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Fall League begins without Harper

Oct 12, 2010, 1:36 PM EST

Photo courtesy Bill Scheuerman
Second-round draft pick Sammy Solis is pitching in the Arizona Fall League.

The Arizona Fall League gets underway today, with seven players out of the Nationals' farm system participating but not the one many hoped to see out in the desert.

Bryce Harper, the No. 1 overall pick in this summer's draft, is not on the Scottsdale Scorpions' roster as the league begins. That could still change if general manager Mike Rizzo decides the young outfielder (who turns 18 on Saturday) is ready for the challenge, but that seems unlikely at this point.

Rizzo and Nats manager Jim Riggleman were among the team officials who saw Harper and others play in the Florida instructional league last week. Though the top draft pick had his moments during his first taste of professional baseball, most who saw him firsthand don't believe he's advanced enough to face the top talent that will be playing in Arizona.

So the seven players who will represent the Nationals in Scottsdale are right-handers Adam Carr, Cole Kimball and Brad Peacock, left-handerRead more »

  1. Pilchard - Oct 12, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    If the Nats are using their two non-AA exemptions on Norris and Solis, how could the Nats subsequently decide to send Harper to the AFL? Would they have to pull out Norris or Solis?

  2. SpashCity - Oct 12, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    I think the Nats would have to petition MLB to get an extra non-AA player such as Harper in the AFL. But most people think that MLB would love to have Harper play in Arizona and would allow the Nats to add him as an extra player without removing one of the others.Still, I think the Nats will decide to keep Harper out of the AFL and start him in the spring at low-A Hagerstown.

  3. Anonymous - Oct 12, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    I hope the huge hype and the Sports Illustrated cover article on Harper weren't the kiss of death for him but it certainly looks like he was rather unimpressive in Viera. He could easily turn out to be another Chris Marrero or even worse. Just goes to show once again that drafting 17 and 18 year olds is risky business.

  4. Anonymous - Oct 12, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Is Solis throwing a knuckler here? Either that or a knuckle-curve. I don't think I've seen a knuckleballer get picked in the first two rounds, ever.

  5. Steveospeak - Oct 12, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    While I'm interested to see how every does in the AFL, the three big ones to watch are Norris, Burgess, and Solis. Solis hopefully can move quickly and rise through the system to help this staff. While Norris and Burgess are our two best trade chips (non-ML variety). Though the bad news is the represent a good chunk of our system. I desperately want to see the Nats pursue a frontline starter, but know they will only get one through a trade. Hopefully Norris and Burgess have great starts to the Fall League to increase their value.

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 12, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I got to spend 3 games sitting with Solis in the stands in Viera and can tell you he is a solid kid. That was a knuckle/curve he plays with from time to time but his best pitches are a 93-94 fastball with movement and a killer change up that he throws two different ways, one as a full circle and the other a modified circle that takes 3-4 mph off the full.As for Harper, we were all discussing the fact that during Saturday mornings game, most guys his age would be making plans to attend their Homecoming Dance that night instead of crushing baseballs. And he can play defense in the outfield with a cannon for an arm and speed to burn. He adjusted very well as the FIL season progressed although he has a way to go picking up breaking pitches.I sure wouldn't bet against him.

  7. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 12, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    Pilcher: MLB can grant the Nats an exemption to get Harper into the AFL, and given the attention that would receive, I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to provide it if asked.Anonymous: Your eyes don't deceive you: Solis does throw some sort of knuckle-curve, though he's by no means a knuckleballer. That's a secondary pitch.

  8. markfd - Oct 12, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Anyone here planning to head out to AZ to catch a game and provide onsite reporting???

  9. Sue Dinem - Oct 12, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Here's our take on what we saw from the AFL reps this year and in years past:

  10. The Light House - Oct 12, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Is Chien-Ming Wang going to pitch today?

  11. Steve M. - Oct 12, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    A lefty [Solis] throwing a knuckle curve? Wasn't that Mike Mussina's money pitch from the right side?

  12. Anonymous - Oct 12, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    I went to FIL games last Friday and Saturday. Harper did fine. He hit an oppo boppo on Friday and an oppo double on Saturday. Reached when he beat out a Baltimore chop. His most impressive at-bat was when he was down 0-2 in the count and worked a walk after fouling off 3-4 strikes. Seemed like a good kid and definitely appears to LOVE the game. Hustles, too. Oh, and he has TERRIBLE allergies!Stephen Souza looked like the man at FIL!

  13. Anonymous - Oct 12, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    Chien-Ming Wang pitched two innings as planned today. his line: 2/0/0/0/0/0/0. 17 pitches, 10-7, faced 6 batters and touched 89 mph. 1st inning- 9 pitches, 2 GO, 1 FO; 2nd inning- 8 pitches, 2GO, 1 FOsource

  14. The Light House - Oct 12, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    Thanks, Anonymous!

  15. D'Gourds - Oct 14, 2010 at 7:10 AM

    A knuckle curve has very little to do with a knuckle ball. It's simply a type of curveball grip. It looks just like a curve ball. The grip allows the pitcher to impart more spin upon release–the opposite of a knucle ball, having little to no spin.

  16. D'Gourds - Oct 14, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    I just noticed the above picture of Solis–you're right–that is a knuckle ballgrip, not a knuckle curve. He might have just been fooling around.





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