“I’m trying to make this club,” Bryce Harper said on his first day in training camp for the Nationals. “I’m going to come out here every day and make their choice hard. If it doesn’t happen, then it’s going to be great being up here and learning from these guys.
Realistically, however, the 18-year-old Harper has about as much chance of starting the season in Washington as Stephen Strasburg does. In fact, the Nationals are already making plans to send Harper to minor league camp in two weeks and have him start the season in Low Class-A Hagerstown.
Despite the plans, however, fantasy baseball managers are wondering if the most hyped baseball player since Strasburg will make it to the Bigs this season.
“You never want to say never, because you’ve got to come back and eat those words sometimes,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. ”The things he’s going to do for this organization, we hope, will have a lasting effect for many years. But, they don’t have to start this year.”
No doubt that Harper is going to speed through the Nationals organization, but will his progress be fast enough to put him in a Nats uniform by September? Bleacher Report doesn’t think so.
And, neither do we. Despite the fact that Harper is projected to be a corner outfielder in the Majors, we don’t think the Nats will be in the hunt in the NL East this year and Washington has already shown its patience in allowing Strasburg to go a full season in the Minors. And, Harper is still just 18 and should be a college freshmen.
So, no matter how bad Roger Bernadina (.246/11/41/16) is in left field for the Nationals this year, fantasy baseball managers not in keeper leagues should wait on him. Even if Bernadina wears down as he did last year, the Nationals can work with Mike Morse and Rick Ankiel in left field.
If, however, you play in a keeper league and don’t mind sitting on an unused position for a year, Harper is a player that can pay off for many years to come. How many years? Nationals catcher Pudge Rodriguez was in the MLB for a year and a half before Bryce Harper was even born!