18-year-old Nats' right fielder of the future Bryce Harper's first at bat in his final regular season AFL start came in the top of the Scottsdale Scorpions' second against 26-year-old Philadelphia Phillies' '07 7th Round pick Tyson Brummett, who's given up 9.7 H/9 and 2.8 BB/9 over 113 games and 58 starts in 4 seasons in Philly's system. Harper's fellow Nats' prospect Derek Norris led off the inning with a single to center, but one out later Harper erased Norris from the basepaths with a DP grounder on the first pitch he saw.
It was another Philly right-hander, Chris Kissock on the mound in the fourth when Harper stepped up for the second time. The 25-year-old '07 9th Round Phillies' pick retired the first two Scorpions he faced before Harper's at bat, but he surrendered a two-out single to the 2010 no.1 overall pick, who lined a 1-2 pitch to right to get '07 Orioles' 8th Round pick Caleb Joseph up with two down. Joseph hit the second-straight two-out single to bring Thomas Field to the plate, but the Rockies' SS/2B's grounder ended the fourth with Scottsdale up 2-0 on runs scored by non-Nats' prospects...
23-year-old LA Angels' right-hander Steven Getz was on the mound for Mesa in the sixth inning when Harper fouled off two 0-2 pitches before tipping the third strike into the mitt of Solar Sox' backstop Tony Sanchez, the Pittsburgh Pirates' '09 1st Rounder, who was taken three picks after the Nats took Stephen Strasburg. In the Scottsdale eighth, Harper's fellow Nats' prospect Derek Norris tripled for the second time this Fall and scored on a wild pitch to put the Scorpions up 4-0. 23-year-old Phillies' pitching prospect Jacob Diekman continued to struggle to throw strikes, walking Baltimore Orioles' '06 2nd Round pick Ryan Adams in front of Harper who found a pitch to hit and double for the third time this Fall, driving in his 7th run in 9 games and putting Scottsdale up 5-0 in what ends a 6-0 Scottsdale win after Norris and Harper's fellow Nats' prospect, pitcher Cole Kimball retires the Solar Sox in order in the top of the ninth.
Derek Norris ends the game 2 for 4 with a triple and a run scored. Harper's 2 for 4 with a single and RBI double. Cole Kimball needs just 11 pitches, 7 strikes to retire three batters.
After posting a .442/.524/.986 slash line in his one season of JUCO ball at the College of Southern Nevada as a 17-year-old slugger who hit 22 doubles, 4 triples and 29 HR's while collecting 89 RBI's in 62 games and 215 at bats, Harper moved on to the the Florida Instructional League where he put up a .319/.407/.702 slash line with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HR's and 12 RBI's. Harper, who turned 18 on October 16th, then went out to the Arizona Fall League where the Nats' 2010 no.1 overall pick played in 9 games as part of the "taxi squad", finishing the regular season with a .343/.410/.629 slash line, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR and 7 RBI's in 35 at bats in which he K'd 11 times and drew 4 walks. Spring Training's up next for Harper, and according to recent reports, he'll start the 2011 season at Class-A Hagerstown. But before that, the Scottsdale Scorpions play one more on Saturday in the AFL Championship game which is being broadcast live on the MLB Network starting at 2:35 pm EST in D.C. No word on whether he'll start, though he is eligible to play...Who's watching Harper on Saturday? The rest of the Nats' prospects on the Scorpions' roster play their final AFL game today at 12:35 pm MST and 2:35 pm in the east.