Ever since Bryce Harper appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009, he’s been all people could talk about. From the good, of being the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, to the bad, of blowing a kiss to the opposing pitcher, Bryce Harper has been in the news for quite a while now.
When it comes down to it, love him or hate him, the kid is good; extremely good in fact. But I’m guessing you already knew that, and I don’t want to waste my time, and yours, by writing about the same information that’s been circulated over and over again by the media. So instead of rattling off a bunch of stats, and including a bunch of quotes from Harper himself, I’m just going to write about what’s on my mind, giving you my own opinion of baseball’s ‘The Chosen One’.
If you follow me on twitter then you know I’m not the biggest Harper fan in the world. But not liking Harper has NO influence whatsoever on my opinion of whether or not I feel he’s ready for the majors. Even if I was the biggest Harper fan in the world, and had a tatoo of his face on my arm, my opinion that he’s not quite ready for MLB would be the same. My problem with bringing Harper up for Opening Day is that I feel that the Nationals are rushing him. Harper says he’s ready, but I mean come on; that doesn’t tell you anything. If I was in Harper’s position I’d tell everyone I was ready too. Just to let you know, when I say “ready” I’m not just talking about whether or not his skills are good enough, I’m talking about whether he’s mature enough. After all, he’s just 19 years old, and has only played in 109 professional games, between A and AA ball. If it was up to me I’d start Harper out in AAA and then possibly call him up in June or so depending on how he was doing. No need to rush the guy. Let him get in some more at bats, and mature a little more, before bringing him up to hopefully dominate in the NL East.
According to reports, the fate of Harper rests on how he performs in Spring Training. Apparently if he does well he’ll more than likely be on the Opening Day roster for the Nationals. Obviously having Harper AND Strasburg on your roster is sure to attract attention, which in turn will increase attendance levels. But if the Nat’s are just bringing Harper up to draw more attention to the team I think they’re making a mistake. Harper seems to have this ‘I can’t fail’ mentality, when in fact he’s human, and thus can, and will, fail at some point down the road.
Harper said in an interview with Harold Reynolds that he doesn’t want to get the call up and get sent back down to AAA a month later, and then repeat the process a few more times before becoming a permanent fixture in the nation’s capital. Harper says he wants to get to the majors and stay there, with his ultimate goal being to win the NL Rookie of the Year award. In my opinion he stands a much better chance of doing that if he’s called up a few months down the road. Patience is a virtue.