Bryce Harper Slated to Be ‘Pivotal Player’ for the Washington Nationals in 2012
Since moving from Montreal for the start of the 2005 baseball season, the Washington Nationals haven’t generated much of a buzz on the field. The good news is that spring training brings a clean slate and this year is no exception. With a young, solid core and two former number one overall draft picks in pitching phenomenon Stephen Strasburg and slugger Bryce Harper, they’re close to being able to compete annually with the best teams in the league.
The team’s manager, Davey Johnson, is no stranger to grooming young talent. He shocked the baseball world by winning 108 games and the 1986 World Series with the New York Mets lead by Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry—a young pitching phenomenon and slugger in their own right.
Harper has always been under the microscope. At the age of 16 he made the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline, “Baseball’s Chosen One: Bryce Harper is the Most Exciting Prodigy Since LeBron [James].” He finished High School early, at the age of 16, and entered Junior College to excel the timeframe in which he could be drafted by Major League Baseball. When the Nationals made him the number one overall pick in the 2011 draft, his plan appeared to be working.
Harper faced maturity issues in his first season in professional baseball but his flashes on the field have turned heads. Now he’s saying all the right things, “There are so many things [on which] I have to improve,” Harper said. “I want to make it as hard on them [Nationals] as I can.” Will the hard offseason work and signs of maturity be enough to get called up to the Major’s this season?
Despite his recent demotion to the Nationals AAA affiliate in Syracuse, Natsinsider beat reporter Mark Kilgore stated, “His every at-bat to open the season in Syracuse will be scrutinized, and his offensive stats will be noted after every game as, team officials, fans and media alike wonder when he’ll be ready for his promotion.”
He has the perfect fit in manager Davey Johnson and a core group of teammates that will grow up together. The future is looking bright for Harper and his call up to the Majors could be the pivotal play that finally propels Washington into contention.