Overall in 25 games with Double-A Harrisburg, 18-year-old Washington Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper, has a .233/.306/.326 slash with five doubles, one home run, nine walks and 18 K's in 97 plate appearances, though he's hit in 10 of his last 37 at bats (.270 AVG) with all five doubles and the one HR coming during this ten-game stretch. Harper's agent, Scott Boras, didn't seem too concerned about Harper's relatively slow start with the Senators when he talked to MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern Wednesday afternoon on the show Inside Pitch:
"It's just frankly, I remember the first time I went to Double-A, and I think I was 22 years of age," Boras said, "and you've got a guy here who is just turning 19-years-old and he's at that level of baseball and it is a huge adjustment because of the velocity, the ability to spot breaking balls, and a lot of the pitchers in Double-A are 23, 24 years of age, and so it's a huge adjustment for a player, and his athleticism is so remarkable."
"The greatest thing about Bryce, as I'm learning," Boras continued, "is that the day-to-day frustrations of his lack of experience do not in any way quell his desire to go out there the next day and he just simply loves to play and he is very strong-willed, very driven by this and it's a very different path when you have players playing at high levels at this age. I've gone through it with Alex Rodriguez or Roberto Alomar or all these players and when they have that kind of skill it just takes really a certain number of at bats for them to adjust to the new level and hopefully that will be the case with Bryce."
"I struggle pretty much every time I get going at a new level," Harper himself admitted before a recent Senators' game with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. "I struggled in high school a little bit, struggled in college a little bit, struggled in Single-A a little bit, and I'm not really struggling right now. The balls aren't falling. I'm hitting balls hard and having good at bats and that's all you can ask for."
Harper was right about the balls not falling in for him. The hard-hitting outfielder had a .226 BABIP before that night's game. It was up to .279 before Wednesday's suspended game in which Harper was 0 for 2 with a walk and two K's. Harper's got another month at Double-A to figure things out at the plate and then another trip to the Arizona Fall League before his second major league Spring Training. Harper didn't understand why he couldn't compete for a starting spot this past Spring. Who's going to tell him he's not fighting for a spot next year?