There’s been very few ballplayers that have brought as much hype and excitement as Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper. His legend was built long before taking his first major league at-bat. He was the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, and was on the fast-track the big leagues.
He did very little to disappoint baseball fans when he made it.
In addition to winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year, he helped secure the Nationals a spot in the playoffs. Last season, he hit .270 with 22 HR and 59 RBI. He also stole 18 bases, and played solidly in the outfield. But, Harper showed signs of immaturity. While he was only 19-years old last season, he needs to set an example with his play and less with his behavior. He’s one of baseball’s brightest young stars, and he doesn’t want to have a reputation of being one of the game’s biggest babies.
My father always taught me the 1,000 at-bat rule. Basically, we’ll know how good a player will be after 1,000 at bats. In the case of Harper, I would safely say that this doesn’t apply to him as much as others. He’s clearly a five-tool player with an unlimited ceiling. If he’s able to handle himself a bit better, the possibilities are endless. I could easily see Harper being one of baseball’s best players next season. He got off to a hot start when he arrived on the major league level, cooled off a bit and picked it up by the end of the season. Now that he has a little more experience, there’s no telling what’s next for the Las Vegas native.
I think some fantasy owners will look at Harper as a late first-round or early second-round selection. Frankly, I think he should be on your radar early. In fact, I’ll go on a limb right now and predict he’ll have a better season than Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Many owners will be tempted to take Trout ahead of Harper, and I think you’ll find Harper to be a better selection. Many of you think I’m nuts, but remember you heard it hear first.
All I know is that I am looking forward to seeing Harper be one of baseball’s brightest stars. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.