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Posted at 10:11 AM ET, 03/11/2011

Bryce Harper will survive cuts today

By Adam Kilgore

harper bench.jpg

The Nationals will make their next round of cuts official later today, and when they do Bryce Harper will remain in major-league camp, according to a team source.

Harper's staying with the Nationals does not indicate an improvement to his chances to make the major league team out of spring training, which remain null. But the Nationals' comfort with him staying in major league camp reiterates what a remarkable transition Harper has made for a player his age.

Harper, 18, is 6 for 16 (.375) with three doubles and two walks while appearing in every Nationals game as a substitute. Yesterday, Harper played in both Nationals' games, both at home in Viera in the afternoon and away in Kissimmee at night. He went 1 for 2, upping his recent streak to five hits in seven at-bats. In the night game, Harper made a throwing error in the ninth inning that allowed the game-winning to score, his first defensive blemish of the spring. Harper is still transitioning to outfield after playing catcher for most of his youth.

The Nationals have yet to inform the players who will be cut, so their names will not be made public until later today.

By Adam Kilgore  | March 11, 2011; 10:11 AM ET
 
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Comments

This is surprising news. I guess the NATS feel he will benifit from facing ST pitching and fielding major league (for the most part) shots to right field.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | March 11, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I think at this point you do what is best for Harper, and keeping him here does the most to progress his development. As he was supposed to be here for just a cup of coffee I'm glad the braintrust is making adjustments based on his performance.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | March 11, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

His chances of starting the season with the Nationals just went up, I think. I mean the Potomac Nationals, naturally. Hagerstown is seeming a little less likely given that he's holding his own in Spring Training.

Posted by: cassander | March 11, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Please let the first round of cuts include Mock, Atilano and Severino.

Posted by: jacktaven | March 11, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

He has ZERO chance of breaking camp with the big club as they are not going to give him to Super Two status, BUT he does have a chance of being up in late June. IF he plays well enough to get that nod and if there is a need for him on the MLB roster (he needs to be playing a lot wherever he is) then they had better do it. Boz wanting them to wait until some golden date on the player's age calendar to bring him up is some crazy nonsene. If the kid can play in the bigs he should be playing in the bigs.

Posted by: dfh21 | March 11, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Reading Sheinen's long piece on Harper, it occurred to me that being a Mormon, he's due—sometime soon—for two years' missionary work. How does that affect his ML contract? We bring him up in 2012, lose him for two years, and suddenly he's knocking on the door of FA-cy. Any answers?

Posted by: clarquito | March 11, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

dfh--I think that your second condition sums it up. Will there be a pressing need for him to be playing with the big club in June? My guess would be no. The 4 or 5 outfielders who will be regularly getting playing time will producing well enough that there won't be an emergency need for an outfielder.

In addition, with the clear goal of the team to upgrade their defense (whether that has paid dividends is obviously up for debate) there will be little incentive for the team to bring up a kid who doesn't know his position as well as he could with a year of seasoning.

I'd say let him do his time in the minors this year and bring him north with the big club after ST '12.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | March 11, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Bryce Harper will survive cuts today. (ya think?) I had a thought the other day why not give Harper a shot at first base or are we stacked at that position?

Posted by: dargregmag | March 11, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

They're not paying LaRoche $15m (IIRC) to sit. Harper's not going to play first for 2 years at least.

Posted by: utec | March 11, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

When Bryce got his hit in the night game against a AAA calibre pitcher (Ross Wolf) with a career 25 innings of big league work and a 7.92 ERA to go with it, I thought to myself he will have no problem with the pitching he sees in the Minor Leagues and what was so impressive beyond him legging that single into a double last night was the very next batter to come to the plate was veteran Rick Ankiel who was struck out by Wolf in the same Righty/Lefty matchup.

Bryce has yet to face an opposing ace pitcher like a Josh Johnson or CC Sabathia, but he is getting hits off of pitchers who some veterans are not and that tells a lot right there. What's also impressive is as he gets more at-bats his plate discipline is improving. Wolf started him off with a slider that went outside of the strike zone which Bryce didn't offer at. In his first few at-bats in ST he was flailing away so real nice to see.

He is learning, one hack at a time!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 11, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Roy Halladay is also a Mormon, but there doesn't seem to be any break in his career since he was drafted in 1995 - played full seasons every year since, in the majors or minors.

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 11, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Reading Sheinen's long piece on Harper, it occurred to me that being a Mormon, he's due—sometime soon—for two years' missionary work. How does that affect his ML contract? We bring him up in 2012, lose him for two years, and suddenly he's knocking on the door of FA-cy. Any answers?

Posted by: clarquito | March 11, 2011 11:12 AM
_____________________________

That was answered back when he was drafted that while he follows his faith he won't be doing any missionary work until after he retires from baseball.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 11, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

clarquito;

There are plenty Mormon's playing in the NFL right now; I belive they have not completed thier missionary work as of yet. The Ravens have four Mormon's on thier team alone. It would be great if he was able to get some mentoring from Todd Heap and Haloti Ngata.

