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Harper promoted to AA Harrisburg

Jul 4, 2011, 2:16 PM EDT

Updated at 1:05 p.m.

The Nationals promoted top prospect Bryce Harper to Class AA Harrisburg today, a move that had been anticipated for some time but still carried some element of surprise given the organization’s decision to have the 18-year-old outfielder skip one level of its farm system.

Harper, who spent the season’s first three months at low-Class A Hagerstown, will debut for Harrisburg tonight at home against Erie. And, according to general manager Mike Rizzo, he’ll finish the season with the Senators before returning to play in the Arizona Fall League for the second consecutive year.

“We’d like for him to play at every level in our minor-league system,” Rizzo said. “He’s already played at the A-level. So we wanted to give him a month-and-a-half or so in Double-A, and then obviously we’re hoping he’ll play in the Arizona Fall League after this. So that’s our progression for him this year.”

Still, Harper’s advancement from the low-Class A South Atlantic League to the Class AA Eastern League is a blow to the high-Class A Potomac Nationals, who for the second straight season won’t get to
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  1. natsfan1a - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Oh, that answers my question about in the previous post. :-)natsfan1a said… Looking at tweet link on right side of page, Harper to debut in Harrisburg tonight. Wonder whether they skipped Potomac due to outfield drainage problems. Noticed at the game on Saturday that a fair amount of water seemed to be splashing up when balls dropped in the outfield. July 4, 2011 10:17 AM

  2. shraf1 - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    We really need a significant upgrade to Pfitzner Stadium or move the high A team. If that is the reason behind skipping high A, then this is a really serious issue. Hopefully, the lost revenue from not having Bryce Harper on the team will prove to be a sign to those in charge at Potomac and in DC that something significant needs to be done here. I know they are building a stadium in Loudoun, perhaps the Nats should look into that.

  3. Sunderland - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Good news. Bryce must be pretty geeked. Harrisburg just got a little more hitterish.Bummer for Potomac though.

  4. Feel Wood - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    The Nats don't control the minor league teams, they are only affiliated with them. If the PNats are going to move to Loudoun, it would have to be the PNats owner who cuts that deal. Of course the Nats could always affiliate with some other high A team when their contract with Potomac is up.

  5. FS - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Did he really deserve it? I thought he had cooled down a bit to bring his avg down to what it is now. What about his defensive game?Anyways, will be happy to see him up here asap.

  6. Positively Half St. - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Where are they building the stadium in Loudon? It could be a traffic nightmare from Fairfax. +1/2St.

  7. Sunderland - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    BTW, not complaining at all, just observing. This is another example of the untruthful doublespeak that comes out at all professional sports management levels and why it's unwise to just accept what Rizzo (and all other GM's) says.Rizzo said Harper will “touch every level of the minor league system…” Rizzo also said "There's no safety concern (at the Phitz). If it was a safety concern, we wouldn't be playing there. We would pull all the players off the field."There's obviously safety concerns at the Phitz.

  8. Sunderland - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    The Loudon Hounds are building a ballpark.http://ballparkbiz.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/all-about-the-hound-pound-ballpark/At Rt 7 and Rt 28.Anyone know if construction has really begun?

  9. Mark'd - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    I don't agree with Rizzo often but he had to make this move and bypass A Potomac.

  10. natsfan1a - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Sunderland too fast for me with the links. Dang. Oh well, here's one to the actual team site:http://www.loudounhounds.com/fanfestnews.php

  11. Anonymous - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    I live near there. Construction has not started.

  12. Big Cat - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Makes you wonder if maybe Davey had something to do with this. I don't buy the stuff about the field in Woodbridge being bad. I think if Harper does respectable in AA, he will be in Washington in Sept. or earlier for that matter. There is no other reason to jump an 18 year old to AA unless you are thinking about him helping the big club soon. Personally…..I am all for it

  13. JaneB - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    I thought most people were in a hurry to see Harper blitz through the system to get to us faster? I also though that Harrisburg had a tougher and more "winning" (not in the Sheen sense of the word) culture than the PNats do. Not that I have any first hand knowledge of this; I'm just going on memory.Sounds like The Prince of OpppBoppo is right on track to do Harrisburg the rest of this season, a little Syracuse next spring, and come on down maybe next year. I echo the new rallying cry of natsfan1a: GYFSG!

