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Spring storylines: Harper tries to make club

Feb 17, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Bryce Harper will be the biggest story this spring at Nationals camp.

With pitchers and catchers due to report Sunday, we've reached the home stretch of the offseason. All week, we've counted down the five biggest storylines facing the Nationals at spring training. Today, it's storyline No. 1: Bryce Harper's quest to make the Opening Day roster…

Every step Bryce Harper has taken in the last three years — obtaining his GED at 16, getting drafted with the No. 1 pick in the country at 17, playing in the Arizona Fall League and at Class AA at 18 — has been with a single purpose in mind: Reach the major leagues as quickly as possible.

Throughout the three-year stretch, though, that notion had existed only in a conceptual mode. No matter how well he performed on the field, Harper had never been under actual consideration for a big-league debut.

Until now.

When Harper arrives in Viera next week for the start of spring training, he'll at last have a realistic opportunity to crack the Nationals' Opening Day roster. It's still a long shot. But it's not a zero shot, especially withRead more ยป

207 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    On September 5th last season his ERA was at 3.48 then he fell off his last 4 starts.I MEASURED HIM ACROSS THREE YEARS and the reason why Lannan was sent to the MINORS AA was PERFORMANCE. The previous year, 2009, his closest to reaching 200 innings he had a -20.0 pRAA the worst year of all three. His adjusted ERA (forget ERA it just doesn't do the job anymore) or tRA was well OVER 5 consistently. While Livo managed to have both good and bad. Basically Lannan was all BAD. Period. Sorry to burst your balloon but Lannan is not as good as Tommy Milone and I was fervently hoping Milone would replace Lannan in the rotation because, well, Milone is the better pitcher by far. Unfortunately Rizzo couldn't convince Billy Beane to take Lannan instead. There are about 5 million reasons why but of the players traded I would have wished they had kept Milone.

  2. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Awesome. Mark fixed it. :-)

  3. Rabbit - Feb 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    If the Nationals don't make the playoffs, NLCS, or World Series before 2017, then what difference would it make if Harper leaves or not? By that time, 2017 or 2018 won't make any difference. So, forget about when he becomes free-agent elegible, let the kid play if he can perform at the ML level. That's my opinion. Let's hear yours.

  4. Rabbit - Feb 18, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    2017 and 2018 should not be a consideration. If the Nationals haven't made the playoffs, NLCS, or the World Series by then, so what if Harper moves on. I wouldn't blame him and having him on and having him on the Nationals, at that point, didn't make any difference. That's my opinion, what's yours?

  5. Anonymous - Feb 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Can we cease with the gibber-jabber, second guessing, and the handwringing and bring this kid UP?Some are worried about his maturity when we just cut loose a suspected drug cartel money-launderer, and another player who was so off the chain that he was a danger to himself and others (morgan)? And how many young men plan their career as maturely as Harper did – from pulling out of H.S., to getting a GED (not as easy as many here think), go to a college in order to play wooden bat baseball?Lets bring this phenom up.

  6. Anonymous - Feb 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Can't believe some people are perseverating about 2017-2018. Are you kidding? The future is now. Let's see Harper on Opening Day — no games. Just put him the lineup and leave him alone.

  7. Mike Rizzo - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Can we cease with the gibber-jabber, second guessing, and the handwringing and bring this kid UP?For the record, I am not gibber-jabbering, second-guessing, or hand-wringing. And I'm not bringing him up before about May 1, nevermind what I might have to tell Davey. So get used to the idea.

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