Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper's Last Wednesday GameThread.

Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper #34 is playing in his last regular season game for the Scottsdale Scorpions tonight in the Arizona Fall League. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Washington Nationals signed their second straight no.1 overall pick, The College of Southern Nevada's then-17-year-old freshman Bryce Harper, to a 5-year/$9.9 million dollar major league deal with just minutes to spare before the deadline for signing 2010's Draft picks, just as they'd gone down to the wire with San Diego State University right-hander Stephen Strasburg the previous August before agreeing on a deal. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo, then-team President Stan Kasten, the Lerners and all the Nats' scouts in Rizzo's restructured front office were taking the risk that the second once-in-a-generation talent to come along in two years would pan out like Strasburg had, even if it took the catcher-turned-outfielder a little longer than the three months the pitcher had spent in the Nats' system before making his MLB debut.

In his one 62-game-long season at CSN, the under-aged Harper had posted a ridiculous .442/.524/.986 slash line with 22 doubles, 4 triples, 29 HR's and 89 RBI's in 215 at bats. In his first taste of professional competition, Harper posted a .319/.407/.702 slash line against some of the league's top prospects, hitting in 15 of 47 Instructional League at bats, (yes that's a 1.110 OPS), and connecting for 4 doubles, a triple, 4 HR's and 12 RBI's. The next stop, after a brief trip home for his 18th birthday, was the Arizona Fall League, where Harper, as part of the taxi squad which plays only on Wednesdays and Saturdays (and yes he is available to play in the AFL Championship game this Saturday) has hit in 10 of 31 at bats for a .323 AVG with a .400 OBP and a .613 SLG in 8 games played in which he's doubled twice, launched one home run and driven in 6 runs with 5 walks, 10 K's and 1 SB heading into his final regular season AFL game tonight at 6:35 pm MST and 8:35 pm in D.C.

Nats' General Manager Mike Rizzo told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore recently in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Bryce Harper likely to start 2011 in Class A Hagerstown", that Harper would most likely begin 2011 with the Nationals' Low A affiliate and begin working his way up. Tonight's game is on MLB.com's Gameday, there will be a link HERE and in the comments as soon as the live scoreboard is up and if he plays on Saturday, the game's live on the MLB Network, so these are your last two chances to follow Harp before Spring Training...

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