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Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper comparison easy, not apt

Morning roundup

One day before Stephen Strasburg's journey from the draft to the majors ends, Bryce Harper's will begin. What will happen today, of course, is unprecedented. No team has ever picked first overall two years in a row. The Nationals will not only do that, but the two players they got each possess prodigious talent.

There will be a temptation to connect and compare Strasburg and Harper. On the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated, Harper and Strasburg are grouped as "Baseball's Next Superstars." Well, if Bryce Harper is baseball's next superstar, baseball is in for a bleak couple seasons.

What will follow with Harper will be very different than what you've watched happen with Strasburg over the past 12 months. Harper and Strasburg will share going first overall, playing for the Nationals and never understanding the feeling of wanting for money as an adult. They will share virtually nothing else.

It would have been detrimental to his development, but Strasburg could have gotten major league hitters out the day the Nationals picked him out of San Diego State. Despite his mind-boggling numbers at the College of Southern Nevada, Harper could not compete in the majors right now. He's 17. He probably won't reach the majors until 2013.

Harper also plays every day - either as a catcher or an outfielder - so each time he plays in the minors, it will not become the kind of news-making event Strasburg's starts became in the bushes.

"It's hard to really conceive that anyone would have the mystique that Stephen has had," Nationals President Stan Kasten said. "And how will it be different with a position player who plays every day? How is going to be different with a position player who is obviously going to plod much lower in the minors and take a much longer route in the majors? I don't know.

"But if there are special steps required, then that's what we'll do. We showed a couple years ago with Jack McGeary, when we wanted him we were able to take special steps to accommodate what we thought was a special talent. We'll do the things we think we have to do even if they're unconventional."

FROM THE POST

Boz writes that the excitement about the Nationals' future stops in the clubhouse of a team that's lost four straight series.

After Bryce Harper is picked, the real work of the Nationals' refigured scouting department will start to reveal itself. Here's how the Nationals go about creating their draft board.

After the Nationals' 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Reds, Matt Capps might be nearing shaky ground, Steve Yanda writes.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 6, Durham 2: Justin Maxwell went 2 for 3 with a home run and a walk. Kevin Mench went 2 for 4. Shairon Martis allowed one earned run in six innings on four hits and four walks, striking out six. Atahualpa Severino threw three scoreless relief innings, allowing just one hit.

Akron 3, Harrisburg 0: Chris Marrero went 2 for 4, raising his average to .274. Tom Milone allowed one run in seven innings on four htis and a walk, striking out eight.

Wilmington 9, Potomac 4: Tyler Moore went 1 for 3 with a home run.

Delmarva 4, Hagerstown 3: Daniel Rosenbaum allowed one earned run on seven hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings, striking out three. Destin Hood went 1 for 4 and is now batting .286.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Bryce Harper's fame represents the changing public nature of the draft, Tom Verducci writes.

If Joe Posnanski keeps writing about Stephen Strasburg, I'm going to develop a complex.

With Stephen Strasburg's debut one off day away, Baseball Reference looks at some of the best maiden starts ever.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 7, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bryce Harper , Stephen Strasburg , draft , minors & farm system  | Tags: Bryce Harper, MLB draft, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals  
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Next: Top college pitcher expects Nationals to draft Harper, awaits own draft fate

Comments

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays certainly did have consecutive back-to-back first picks!

Posted by: Section314 | June 7, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Word is out that Stammen has been demoted to make room for Strasburg. I guess this was done because he has an option available. Otherwise, it would have made more sense to DFA Tyler Walker or Sean Burnett, and move Stammen to the bullpen. Let's hope Stammen improves in Syracuse. With other pitchers entering the mix, it may be hard for him to get back to DC. Perhaps a trade is in order.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | June 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

So, why is "he's just 17!" a reason to keep him in the minors for 3 years? I mean, I'm not lobbying to rush him through the system, but just suppose his bat is ready by next spring. Why would you keep him back? Is the additional benefit of having him catch that big?

Posted by: Section406 | June 7, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Has anybody commented on the way Ryan Zimmerman has been throwing lately? That semi-submarine "sling" he's been using on almost every play these days? The reason I'm asking is that after I tore my rotator cuff in college 40 years ago, that's exactly the way I had to throw for the rest of the time I played third base in baseball and softball -- until my elbow blew out and I had to switch to playing first base because I literally couldn't throw at all any more. I'm really worried about him.

Posted by: fluffy4 | June 7, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

So, why is "he's just 17!" a reason to keep him in the minors for 3 years? I mean, I'm not lobbying to rush him through the system, but just suppose his bat is ready by next spring. Why would you keep him back? Is the additional benefit of having him catch that big?

Posted by: Section406 | June 7, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

It isn't just baseball ability; maturity is also a consideration. I would have a real concern about whether an 18-year-old is mentally and emotionally ready for the bigs. Also, if he waits until the last minute to sign, that would mean that he would get little or no minor league time this season. Going from a relatively-low level of college ball to the majors is a huge jump (even if he plays winter ball after signing). I think that it would do him some good to spend a couple of years in the minors.

Posted by: rbpalmer | June 7, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Any chance they'll fly Harper to the District for the big Strasburg debut tomorrow?

Posted by: hokiebird22 | June 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

As for what position the Nats have Harper play (assuming, of course, that they get him signed), that will be interesting. There is a shortage of quality options at both RF and C in the organization, especially if Flores can't come all the way back. Catcher is probably the more important position, but they miss more games because of the physical toll of the position, and if Harper's bat is as deadly as everyone says, you want him in the lineup every day. Also, catchers take longer to develop, so he might have to spend more time in the minors if he catches.

Posted by: rbpalmer | June 7, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

So what is Jack McGeary doing these days, Still at Stanford?

Posted by: RichC3 | June 7, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

McGeary is currently "pitching" at Hagerstown:

4-1 4.62 ERA in 8 starts. 39.0 IP, 38 hits, 15 walks and 32 Ks. with a 1.36 WHIP.

It's going to be a while. Maybe he'll arrive in NatsTown when Harper does.

Posted by: RPrecupjr | June 7, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

McGeary is currently "pitching" at Hagerstown:

4-1 4.62 ERA in 8 starts. 39.0 IP, 38 hits, 15 walks and 32 Ks. with a 1.36 WHIP.

It's going to be a while. Maybe he'll arrive in NatsTown when Harper does.

Posted by: RPrecupjr | June 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Argh, stupid double post, sorry.

Happy Strasmas Eve, everyone!!

Posted by: RPrecupjr | June 7, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"McGeary is currently "pitching" at Hagerstown:"

Probably not before 2009 picks Holder and Rosenbaum who will likely be promoted to Potomac before long. He'll likely be kept back along with former 1st round sandwich pick Josh Smoker.

Posted by: periculum | June 7, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Harper is modeled a bit more after Hall of Fame right fielder Al Kaline who jumped immediately to the majors out of high school in Baltimore. Perhaps, if he is moved to the outfield, Harper will follow the same time-line that Storen did.

Of course he could end up being another Marrero. Or a Willems.

Posted by: periculum | June 7, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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