Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Harper to begin pro career Friday

ATLANTA — After a brief-but-storied amateur career, followed by a summer away from baseball, Bryce Harper's professional career is finally about to commence.

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, who turns 18 on October 16, has been working out on his own since the Nationals drafted him first in the country on June 7. He signed a five-year, $9.9 million contract seconds before baseball's August 17 deadline but did not play in any minor-league games before those seasons ended last week.

In Florida, Harper will be joined by several dozen Nats prospects who play in the instructional league, often to get extra at-bats or innings after missing time during the regular season. Depending on how he handles his first foray into professional baseball, the catcher-turned-outfielder may then play in the Arizona Fall League (a finishing school usually reserved for top Class AA and Class AAA prospects).

Harper, who got his GED at 16 so he could immediately enroll in college and be drafted at 17, has made no secret about his desire to reach the major leagues as quickly as possible. He's also shown an ability to hit with a wood bat, having clubbed 31 homers in only 66 games as a freshman at the College of Southern Nevada.

Nationals officials will let Harper's performance dictate how quickly he advances through the minor leagues, but they aren't expecting him to reach Washington until late 2012 or early 2013.


Anonymous said...

Have to check the schedules out, may be worth a little ride to see this kid hit. JTinSC

Anonymous said...

Well, if Al Kaline could do it ... perhaps Harper could ... but its going to take a lot of work ... winter not just summer. Let's see what he does.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it will likely be a pitcher if they draft third or fourth next year.

Sec3MySofa said...

Mark, when do they have to decide whether or not to send him to the AFL? I thought that was already decided.
But if not, how much time will I have to book my travel.

Sec3MySofa said...

that last was a question, btw.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Any way they can just bag this instructional league stuff, and just have Mr. Harper report to Atlanta this week instead?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Sec3MySofa: I believe they can wait right up until the start of the AFL season. They've got one slot still open on the roster. And if I remember correctly, last year they made a last-minute switch after Derek Norris got hurt, plugging Sean Rooney in there instead.

Sec3MySofa said...

Thanks, Mark.
So basically, if he does well enough and doesn't get hurt, they'll send him, I guess.
Might as well start shopping for airfares, I guess.

Sec3MySofa said...

So, to follow up:
"The Fall League begins its 19th season on Tuesday, Oct. 12. The league will play its games at 12:35 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. Monday through Saturday in five Cactus League stadiums: Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise. For the second year, the league also will play one game at Camelback Ranch-Glendale and Goodyear.
The championship game is slated for Saturday, Nov. 20 at Scottsdale Stadium.
Read more: www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/2010/08/31/20100831arizona-fall-league-2010.html#ixzz0zYFS0A9W "

Nationals players will be with the Scottsdale Scorpions, which is nice for me 'cuz it's close to Mom's house.

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