  14. Big Cat - Jul 4, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    JaneB……not for the rest of the season in AA. I think if he goes there and hits .350 for a month, he could be in Washington in early August. I think Davey has seen enough of this putrid hitting and told Rizzo to get him some help. Harper is correct in his comments that AA pitching is around the plate more and might be easier to hit

  15. Sunderland - Jul 4, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Get Your First Shot of Gorse?

  16. Anonymous - Jul 4, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    and to think that I have tickets for tonights game and was not going to go. I guess I just changed my mind. Paul

  17. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 4, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Well Barry Bonds played his firs professional game at Pfitzer stadium and I don' remember drainage being an issue until lately. My guess it must the construction around the stadium that has changed the underwater travel of water more than anything that the stadium did. Let's hope Harper has a good second half of the year, and go to Syracuse to start next year.

  18. Big Cat - Jul 4, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I was looking forward to seeing him in Woodbridge. Oh well. I'm sure the GM in Potomac isn't very happy

  19. natsfan1a - Jul 4, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    I believe I read somewhere that they'd put in a new drainage system at the Pfitz and that they'd had problems since then. Yeah, would have been nice to have a chance to see the kid there but oh well. GYFNG, GYFPNG, GYFSG!!

  20. Anonymous - Jul 4, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Rizzo is right in his comments about the field. If it was unsafe, no one would be playing on it. How about visiting ballclubs? Do you think they would send their bonus babys out there to get hurt? This isn't the 50's where they had c and D ball

  21. Slidell - Jul 4, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    I had bought front row tickets near the Potomac dugout for this Wed. and Friday at Frederick, speculating that Harper might be called up.Oh well, I'll still enjoy the games.

  22. A DC Wonk - Jul 4, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    The way I understand this: it's not that Pfitz is unsafe, it's that poor drainage leads to too many cancellations. FO wants Bryce to play at a place where fewer games are cancelled. Among other (more obvious reasons)

  23. Anonymous - Jul 4, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    I think the move has more to do with Potomac not being very good and Harrisburg is a winning team.They don't want him on a losing team.

  24. NatStat - Jul 4, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Prince Oppo Boppo with the big boys in September!When Davey talks, Rizzo listens.

  25. Tim - Jul 4, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    The last point by Davey was a good one: Harper needs to be challenged. He may have been slumping out of boredom (and maybe from his hand injury).He'll be up in time for ur stretch playoff run in August and September of '12.

  26. Jim Webster - Jul 4, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Sure hope they keep Harper in AA for another two weeks. Just bought two tix at Bowie for July 27 game with Hagerstown (11:05 a.m. game time seems a civilized time for geezers).

  27. Anonymous - Jul 4, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Safety Issues are not a Concern at P-Nats ballpark. Also dont expect to see harper in DC until AT LEAST June 1st 2012.After that day players called up dont get their arbitration clock started until the following year.If they are called up before then, the arbitration clock starts sooner.

  28. Joe Seamhead - Jul 4, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Chin Ming Wang also has been moved to Harrisburg. I sure hope that this won't be the only time that they'll be team mates. Rizzo seems pretty positive about Wang. As to the field at Potomac, I honestly think it had little,or nothing, to do with Bryce moving up to the AA level. It's where he belongs. He's earned it.

  29. Anonymous8 - Jul 4, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    There were too many shenanigans with A ball pitchers stuck there that went after Bryce and tried to get their 15 minutes of fame by throwing at him. He needs to see something closer to big league pitching anyway.

  30. Anonymous - Jul 5, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    Harrisburg won tonight 8-1 (largest crowd ever at 8,000 +). Harper was 2 for 3 (2 singles) and a walk. According to radio announcer, Senators' manager Tony Beasley clearly let Harper know he wouldn't be stealing 2nd base in the 8th inning with an 8-1 lead. Seems like the lessons in how to have "class" while playing baseball have begun.

  31. Steve J, Alexandria - Jul 5, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    Harper needed to get up to AA. He had nothing to prove at higher class A Potomac. I heard from folks who watch him every day that for the last month, he was getting ZERO to hit.My guess is that July 4 was the target all along for the promotion. Remember, Harper hit .350 in the AZ. Fall league, then lit up Major League Spring training hitting around .335 (i might be off a bit there).I hope he spends September with the big Club. Begins at AAA next spring and becomes a June 15 call up, here for good.

  32. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 5, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Big Cat said… JaneB……not for the rest of the season in AA. I think if he goes there and hits .350 for a month, he could be in Washington in early August. I think Davey has seen enough of this putrid hitting and told Rizzo to get him some help. Harper is correct in his comments that AA pitching is around the plate more and might be easier to hitYou could be on to something…

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