Tag:Bryce Harper
Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:54 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 2:58 pm
 

Ear on Baseball podcast, volume 4

Ear on Baseball is back, with Episode 4. The Ear on Baseball crew -- C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder -- welcomes Baseball Prospectus ' Kevin Goldstein to talk prospects, podcasting and more. Bryce Harper came out on top of Goldstein's Top 101 prospects on the same day he made his spring training debut with the Nationals, and we talk about both the player and the performance. We also clear the way for Albert Pujols to join the Yankees. All that and scouting Kevin's refrigerator.

Check us out, and if you want to have new episodes delivered automatically, subscribe to Ear on Baseball through iTunes , Zune or XML.

Ear on Baseball, Volume 4 (51 minutes, 30 seconds)

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 4:54 pm
 

The Bryce Harper era is upon us

Bryce HarperPosted by C. Trent Rosecrans

The Bryce Harper era has begun -- wtih of all things, a pinch-running appearance. The 18-year old pinch-ran for Matt Stairs in the fifth inning of the Nationals-Mets exhibition on Monday and stayed in the game as DH, batting fifth.

For the record, Stairs debuted in the big leagues five months before Harper was born.

Harper, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft, is the game's top prospect. Although he's not expected to start the season with the Nationals -- or even play in the majors this season, he'll certainly be the most closely-watched minor leaguer in the Grapefruit League this year.

Now, we're not going to update Harper's every move here, but his first game and his first at-bat seem rather interest-worthy, so I'll update it when he does come up to the plate. And for those of you with the MLB At-Bat app for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, you can watch the game streaming live.

UPDATE: After Michael Morse went deep to give the Nationals a 7-3 lead, Harper struck out on three pitches against Mets left-hander Taylor Tankersley. Harper fouled off the first pitch he saw before swinging through the next two pitches.

UPDATE: Michael Morse is stealing the show from Haper, homering again against Mets right-hander Ryota Igarashi before Harper came to the plate. Harper, again, struck out. This time on four pitches.

UPDATE: And here's what Harper had to say, via Twitter, about his first big league-ish at-bats:




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Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:22 pm
 

Harper named top prospect

Bryce HarperBaseball America released its annual Top 100 Prospects list today with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper topping its list.

The Royals had the most prospects -- nine -- in the Top 100 and also had the best showing ever by an organization since Baseball America's list began in 1990, according to J.J. Cooper. To measure that, Cooper gave 100 points for having the No. 1 prospect, down to 1 for the 100th prospect. Doing so, the Royals' ranking of 574 points from Eric Hosmer (8), Mike Moustakas (9), Wil Myers (10), John Lamb (18), Mike Montgomery (19), Christian Colon (51), Danny Duffy (68), Jake Odorizzi (69) and Chris Dyer (83).

Not only did the Royals set the record, they crushed it. The second-best showing for an organization was the 2006 Diamondbacks (541 points) with Justin Upton, Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Chris Young and Carlos Gonzalez.  All but Carlos Gonzalez helped Arizona to an NL West title in 2007, while Gonzalez was later traded and turned out to be pretty good.

The third-place organization in Cooper's calculations was the 2000 Marlins (472 points) with Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett and Brady Penny that helped lead the team to a 2003 World Series title.

Rounding out the top 10 were the 2008 Rays (466), 1999 Marlins (441), 1992 Braves (440), 1991 Dodgers (439), 2006 Dodgers (430), 1995 Astros (426) and 2010 Rays (425).

As for other notes in Baseball America's past, they have all their Top 100 lists here. From that here's a list of the magazine's former No. 1 prospects:

2010 Jason Heyward

2009 Matt Wieters

2008 Jay Bruce

2007 Daisuke Matsuzaka

2006 Delmon Young

2005 Joe Mauer

2004 Joe Mauer

2003 Mart Teixeira

2002 Josh Beckett

2001 Josh Hamilton

2000 Rick Ankiel

1999 J.D. Drew

1998 Ben Grieve

1997 Andruw Jones

1996 Andruw Jones

1995 Alex Rodriguez

1994 Cliff Floyd

1993 Chipper Jones

1992 Brien Taylor

1991 Todd Van Poppel

1990 Steve Avery

As a side note, check out the Orange County Register's look back to 2001's Top 100 list and what it should have been in retrospect.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:20 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 10:54 am
 

Harper wants on opening day roster

Bryce Harper is still only 18 years old. He was the top overall pick in last June's first-year player draft and has joined the Washington Nationals' major league players in camp this spring. Still, the Nationals have stated they don't have intentions of breaking camp with Harper. He's only playing with the big boys early on for the experience. He'll get some reps against the major league talent and then head down to the minors for more seasoning by the time the regular season comes along.

