AFL Championship Primer:
According to a tweet by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayoB3) around midnight last night, the Washington Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper (who hit .343 w/a .410 OBP, .629 SLG) might start in today's AFL Championship game, though reports earlier in the day on Friday said he'd make an appearance but not necessarily start the nationally-televised game. (MLB Network 3:00 pm EST in D.C., 1:00 pm MST in AZ). One thing is decided, however, Harper's fellow 2010 Draft pick, 2nd Rounder Sammy Solis will start the AFL title game which pits the Scottsdale Scorpions (20-12) against Peoria, Arizona's second-favorite team, the Javelinas (20-10). Solis, a left-hander who features a fastball, cut fastball, change and knuckle-curve was (9-2) with a 3.42 ERA in 15 games (14 GS) for the University of San Diego in 2010, allowing 82 hits and 29 BB (2.84 BB/9) in 92.0 IP in which he recorded 92 K's (9.0 K/9) before he was selected by the Nats. Solis made two starts in the Nationals' system after the draft, and the 22-year-old starter was 1-0 with a 3.80 ERA in 6 G, 5 GS in the AFL, allowing 23 hits and 13 runs, 10 ER, in 23.2 IP in which he collected 12 K's while walking 7 BB.
In addition to Harper (no.1 overall in 2010), and Nats' outfield prospect Michael Burgess (1st Rd, 49th overall in '07), there are a total of eight 1st Round picks participating in today's AFL Championship game (according to an MLB.com pdf with all of today's game info.): Dustin Ackely (2B) the Mariners' '09 1st Round pick, taken second overall behind the Nats' Stephen Strasburg; (RHP) Rex Brothers, taken 34th overall by Colorado in the 1st Round in 2009; Charlie Culberson (IF), taken 51st overall by the Giants in 2007; (C) Ed Easley taken 61st overall by the D-Backs in '07; (RHP) Josh Fields, the Mariners' 1st Round pick, 20th overall in '08; Giants' infield prospect Josh Field (IF), the 37th overall pick in '08; (OF) A.J. Pollock, the D-Backs' 1st Round pick taken 16th overall in 2009; and (RHP) Greg Reynolds, the Rockies' top pick, taken 2nd overall in '06.
Nats' infield prospect Stephen Lombardozzi, and (RHP's) Adam Carr, Cole Kimball and Brad Peacock are also on the Scottsdale Scorpions' roster. Lombardozzi, Harper, Burgess and the rest of the Scorpions will be facing Astros' right-handed pitching prospect Kyle Greenwalt to start the AFL Championship. The 22-year-old starter was Houston's 20th Round pick, taken with the 621st pick in the '07 Draft. Greenwalt pitched in the Class-A California League in 2010, and was 2-0 with 2.35 ERA in the AFL, allowing 15 hits and 3 walks in 5 starts and 15.1 IP in which he walked 3 and recorded 10 K's while holding opponents to a .259 BAA.
• Today's game gets underway at 3:00 pm EST in D.C. and it will be broadcast live on the MLB Network, where coverage starts at 2:30 pm EST...Who's watching Bryce Harper? A link to the MLB.com Gameday Box Score and notes on the starting lineup and outcome of the game to follow in the comments section below...