Mar 12, 2011, 11:24 PM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Physically and mentally, Bryce Harper looked like he belonged in big-league camp.
Did Bryce Harper, optioned to low-Class A Hagerstown late this afternoon, actually make the decision difficult for the Nationals? Did his performance in 13 Grapefruit League games — a .389 batting average, three doubles, five RBI — make team officials pause for a moment and question whether he might actually be ready for the big-time?
No, not at all. Make no mistake, they were impressed with what they saw out of a supremely talented but still very raw teenager playing alongside established major leaguers 10-to-20 years older than him.
But Mike Rizzo had his plan for Harper in place from day one, and nothing the kid did on the field was going to change it. Whether Harper went 18-for-18 or 0-for-18, he was going to get shipped out to minor-league camp sometime in early-to-mid March. And no matter what, he was going to begin his minor-league career in Hagerstown.
Read my full analysis of Bryce Harper, including a potential timeline for his progression through the minors, on CSNwashington.com.
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
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