Bryce Harper didn’t want to talk about his own future beyond 2018 when he spoke to reporters for the first time this season on Monday afternoon in West Palm Beach, but Washington’s 25-year-old right-hander was willing to talk about his brother Bryan, 28, who’s in camp with the Nationals this Spring, and, potentially, in line for a look in the majors at some point this season.
The elder Harper told MASN’s Sarah Perlman he and his brother have been thinking about potentially playing together in a major league game since the Nationals took them in consecutive drafts in 2010-11, Bryce No. 1 overall in 2010, and Bryan in the 30th Round the next June.
“I think we’ve always talked about that,” Bryan said. “Ever since I got drafted in 2011, we’ve always had that dream of playing together, yeah.”
“It’s awesome,” Bryce said of being in the same clubhouse again, though Bryan noted that he had backed up in major league games in Spring Training before, and they’ve played on the same team when his younger brother rehabbed in the minors.
“He’s really good,” Bryce said of Bryan, when asked for his thoughts on the lefty, who’d worked his way up to Triple-A in 2015 and ‘16 before he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery which cost him all of the 2017 campaign.
He’s back throwing again now, including in bullpen sessions this Spring.
“He can throw it with some of the best of them,” Bryce continued, offering his own scouting report on his older brother.
“He’s a good left-handed pitcher. He’s got a chance. 6’6’’ lefty, 88-92, something like that, always growing, always getting better.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Bryce said of the idea of, potentially, playing together with the Nationals.
“I mean, you get the chills sitting here thinking about him running past you,” Bryce said, imaging it all happening in Nationals Park, “him running past you standing in right field, I’m right there in the bullpen.”
For Bryce, who’s potentially headed for free agency next winter if he doesn’t sign on long-term in the nation’s capital beforehand, or after he tests the market, it’s possible that this season could be the best shot for realizing the family dream of playing with his brother in the majors, and he said he knew how it would look on the broadcast.
“I’m sure they’ll pan on to me ... and I’ll be tearing up a little bit, because if he makes it up here it’s going to be pretty incredible for me and my family,” Bryce said.
“Looking forward to it. I know he’s worked hard throughout the minor leagues, throughout his whole career, coming up from South Carolina into A-ball and all the way through.
“So, he’s done a great job, and, you know, don’t bother him.”