The two best things about Bryce Harper's five minute-plus interview with the MLB Network's Harold Reynolds?
1) The 19-year-old left-handed hitting power bat explaining that he wants to hit opp-boppo HR's (Translation: HR's to the opposite field) because it's the difference between being a .300 and a .260 hitter. The no.1 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, who left high school early, got his GED and went to a year of Junior College just to make himself eligible for the draft as soon as possible, isn't all about the so-called "light-tower power" home runs that caught everyone's attention in the YouTube clips that first got everyone talking about Harper. As the Nats' prospect explains in the MLB Network interview, "Anybody can pull the ball nine miles to right. I wanted to be able to hit the ball the same way to left that I do to right. All my home runs that you see are usually left-center to center. If you can hit the ball that way you're going to hit .300, if you're not, you're going to hit .260."
• The 2nd Best Thing From The Interview, And the Interview Itself If You Missed It...
2) Bryce Harper's father interrupting Harold Reynolds (as the former major leaguer compares the top outfield prospect in baseball's work ethic, power, bat speed and myth to what he saw from Ken Griffey, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez) to tell his son not to let it go to his head. "Just don't let that go to your head," Ron Harper says, "Keep working, cause those guys made it, you ain't yet." Asked if he's ready for the big leagues, Harper says simply, "I hope so. I'm just going to go into camp, work as hard as I can, like I did last year. Just try to prove to everybody that I can play in the big leagues, and if I have to deal with adversity a little bit, I'm going to deal with it."
3) A close third was hearing Harper explain to Harold Reynolds that he didn't want to bounce back and forth between the big leagues and Triple-A. "When I get up there," Harper said, referring of course to the majors, "I want to go up there and be a game-changer," Harper says, "I don't want to go from big leagues, to Triple-A, up to the big leagues again, down to Triple-A again. I want to get up there, stay there, be a game-changer, play hard and try to win that Rookie of the Year." This is, of course, pretty much exactly what Nats' GM Mike Rizzo said earlier this week when he spoke about the top prospect in baseball (according to Baseball America) in an interview on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.:
Mike Rizzo: "The timetable is going to be dictated by Bryce Harper here in Spring Training," the Nationals' general manager said when asked about Harper making the team on Opening Day, "If I feel that he's developed to the point where he can handle a major league season, the grind, physically, mentally and emotionally of playing in the big leagues at age 19 and he's one of the best 25, he'll make the club and go north. If we feel that he needs more at bats in the minor leagues to supplement the minor league at bats [that he already has], then we'll send him to the minor leagues to get more seasoning. Because when he comes up, and he will be up very, very soon, when he comes up, he's going to be a force in the major leagues, we feel, for many, many years to come. We don't want to rush him up to the big leagues, the hoopla of making the club out of Spring Training, have him struggle and have to send him down for further seasoning when we could have sent him down in the beginning and saved that precious time of putting him in the minor leagues, getting seasoning and then come up as a ready-to-go, never-go-back-to-the-minor-leagues type of big league player."
Sounds (as it has all along, really) like there might be some more minor league AB's in Bryce Harper's future, but it's up to him to force the Nationals' hand as he told reporters this week. "'I’m going to make their decision hard as much as I can,'" Harper told reporters, including the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, "'I want to be up here. I want to play, and I want to play in D.C.'" If you want to see Harper now, head down to Florida. He'll likely be up in D.C. soon enough. For now, you can settle for just watching the interview that aired last night...