Oct 13, 2010, 6:06 PM EDT
Bryce Harper will celebrate his 18th birthday Saturday at home in Las Vegas. Then he’ll make the short trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., and immediately start facing the toughest competition of his brief baseball career.
The Washington Nationals have added the No. 1 draft pick to their roster of players participating in the Arizona Fall League, an elite “finishing school” generally reserved for top prospects who have already played at the Class AA or Class AAA level, a club official confirmed this afternoon.
Harper, of course, has yet to play at any official minor-league level, aside from about three weeks in Viera, Fla., at the instructional league. But Nationals officials believe the catcher-turned-outfielder needs to get as much playing experience as he can this offseason, so they’re sending him to Arizona to serve as a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions’ “taxi squad.”
AFL teams play six games per week, but taxi squad members are only allowed to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Thus, Harper’s playing time will be limited. Club officials, though, believe the experience will be worth it, both on the field facing pitchers on the verge of reaching the big leagues and in the clubhouse socializing alongside teammates who are anywhere from four to eight years older than him.
NL EAST STANDINGS
NL WILD CARD STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Now in 2nd place, Nats not scoreboard watching yet
- Struggling Nats out of 1st place in NL East
- Nats lose to Arizona, fall out of first place
- Strasburg strong in 2nd rehab start, next stop D.C.?
- Papelbon offers advice on pennant race pressure
- Updated: Good news for Carpenter, Span close to live BP
- Nats return home hoping to get back on track vs. D'Backs
- After sweep, Vegas sees Nats and Mets trending in different directions
- Postponement gives Nats new home finale
- The Baseball Show: Is NL East up for grabs?