But not if Harper has anything to say about it.

"I want to make that decision harder," Harper said, according to MLB.com . "I'm trying to stay up here as long as I can."

"I'm trying to make this club," he added.

Harper has had success in his limited professional stints thus far, notably hitting .343 in the Arizona Fall League. Still, he's only played there and the Nationals' instructional league. It would be unreasonable to expect the vastly talented youngster to catch on with the Nationals this early in his professional career. The most likely scenario is we get treated to a few glimpses of him in the spring and will have to monitor his growth in the minors for much of 2011. If we see him in Nats garb at all in 2011, it's probably going to be in September.

-- Matt Snyder

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 12, 2011 4:46 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Harper likely moving to CF; wants Sept. callup

HarperWhen the Nationals drafted Bryce Harper, they immediately moved him out from behind the plate and stuck him in right field. 

It's possible Harper could have stayed behind the plate, but the length of time for him to reach the majors along with the extra developmental time to learn how to approach being a catcher defensively was deemed too much. 

Except now the Nationals are blocked at right field after the signing of Jayson Werth to a seven-year deal. That doesn't jive with Harper's timetable, with Washington expecting him to take just two years to rocket through the farm as an 18-year-old. As a result, it's likely the Nationals will shift him to another position, which could end up being center field. That works just fine for Harper, according to MLB.com.

"I'm not sure where I will play," Harper said. "I think I play center field better than I do anywhere else. I have enough speed and enough reaction to know where the ball goes off the bat. Being around [Nationals minor league instructor] Tony Tarasco and my dad, who played center field, has been a big help for me. Whether it's left, center or right, I will play anywhere the Nationals need me."

As Harper readies for his first full professional season, he knows exactly what he needs to work on after dipping his toe in the waters while part of the taxi squad for his team in the Arizona Fall League.

"I want to go out there, try to get better, learn from all the big league guys, see how they approach the game and how they go about their business," Harper notes. "I want to get better in the outfield. ... That is my main goal. I want to see what opposing pitchers will do and how they will throw to hitters like Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.

"There are a lot of things that I write down -- baserunning. ... The outfield is the main thing I have to get better at right now -- the outfield and the mental part of the game."

Of course, the most important part is for Harper to actually produce at the plate. But if work ethic is any indication, the Nats have nothing to worry about.

"He attacks the baseball, which is great for a hitter," Washington hitting coach Rick Eckstein said. "He was lining the ball around the park and then driving balls [over the fence in the AFL]. It was very impressive how he conducted his batting practices. He is very advanced at the plate. Mentally, he has a great feel for what he wants to do and a great work ethic for accomplishing it."

So Harper has a great work ethic that should rocket him up the farm and he appears to be playing center field. So when will he be patrolling the outfield grass at Nationals Park? Washington believes that Harper can reach the majors within two years, but Harper hopes for a September callup.

Whether September or two years from now, it will have been an impressive rise for Harper if he can make The Show that fast.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 4, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Harper swings the lumber




Check out the size of the bat Bryce Harper is swinging in the first half this video, which was posted to YouTube this week. It's a 36-inch, 47-ounce Marucci, custom made for the 2010 No. 1 draft pick.

If you're not familiar with bat sizes, that's like swinging a tree trunk. Most major-leaguers use bats between 32-34 inches and 30-34 ounces. Many years ago, sluggers would sometimes use heavy bats, notably Babe Ruth, who reportedly started his career using a 54-ouncer but in his prime was at about 40. I held one on the 54-ouncers in a Hall of Fame exhibit, and it's tough to imagine swinging it with any speed.