Posted by: hansenjo | March 11, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Reading Sheinen's long piece on Harper, it occurred to me that being a Mormon, he's due—sometime soon—for two years' missionary work. How does that affect his ML contract? We bring him up in 2012, lose him for two years, and suddenly he's knocking on the door of FA-cy. Any answers?

Posted by: clarquito | March 11, 2011 11:12 AM

--------------------------------------

He's a Mormon, not a moron. I don't think we need to spend any time worrying about him interrupting his baseball career for missions work. Besides, I'm sure the church will be more than happy to take their cut of his salary in lieu of missions work.

As for Harper missing this round of cuts, he's obviously turning some heads in ST and the team is adapting based on what they see. Probably means that he'll start a level or two higher in the minors than they originally planned.

Posted by: js_edit | March 11, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Mock better be cut today. I'm tired of watching him, and he has yet to show any signs of turning it around. I have no idea why the team is infatuated with him, but he needs to go...now.

Posted by: mike1205 | March 11, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"BUT he does have a chance of being up in late June. IF he plays well enough to get that nod and if there is a need for him on the MLB roster (he needs to be playing a lot wherever he is) then they had better do it. Boz wanting them to wait until some golden date on the player's age calendar to bring him up is some crazy nonsene. If the kid can play in the bigs he should be playing in the bigs."

I think he still needs 2 years of regular at bats and outfield in AA/AAA. Why? Simple, I don't want to end up with a player who might hit .290+ max in the majors. This kid looks like he really could be the next Teddy Ballgame. Let him spend time in the HIGH MINORS where he appears to belong with both sage veterans and, more importantly, EXCELLENT COACHES (Even if it means opening the wallet to HIRE MORE). Then maybe he hits .400 at age 22. I am beginning to wonder if that might not be possible?

But yeah, comparing him to Eury Perez? Destin Hood? And even Derrick Norris ... imagine if they had left Harper at catcher? These are top prospects headed for Potomac and Harrisburg. Harper already looks way beyond them? Why hold him back? Unless it might serve the purpose of raising their games? But if its about Harper ... I see no reason not to start him off in AA, not because he is so talented, not because he is hitting .375.

Those are factors ... but more because he was initially completely quashed by major league pitching ... instead of giving up and waiting for his minor league assignment ... he did everything he could to overcome that adversity as quickly as humanly possible to prove he belongs.

YES anyone, any baseball player would want this guy on your team. And I do believe there are some Nats in that clubhouse who are wondering if he might really help them! But not yet ... first let's see if he can be taught to hit .400.

Posted by: periculum | March 11, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

why would you even consider moving him to 1B? the kid's a good, solid athlete. he'll be a good defensive outfielder, at worst. why would you move him to 1B where his athleticism would be minimized? it's not like we have an OF of three young All-Stars signed to short-term contracts.

Posted by: sec231 | March 11, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Harper at least starts the year in Hagerstown. Have always driven past that fair burg on the way to somewhere else & am looking forward to driving up on a Sunday, checking out restaurants along Main St (or wherever the good ones are, and catching a 4 o'clock game.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 11, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"There are plenty Mormon's playing in the NFL right now; I belive they have not completed thier missionary work as of yet. The Ravens have four Mormon's on thier team alone. It would be great if he was able to get some mentoring from Todd Heap and Haloti Ngata."

Most players who attend Utah or BYU complete their missionary work while they are in school.

Posted by: ouvan59 | March 11, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Great news! I am glad Rizzo is letting Bryce get acclimated to being around the big leaguers some more before sending him to meet his minor league teammates.

Also, I love how everyone is overhyping his missing of the cutoff man in media reports, for gosh sakes most of the outfielders we have had since 2005 oftentimes missed catching routine fly balls!!! Please, missing the cutoff man happens to even veterans once in a while!

Posted by: markfd | March 11, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

You heard it hear first. The Nats outfield on March 31st will be Werth in right, Bernadina in center and Morse and Harper platooning in left.

Posted by: pilotf105 | March 11, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

You heard it hear first. The Nats outfield on March 31st will be Werth in right, Bernadina in center and Morse and Harper platooning in left.

Posted by: pilotf105

0% chance

Posted by: sollazo | March 11, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The Nats need a whole lot more than Bryce Harper. We were either last or almost last, in runs scored in 2010. I don't think even if he gets to come up, in 2011, that he will make a huge difference, even with Jason Werth, who the Nats management think is Superman, at age 31. Well, they did give him a contract, which Superman would have liked.

Winning in the Majors is pitching, pitching, pitching. And we don't have any, any, any pitching. (Unless the ageless wonder, Livo, has another year left in him.)

Spring training is always optimistic: we haven't lost any games, which count -- yet. But I don't think this year's roster is very much better, if any, than last year's.

So, for me, until I see otherwise, it's more of the same. But I'm not going to do more of the same. Instead of wasting my money on Major League priced tickets to see minor league play, I'm going to keep my money, in my wallet, instead of making the wealthiest owners, in baseball, wealthier, until they spend some more of that wealth to build the competitive team, which they promise year after year but don't.

More of the same. More of the same. More of the same.

Posted by: LuvDCArea | March 12, 2011 2:40 AM | Report abuse

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