WASHINGTON - AUGUST 26: Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals talks to manager Jim Riggleman during batting practice at Nationals Park on August 26 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
As everyone has surely read by now, the Nats' 2010 no.1 overall pick, Bryce Harper, will be playing in the Arizona Fall League, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson and MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr both reported this afternoon. The 17-going-on-18-year-old future Nationals' outfielder was left off the Scottsdale Scorpions' roster originally, but most reports on his successful stint in the Florida Instructional League mentioned the possibility that he would be added to the team along with the rest of Washington's prospects. Mr. Ladson, in his article on the addition to the Scorpions' roster entitled, "Nats' Harper going to Arizona Fall League", quotes the D.C. GM, Mike Rizzo, who explains the thinking behind the decision to test Harper against the top prospects in baseball:
"'He's 17 years old and he doesn't even turn 18 until Saturday,' a happy Rizzo said. 'He is very excited. What I had to decide on was, is he going to be over his head in the AFL. It's a very advanced league, but I think he is going to handle it. It's going to be very valuable to him."
MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr, shared on Twitter last night (@bkerr32) that he had a hunch Harper would be AFL-bound, and as he tweeted within the last hour, "Bryce #Harper says he will play on the taxi squad. Wednesday and Saturday games." For the second-straight year, the Nationals are sending each of their top two draft picks to the Arizona Fall League. Last year it was '09 no.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg and the Nats' second 1st Round pick, Drew Storen, who impressed in the AFL and made their debuts during the 2010 campaign. Harper now joins, the Nationals' 2010 2nd Round pick Sammy Solis, a LHP out of the University of San Diego, and the other Nats' prospects on the Scottsdale Scorpions' roster. Solis has been labeled as another "close-to-major-league-ready" arm as both Strasburg and Storen were, but as the D.C. GM told Mr. Ladson in the article linked above (and HERE):
"'[Bryce Harper] is going to A ball. Make no mistake about it,' Rizzo said. 'He is not going to be a rushed guy. We are going to let his performance and development dictate where this guy goes.'"
Hagerstown? Potomac? Get your tickets now, Nats fans. (Not a paid advertisement.)
(ed. note - "Dave Nichols from the Nats News Network posted the news here in a Fanpost earlier, where the DC Faithful are already discussing the decision.")