Heavier bats hit the ball farther (look here for more than you ever wanted to know on the subject), but it's a tradeoff for bat speed. Even though players are bigger than ever now, most sacrifice bat size for the confidence they can catch up to a 100-mph fastball -- and be assured Harper would look a lot different taking those hacks against Aroldis Chapman than in a BP setting. I asssume the monster bat is just for show and the 34-ounce models shown later in the video are his game bats.

(Also, in case you were curious, the bible verse Harper has engraved on his bats, Luke 1:37, reads "With God nothing shall be impossible.")

Anyway, just an interesting video on a slow news day.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 20, 2010 6:00 pm
 

Harper, Scorpions win AFL; Ackley takes MVP

Bryce Harper has yet to see a major-league pitch and yet he is already a champion.
The Arizona Fall League has come to a close, with the Scottsdale Scorpions defeating the Peoria Javelinas, 3-2, in the championship game.

Scottsdale got a gem of a start from the Nationals' Sammy Solis, who went four innings, giving up one earned run (plus another run) and walked one, whiffing three. On offense, Rockies prospect Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-2 with a walk before being removed from the game.

Top prospect Bryce Harper was responsible for an RBI in his first at-bat of the day, ripping a first-pitch single just past the Red Sox' Jose Iglesias at short. Harper finished with the sole hit and two strikeouts in four trips to the plate.

Ackley Although Harper got most of the attention in the AFL on the days he played, the overall MVP came from Peoria, as second baseman Dustin Ackley (pictured) walked away with the honors.

"Dustin Ackley produced one of the most consistent offensive performances in the history of the Fall League," AFL director Steve Cobb said. "His ability was obvious a year ago when the Mariners also sent him to the Fall League to refine his skills against other top prospects just four months after making him the No. 2 pick in  the 2009 draft. His development has been rapid. Combined with his leadership traits, Dustin’s future is bright."

The Mariners' pick batted third in the championship game and went 1-for-4. He finished the AFL regular season with a stellar .424 average and may push for a big-league spot in spring training.

Ex-Oriole pitcher Adam Loewen, now 26 and in the Blue Jays system as an outfielder, shined with a 3-for-3 night and a walk, all hits as singles.

Alas, Ackley, Loewen and Iglesias (who turned a beautiful double play) weren't enough to win the game. The two runs the offense scored couldn't overcome Kyle Greenwalt's two runs allowed in three innings, with Tom Wilhelmsen coughing up the winning run in the fourth.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 19, 2010 8:35 pm
 

Harper continues to impress in AFL

If you want to see Bryce Harper play, his Scottsdale Scorpions will be in the Arizona Fall League championship on Saturday, with the game on MLB Network (3 p.m. Eastern). Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein has already watched Harper in Arizona and came away impressed.

"He attacks the baseball, which is great for a hitter," Eckstein told MLB.com's Bill Ladson . "The days that he wasn't playing, he treated those days as if he was playing. He would go out during batting practice and get reads off the bat in right field and center field. He was working to get better in the outfield. It was impressive watching him work."

Bryce Harper As a member of the "taxi squad," Harper's been limited to playing two days a week. One of those days is Saturday, so he'll be able to play in Saturday's game against the Peoria Javelinas, who feature Seattle second baseman Dustin Ackley, Houston first baseman Koby Clemens and Toronto shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria, among others. Astros right-hander Kyle Greenwalt will start for the Javelinas.

Harper isn't expected to start in the game, though he is expected to play. Nationals outfield prospect Michael Burgess will get the start in right field.

Harper has had limited opportunities playing just twice a week, but he's certainly capitalized, hitting .343/.410/.629 in nine games, hitting a home run, three double and two triples in just 35 at-bats.

"I think we would be doing ourselves a disservice trying to put that timeline together," Eckstein told MLB.com about when Harper should expect to make the big leagues. "Go into A ball and succeed. He gets a taste of coming up through the minor leagues. He is advanced, but he just turned 18. We have to understand that, too. I think he could compete at a high level, but you don't want to risk that developmental time mentally. I'm very impressed with every part of him as a person, as a player, the way he thinks and his commitment to excellence."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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