Bryce Harper is a sophomore catcher from a Las Vegas High School, and the presumptive #1 pick in the 2011 draft. Why? Well, it could be that fact that right now, as a sophomore, he'd be fighting Stephen Strasburg (and he might win) for the title of best amateur prospect in the country. You don't often find 16-year olds who can throw 96 mph, score from second on wild pitches, or hit baseballs off the catwalks/back wall in Tropicana, and you certainly don't see them with bats so fast that you have to slow down the videos to pick up the swing plane (by the way, the swing is Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds but faster). His longest home run? 570+ feet over the street behind a high school field. He was 15. Aluminium bat or no, that's just obscene.
He's so good he doesn't even take BP with baseballs anymore.
"Little red beans," says Ron Harper with a laugh. "The smaller ones, like you see in soup. He just blows them up. It's good for hand-eye coordination. He's shredding them, but every once in a while one would be whizzing by your head." [Boston Globe]
I feel obligated to point out that he's a high school sophomore. If you threw Yuniesky Betancourt a bean he'd probably hyperextend his elbow and then run away screaming because he got too near healthy food. Do you think anyone on this team apart from Ichiro could read numbers off of thrown baseballs? I haven't seen him in game action at all, but I'm not sure there'd be much point since no high school pitcher will throw the ball anywhere near him for fear of being Matt Clemented. But scouts are comparing his talent in high school to Junior's, to Alex Rodriguez's, to Justin Upton's. When each of them was two years older than Harper is now. Matt Wieters is going to get out Wieter'd within 5 years of making his major league debut.
In conclusion, Bryce Harper is really goddamn good. But why am I talking about him two years before he gets drafted? Well, a juicy quote came my (and everyone else's) way this morning.
What the Harpers are considering, however, is having Bryce earn a GED credential this summer and enroll in a junior college this fall, which would expose him to more challenging baseball competition as well as make him eligible for next June's draft, in which he would likely be the first pick in the country. [SI]
There's a very good argument to be made that he'd be the #1pick this year too. Ahead of Stephen Strasburg, the most talented pitcher the amateur ranks have seen in the past decade (although Strasburg would likely kick his ass right now). It would be pretty nice if he were draft eligible this year, so we'd have a shot at him or Strasburg, but since his parents didn't have the foresight to conceive Bryce a year earlier (thanks a whole bunch you guys), we're going to be pretending that Dustin Ackley is the answer to all of our hopes and dreams rather than an excellent baseball player.
If we needed a reason to be ok with losses, Bryce Harper is a wonderful one. Didn't everyone enjoy the epic quest for Strasburg last year? Billy Beane might end up looking like a god damn genius for building such a terrible A's club. Trading everyone and replacing them with pumpkins is looking more attractive by the minute. So does becoming a Nationals fan. I'm hating that talentless pile of crap they call a baseball team more and more every day.
Note: I am not seriously suggesting that I want this team to tank for draft position based on speculation that Harper might be draft eligible in 2010.
Another note: Yes, he wants to play in pinstripes. Or for Boston. But Chris Tillman wore an Angels hat in high school so I'm pretty sure I can deal with players rooting for the wrong team as long as they're good enough.