Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Bryce Harper: 2010 #1 Draft Pick?

March 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Baseball Writing, New Media

Current baseball writers are more than likely to ply their trade in one of today’s new media–websites, blogs, or even on Twitter.  So BooksonBaseball’s tagline — Paying homage to the written word about America’s pastime–is still being honored, even if we don’t always talk just about books.

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Let’s face it, we baseball junkies can’t seem to get enough of–young phenom Bryce Harper.  Harper, at the age of 17, is playing at the College of Southern Nevada to gain experience before the June draft.   Should the Washington Nationals ignore the Moneyball advice and draft a high school player–Harper– based on awesome potential or should they play it safe and draft a top flight, proven college player?

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, talking to a scout very familiar with Bryce’s game, posted a fascinating article breaking down all the elements , from hitting to mental makeup.  Here’s an excerpt:

Power: This is where scouts’ eyes light up the most. Typically, it’s a scout’s job to be negative, almost cynical. A guy like Harper gets seen so many times, his slightest weakness will invariably get picked apart. But when it comes to his power, both raw and present, there’s really no negative to find. Of his 37 hits, 22 have been for extra bases. On the scouting scale, 80 is the highest grade a player can get in any one tool. Normally, it’s about as easy as a figure skater getting a perfect 10 on the old scoring scale.

“He has 80 power at age 17,” the scout said. “Guys don’t hit the ball out the other way with wood like that. Not even big leaguers. And he does it pretty easy. It’s 80 present, 90 in the future. It’s off the charts. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s hand strength and hand speed more than bat speed.”

Read Mayo’s complete article…

Listen to Mayo talk about Harper from a MLB.com 2009 interview…

Tom Verducci wrote the June 8, 2009 cover story for Sports Illustrated about Harper.  Here is an excerpt from that excellent piece.

So good and so young is Bryce Harper, however, that he explodes baseball convention. He has hit the longest home run in the history of Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, and he did so in January, at age 16, with a blast that would have flown farther than the measured 502 feet had it not smashed off the back wall of the dome. Still only 16, Harper stands 6’3″, weighs 205 pounds, has faster bat speed than Mark McGwire in his prime and runs so fast that he scored on wild pitches six times this season from second base. As a catcher he picks off runners from his knees, and when he pitches, he throws a fastball that has been clocked at 96 mph. He also does volunteer work, holds down a 3.5 grade point average and attends religious education classes nearly every morning before school.

Read Verducci’s SI article here….

View SI’s entire vault of Harper videos…

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Just in case you have some doubts, below  is a video of Harper showing off his stuff.  The real fun begins at about 3:00.

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