuesday's tix could be had.

If this team hits the big time, what's happening to Tuesday's tix could be a harbinger of things to come.

JaneB said...

MichelleS, I have tickets too but have work commitments. Work to pay for the tickets! I'll be thereWednesday and Friday, too. My husband and one of ghe kids gets to be there for what my friend calls, "the third coming." since Strasburg was the second coming, and, umm....Thanks for speaking up for the ladies.

Candide, good nephew there!

NCNatsie said...

I'm no GM, but in my business there are times --critical, key times -- when the guy at the top has to think of something that will change the psychology of the moment.

I think Rizzo saw that this was the moment. Team momentum and marketing come together. Look at the atmosphere as it stood this morning. We were all trying to say last night wasn't the end of the world. Then comes the news about Zim and Lidge. Meanwhile, across town, the Skins sign RG3, the Caps move up in the playoffs and the Wiz (!) go on a winning streak. And the Orioles are in 1st. There was a real chance the Nats were about to fade back into page five. And we all complain about the coverage even when were high as a kite.

And don't think all that atmosphere doesn't exist within the clubhouse, too. That's even more important.

So Rizzo goes out and makes the one dramatic move he can make that changes everything. Ticket sales zoom. The media zooms. NI writers zoom. It's one PFB move, if you ask me.

Post a Comment