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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Long toss: Bryce Harper's ups and downs

By Washington Post editors

This morning Adam Kilgore reported that Bryce Harper will remain in major league camp when the next round of cuts are announced later today. Kilgore also notes that his chances to make the major league team are still zero.

Commenter cassander still seemed encouraged:

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.

What do you think? Has Harper's progress changed your opinion of where he should start the season?

(Editor's note: Please read Dave Sheinin's excellent Post magazine article on Harper.)

By Washington Post editors  | March 11, 2011; 12:34 PM ET
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I think the biggest thing Harper has to learn is how to play the outfield. I don't believe there's any nuanced information between the different levels that would require him to start at a lower level. Obviously, you don't want him learning the position in the one place where the games really count- the majors. I also think, even though he's had success hitting in the Arizona Fall League and in Spring Training, that that's still too small of sample size to determine where's he's at in terms of hitting. Therefore, I think even AAA would be aggressive. I think there's nothing wrong with starting him at Potomac. If he destroys the pitching there, which I assume he will, move him up to Harrisburg quickly. I think he should spend the majority of his time this year there and moves on to Syracuse in the fall if he's proven himself.

Posted by: rnkorby | March 11, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree start him in Potomac (High A ball) or even Double A. I've never been one to think he needs to start at low A ball; just minor league seasoning. Could be great for Potomac, last year they though they were getting Strasburg and he started at Double A; maybe Harper starts there for a season starting draw!

Posted by: tcostant | March 11, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I belive the conventional wisdom for prospects is to let them dominate a minor league level for a period of time and then move them up. This probably make ssense for Harper as well. However given his ability to handle the workload, desire to be challenged and apparent maturity it would seem benefiecial to let him move up quickly so he doesn't plateau at the lower levels. I think the main thing will be to get him comfortable in right field. Position changes take time, look what happended last year when the Nat's experimented with right fielders learning the position. He will also need to learn how to adjust at the plate. By the time he gets to ML he will be thoroughly scouted and the pitchers will have a book on him. He will need to be able to to hit curve balls breaking away.

Posted by: Natmeister | March 11, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I think he should start at Potomac and do the majority of the season at Harrisburg.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | March 11, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I always thought he would start in Harrisburg and I think he may be headed there after his offensive performance thus far.

Posted by: markfd | March 11, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

My lord, this kid will spend the next 3 months crushing A and AA pitching. All he needs to do is learn the postion, take some nasty bus-rides, sack out in Motel 8's, eat PB&J three times a day and we shall see Sir Harper in the "show" by the 4th of July. Hey, one can dream!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 11, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I am arguing with myself. Is it better to have a good hitter who will win games than it is to have a player learning his position who may occasionally goof up? I would not want him sitting on the bench, however. I see no reason why he should start at A or AA, depending on what he does for the remainder of spring training. AAA wins out for me. The kid is a kid but the kid is good. Don't punish him for being a kid. If he is a better hitter that LaRoche, put Werth on 1B. If he is a better hitter than Werth, put Werth in CF. Just can't see wasting his talent. So, let it be AAA at least until July.

Posted by: crimsonmac | March 11, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

He has the arm. He has the speed. He should spend as long as it takes in the minor leagues to learn center field. So many of the historic "golden boys" of baseball played the position. It's where he belongs. And, the Nationals already have someone to play right field for the next several years. Once Bryce is looking comfortable out there in the field, and if he's mashing the ball - however long that takes - then bring him up. No timetable.

Posted by: DoctorJoe | March 11, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

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