The last we've heard from DC GM Mike Rizzo directly on the subject of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and whether or not the Washington Nationals will make College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper their second-straight no.1 overall selection after having taken another once-in-a-generation talent, Stephen Strasburg, no.1 overall in '09, was in an interview with former DC GM Jim Bowden and his co-host Seth Everett on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio back in late January, when Mr. Rizzo was asked about the upcoming draft by his old boss:
Jim Bowden: Mike, you get the first pick in the 2010 Draft as well, and I guess my first question is: Is Bryce Harper in the mix for that first pick and who are the top two or three guys, and will you being seeing the first pick and how deep in the draft will you be scouting?
Mike Rizzo: "Bryce certainly will be one of the guys we talk about. We had ourselves a little bit of a mock draft here a couple weeks ago, we brought in all our amateur guys to discuss that, we set up a Top 100. There's several people that I think that will be involved in the first pick, I'm going to try and see somewhere around 30 or 40 players this year in the amateur draft, and we've got a really good set of amateur scouts that I trust and I think it's going to be a strong draft year and I think we're going to have a strong draft."
According to Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's article from Tuesday afternoon entitled, "Drafting Bryce Harper not 'etched in stone'", as of yesterday (4/13/10), the DC GM still hasn't seen Bryce Harper in person. Mr. Kilgore spoke to Nationals Director of Amateur Scouting Kris Kline Tuesday, who told the WaPost reporter that, "The Nationals have narrowed down their list of possible first picks to five...and Harper owns a prominent place on it," but though Mr. Kline and several members of the Nats' Front Office have seen the seventeen-year-old catcher in person, Mr. Rizzo's first trip to Nevada will take place next month:
"Rizzo plans to get his first personal glimpse in early May. Kline said Rizzo would 'absolutely' want to see Harper play before making a final decision."
Mr. Kilgore's article, as well as the short piece by MLB.com's Bill Ladson, entitled, "Nats have not made a decision on Harper", (which quoted "a prominent source in the organization", who said the idea that the Nationals had reached on decision as far as drafting Harper was simply, "'Not true,' the source said. 'No decision has been made,'") were written in response to MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling's article from early Tuesday morning entitled, "Nats likely to take Harper with No. 1 pick", wherein Mr. Goessling quoted a "source familiar with the situation" who said:
"Barring an injury or a drastic change, the Nationals will likely take 17-year-old catcher Bryce Harper with the first pick in the June Draft. According to a source familiar with the situation, they see Harper as being head and shoulders above anyone else in the 2010 draft class and believe he could reach the majors within 2 1/2 years."
Mr. Goessling's article was published just after midnight on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kilgore's and Mr. Ladson's pieces both went up later in the afternoon, but hours before either of the rebuttals from the Nationals, directly via Mr. Kline or Mr. Ladson' "prominent source in the organization", Mr. Goessling, who writes elsewhere in the article that, "The Nationals believe [Harper] is as surefire a talent as Jayson Heyward, the outfielder selected by the Atlanta Braves out of high school in 2007," and notes that, "...the decision is almost as cut-and-dried as last year's decision to take Strasburg," explained to a reader, who commented on the article expressing skepticism about trusting any anonymous opinion, that he had faith in his source:
"Can't tell you who it is, other than to say I wouldn't waste your time with it if it wasn't from somebody who would know."
Clearly, whether or not DC GM Mike Rizzo has, someone in the Nats' organization has made up their mind about Bryce Harper being the Nats' no.1 overall pick this year. The MLB First-Year Player Draft takes place on June 7th 2010 in Secaucus, New Jersey. The speculation about the Nats' second-straight no. 1 overall selection is likely to continue, as it did last year, right up to the moment the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, reads the name of the top pick.
• LINK: Last Minute Addition To The Discussion, For INSIDERS Only, Sorry:
"I heard yet again Monday that the Nats have, barring some catastrophe or unexpected turn of events, more or less settled on Harper, to the point that ownership has already been made aware that it's their intention to take him."