The long-awaited big league debut of Bryce Harper will happen on Saturday in Dodgers Stadium.
The Nationals announced on Friday afternoon that they are placing Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list and bringing up Harper to replace him on the active roster. Harper had struggled in his 20-game stint with Triple-A Syracuse, but with the big league club getting almost no production from left field, the Nationals decided it was time to bring up their No. 1 prospect. Nationals left fielders are hitting .097/.207/.125 with two extra-base hits (two doubles) this year so whether Harper plays right, left or center, he can at least be expected to produce significantly more power than the players he'll be replacing.
When Harper debuts as a 19-year-old, he'll be a more than two years younger than anyone else in the big leagues. Seattle's Erasmo Ramirez and Houston's Jose Altuve are the two youngest players in the big leagues currently, and both of them will turn 22 this week. Even though he's a teenager, Harper has been creating buzz for years. Even when he was a rising ninth-grader Harper was impressing scouts in Nevada (subscribers). That summer he was drawing Willie Mays comparisons (subscribers). As our Area Code Games report said (subscribers):
It has to be mentioned that the best prospect in this event—and probably the best overall prospect in the nation—does not come from the 2009 class. A rising sophomore (2011 class), Bryce Harper from Las Vegas High is quickly becoming a prodigy as he consistently wows scouts with his huge power, ability to square up on the ball in almost every at-bat and his well above-average arm behind the plate. Harper also runs well and grades high in athleticism, especially for a catcher. At the age of 15, Harper is 6-feet-3, 200 pounds and is already represented by the Boras Corporation. Many scouts feel Harper would have been the first pick in the 2008 draft, had he been eligible, and is the very safe bet to be the top choice in 2011.
Harper was not supposed to be draft eligible until last summer (he passed the GED after his sophomore year in high school and became eligible for the 2010 draft after playing at a junior college in 2010), so he has sped up his already speedy timetable to the big leagues. Now he'll reach the goal that he, and scouts, have long expected to see him reach–the big leagues.
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