Skip to content

Harper doubles in AFL debut

Oct 21, 2010, 4:37 AM EDT

Bryce Harper nearly capped his first appearance in the Arizona Fall League in truly grand fashion. In the end, the Nationals’ 18-year-old phenom had to settle for a two-run double and not a grand slam that would have turned his already-hyped Fall League debut into something really spectacular.

Facing some premier older prospects who are one step from reaching the major leagues, Harper went 1-for-4 tonight in Scottsdale, Ariz., helping lead the host Scorpions to a 6-3 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox.

Batting seventh and starting in right field, this summer’s top amateur draft pick was hitless in his first three at-bats, though two of the outs came on hard-hit balls. But his final at-bat of the evening, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, proved to be his best.

Harper smacked the first pitch he saw from right-hander Brian Leach, a 24-year-old prospect in the Pirates’ system, and sent it down the left-field line, bouncing it over the fence for a ground-rule double that brought two runs home.

For more details, please read my story on CSNwashington.com.
Link now includes video of Harper’s double.

  1. Big Cat - Oct 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    Thatta baby Bryce!Start in Potomac for 2 months….burn that weak Carolina league up, then head to Harrisburg for a couple months….tear it up there also, get a Sept call up to Washington and start in RF opening day 2012

  2. Harper_ROY_2012 - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    …and so it begins on what would have been Mickey Mantle's 79th birthday the next hitting legend takes his first steps!Let's go 3-4!Mark, Bryce cannot hit a home run every time.Who were the other pitchers he faced and what is the prospect potential on them!?

  3. Anonymous8 - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    See, Bryce Harper just proved that you don't have to play for a few days and come in and play hard and make the best of your situation.I used to laugh when people would say Justin Maxwell was so bad because he didn't play every day.Bryce Harper knows he may play at most (for now) 2 days a week and is as stoked as can be!Way to go Bryce!

  4. Anonymous - Oct 21, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Keith Law says one if his BP HR's went 500 feet! AMAZING!

  5. Pilchard - Oct 21, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Strong like bull!Hilarious that last week; someone here attempted to already call Harper a bust.

  6. JD - Oct 21, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Everyone; please calm down. He is still most likely to start in Hagerstown and move up to Potomac midyear. No way he makes it to DC before Sept 2012 and that would be quite a stretch.

  7. Les in NC - Oct 21, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    J.D, I guess we'll see.My guess is, Harper will make a run at the MLB HR record for a teenager (Tony Conigliaro ,19 hit 24). With his talent level, I would put him to be on par with Posey and Heyward right now!Everything we fans say about him is meaningless though until he actuallu gets his shot at the bigs.

  8. Harper_ROY_2012 - Oct 21, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    @ Les in NCAgree it is up to Bryce to play that game at a level that makes Rizzo and company notice, IMHO he will arrive at Nats Park Opening Day 2012 but that is easy not knowing his health status etc between then and now.Just happy he gets to play in the AFL, even if it is only 2 times per week.In watching Posey last night I was thinking of Bryce and Bryce is almost 5 years younger, baseball has not seen anyone like this at the cusp of greatness at such a young agein a long time.

  9. Steve M. - Oct 21, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    I say the earliest we would see Bryce in a regular season game at Nats Park is June 2012. For him to do that I believe he would have to be in Harrisburg by the end of 2011.I also agree with Anon8 that it is good to see that he took some good hacks while only playing a couple times a week. His bat speed and the way he centers the ball on the sweet spot is amazing. Just wait until he fills out his frame.Much to be excited about in Washington! BTW, GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!

  10. Steve M. - Oct 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Here's a YouTube video from a fan. Can't see the ball land, but the pop on the bat and trajectory of the ball is great!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnWMN_9s4_s

  11. Steve M. - Oct 21, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    http://www.topps.com/sports/news/toppsNews.aspx?news_id=349Bryce Harper signs with Topps baseball cards!Looks like Bora$$ is busy with the Bryce Harper endorsements. They did the same with Strasburg last year. I am not a baseball card guy but they have produced some cool Strasburg cards.

  12. Anonymous - Oct 21, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    Mark,Bryce's hit would classify as a rule book double, not a ground rule double. The rule book explicitly states that any ball that bounces over the fence is an automatic two base hit.Listen to the great Jon Miller – he never calls it a ground rule double. Instead he calls it an automatic double.And the funny thing is, I actually heard Rob Dibble once correct Bob Carpenter on this very subject. Thanks for your work, not trying to be picky.

  13. Big Cat - Oct 21, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Hell fire boy!….start him in right next year! The kid has the mentality to do it. Crazy you say? Lets see how he does the rest of the way in Arizona. If he hits .350 or more there, then I bring him to big league spring and let him battle for a job. I can here Bob Carpenter now: "Back door slider…..LONG DRIVE TO RIGHT!….THIS HAS A CHANCE!!…..SEE..YOU..LATER!!!!!!!"

  14. Les in NC - Oct 21, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    What if he "only" hits .260 and hits 6 HR's in ST?If he does well in the big league camp this spring, it wouldn't be prudent to bring him straight to the bigs. He should play at least half a year somewhere in the minors, IMO. He could play the ENTIRE year on the farm, and be brought up first thing in 2012 and still have a shot at the HR record for a 19 year old!

  15. Tcostant - Oct 21, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    I still think Sept 2012 callup is much more likely, with a full-time gig at the start of 2013.

  16. Les in NC - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    You think they should wait no matter what his stats say, if he plays 1/2 a year at AA? Lets play a what if… Bryce totally dominated his college league with a BA over .400 and 30 HR's. So what if his stats fall a bit at AA and he "only" hits .340 with 23 HR's? Should the Nationals keep him in the minors with that kind of prowess?

  17. JD - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    Les, You have to remember that he hit .400 in JUCO not college; as a comparison Dustin Ackley who is 22 years old and dominated real college hit .263 in A ball last year; oh and he's hitting .455 in the AFL. Harper is a wonderful talent but let's see him hold his own against top notch older players in 'A' ball before we print his ticket to Cooperstown.

  18. Les in NC - Oct 21, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    Dustin Ackley hit with an aluminum bat! There is usually a significant fall off when going from aluminum to wood, right? If I understand it correctly, a good hitter with aluminum easily over matches a good pitcher. But when a good pitcher faces a good hitter who is adjusting to an aluminum bat, he tends to have the advantage, no?B.H has already adjusted to wood, so all he has left to do is adjust to the level of pitching (oh, and learn major league OF defense). I don't see him having a problem with it. He may fall off the earth, but I doubt it with the way he swings. Although injuries may prove otherwise.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.5
Through Tuesday's games
x-Clinched division title
UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 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: 1:30 p.m., 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