Tuesday night the MLB Network announced their 3rd annual top 50 prospect list with the requirement being that the players must still have rookie year eligibility.
MLB.com writes that in order to qualify as still having rookie year eligibility
"“a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues or accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the 25-player-limit period, excluding time on the disabled list or in military service”"
Bryce Harper was the only player from the Nationals organization to rank in the overall top 50 and did so coming in at number 3.
Not bad for a kid who is only 18 and will just be making his first full minor league season debut on April 15th playing for the Hagerstown Suns (Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals).
Harper made headlines in 2009 when he announced he would be leaving high school after only 2 years in order to get a GED and enter Junior College. At the time the announcement was met with mixed reviews with many saying it was a mistake and some even questioned his parents and their role in the decision.
Was it a mistake? Only time will tell on that but up to this point I’d have to say no….
Harper has excelled as a player at each stop so far whether it was Junior College, Instructional League or the Arizona Fall League.
He started off 2010 playing for the College of Southern Nevada in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. Going against players who were a couple years older than him Harper put up a .442 batting average with 29 home runs and 89 rbis in just 66 games. What makes those numbers even more impressive is the fact that it was a wood bat league.
He was then drafted number 1 overall by the Washington Nationals in the 2010 Draft. In September the Nationals sent him to the Instructional League where he posted a .319 batting average and a .407 on base percentage while leading his team in hits, home runs, rbis and walks.
Washington then sent him to the Arizona Fall League which is considered to be the highest level of competition under the major league. While in the Arizona Fall League he played against some of the best prospects in all of baseball a number which you will see playing ball in the MLB at some point this season. How did he respond to this level of competition? He posted a .343 batting average and a .410 on base percentage in 9 games while playing on the taxi squad for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Whether he is hitting 502 foot home runs at Tropicana Field or throwing 96 mph fastballs (yes he can pitch to) the kid has been exciting to watch so far. From what I’ve seen so far I’d say the kid is the real deal. He has a big bat with legit power and a cannon for an arm in the outfield. Nationals fans should be real excited about this kid because he is on a fast track to the big leagues and could be on the opening day roster as early as 2012.