March 6, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) bats in the sixth inning of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
After Bryce Harper went 1 for 5 with a double and four K's in this afternoon's game, leaving the 19-year-old 2010 no.1 overall pick 8 for 28 with two doubles, two walks and 11 K's in 9 Grapefruit League games, he was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse according to the Washington Nationals, who reported the move via their official Twitter account (@NationalsPR):
The move ends months of speculation about where the top prospect in the Nats' organization (and the top position players on most prospect lists) would start the 2012 season after a 2011 campaign in which Harper had a combined .297/.392/.501 slash at Class-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg. Harper played in just 37 games at Double-A, however, with a .256/.329/.395 line in 147 plate appearances before a hamstring injury ended his first professional season.
Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters after the decision was announced, as quoted by MASN's Dan Kolko (@DanKolko) that he believed, "'This is the best thing for him and the ball club.'"