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BA ranks Harper No. 1

Feb 23, 2011, 9:14 PM EDT

VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper hasn’t played an official minor-league game yet, but the Nationals’ 18-year-old phenom has already been named his sport’s top prospect.

Baseball America released its annual Top 100 Prospects list on Wednesday and selected Harper No. 1 by a narrow margin over Angels outfielder Mike Trout.

Harper, the first overall pick in last summer’s draft out of the College of Southern Nevada, has to date played professionally only in the Florida instructional league and the Arizona Fall League. He’s in big-league camp this spring and is expected to appear in a handful of Grapefruit League games before getting optioned to Class A to begin the season.

Three other Nationals farmhands cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 list. Infielder Danny Espinosa, who is expected to open the season as Washington’s starting second baseman, ranked 66th. Catcher Derek Norris, the organization’s best offensive prospect other than Harper, ranked 72nd. Catcher Wilson Ramos, acquired last summer from the Twins in the Matt Capps trade, ranked 96th.

Only four organizations had more than four players in the Top 100: the Royals (nine), Rays (seven), Braves and Yankees (six apiece).

  1. Doc - Feb 23, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Hey Espi and Ramos show 'em they're off-base!Royals and Rays demonstrate good scouting and trade-draft activity in the FO. How'd the Yankees get there??? Outside the draft, Latin American picks?Some sabermetric-nut could do us a favor find out the correlation between B A rankings and MLB success.

  2. N. Cognito - Feb 23, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Royals have sucked forever.Rays keep trading players for prospects.Yankees have a good scouting department.Haven't followed prospects for quite a few years, but if I recall, BA used to (still does?) have the reputation of rating players more on tools than on their ability to play baseball.

  3. N. Cognito - Feb 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    EDIT:Yankees have a good scouting department and under Cashman have stopped trading them all away for 35 year old players.

  4. Positively Half St. - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    This is so much better than when the Nats didn't have a single prospect in the top 100.

  5. CapPeterson - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Yep, BA depends on scouts for their assessments and tends to be very tools oriented. Their track record is pretty good, IMO, but they tend to miss on position players by overrating rangy, toolsy OFers with bad K-W ratios, like Joe Borchert (sp?) of the White Sox organization. They also have a hard time projecting 2nd basemen. IIRC, Brian Roberts and Dustin Pedroia both flew under their radar. They both were projected as serviceable major league 2nd basemen, not All-Stars–as opposed to Ricky Weeks, e.g. FWIW, I think they see Espy as a serviceable starting major league 2nd baseman.

  6. Will - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    A small correction: Norris actually ranked 72nd and Espinosa ranked 66th. BA's layout is oddly formatted and confusing.http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2011/2611313.htmlIt's interesting, though, that they give Norris an ETA of 2011. I'd be surprised if he gets more than 5 games in September, especially with Pudge, Ramos and Flores ahead of him on the depth chart.

  7. SonnyG10 - Feb 24, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    I finally made it to Space Coast Stadium today to watch my first ever spring training. What fun I had. I drove to Florida with my camper, bringing my wife, Elvira, and my Belgian Malinois dog, Sophie. We got there late because the nearest campground that had vacancies was 60 miles away and we got lost several times trying to get there. We made it aroung 10:30 am and the first thing we walked up to the fence where John Lennan and Sean Burnette were standing. My dog goes crazy after balls and one was hit up against the fence and Sophie tried to get it. John Lannen came over and told Sophie he would give her the ball, but he couldn't. Then he says "What the heck" and tossed the ball over the fence to her. What a time she had with the baseball. Later, someone else gave her a baseball to play with. I've been going to baseball games many years and never got a baseball, and Sophie gets two her first day. Later we met and talked with Livan Hernandez and turns out he has four Malinois dogs, two males and two females. I took some video of Bryce Harper taking batting practice as well as numerous other players. I even got Stephen Strasburg briefly on video as he walked by. I rust in operating my camera showed in that I also have a lot of footage of the ground. I looked for Mark Z, but didn't see him. My wife and I did talk with the WTOP media member (I forgot his name) and he was really funny. Hope to have more great experiences tomorrow. Maybe I'll even find Mark Z.

  8. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:10 AM

    SonnyG10: Sorry I missed you. That WTOP guy you met was none other than Craig "The Round Mound of Sound" Heist, who I can assure you isn't nearly as funny as he thinks he is. He did mention that he ran into someone who was looking for me.I'll try to be more visible at tomorrow's workout, so please look for me. Would be great to say hello.

  9. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    According to a "tweet" by Ben Goessling he was kind of grumpy? Did cheist seem kind of grump?

  10. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:25 AM

    Royals have sucked forever.Rays keep trading players for prospects.Yankees have a good scouting department.Tampa Bay beat both the Yankees and Boston for the division title. Remember? KC will be joining them starting next year. The Yankees owner is acting like Dan Snyder. Makes O's fans happy.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Hey SonnyG10…. If you are going to be their on Friday, I'll look you up. Hope you get to enjoy the Shuttle launch this afternoon.

  12. Tcostant - Feb 24, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    First – Sonny what a great story, I loved my one and only Spring Training trip.BTW – Just think Mike Trout was there in the draft, just there for the picking, at #10 in 2009; just think we could have had the top 2 on this list…

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