Bryce Harper has been showing up as high as one and as low as three on prospect lists and MLB.com choose him as number two behind just Matt Moore. Harper is a masher and as an eighteen year old, he dominated the SALY league with a .977 OPS then jumped up to Double-A where he struggled at times but that’s understandable considering his age.
The big question now is what happens. I find it unlikely that they’ll rush him up to the big league team but I’m curious as to whether he starts at Double-A or they bump him all the way up to Triple-A. My guess is where he starts won’t be where he ends up though and this kid is going to be fun to watch in 2012 wherever he ends up.
Kevin Goldstein released his top eleven Nationals’ prospects and of course whenever you see one of these lists, you think Bryce Harper. He should make his major league debut with the Nationals at some point in 2012 but I think he starts at Triple-A to start the season like Goldstein mentions.
Number two and another five star guy is the Nats 2011 first round pick, Anthony Rendon. He’s a college guy so he could be on the fast track but he signed too late to play in 2011. It looks like he could finish 2012 at the Double-A level which means a 2013 debut isn’t out of the question.
Matt Purke is third and he’s the top pitching prospect. He was the Nationals third round pick in 2011 and he’s a lefty out of college as well. The one downer is, he struggled in the Arizona Fall League. Brian Goodwin (OF) and Alex Meyer (RHP) round out the top five.
The Nationals shored up their outfielder by signing Michael Morse to a two year, $10.5 million contract. Morse came over in the Ryan Langerhans trade with the Nationals and after showing some pop in limited time with the team in 2010, he broke out in 2011 and belted 31 home runs while hitting .303. He strikeouts out a lot (about three times for every walk) but he makes up for it with the high batting average.
He played more then half of his games at first base last year and you wonder if this is them giving up on signing Prince Fielder. This also means they avoid arbitration with Morse and have him locked up for two more years. The dollar amount may seem a little high but if he can do what he did last year, it’ll be a bargain.
According to report from Washington Nationals beat writer and MLB.com contributor Bill Ladson, top free agent 1B Prince Fielder and super agent Scott Boras visited DC recently to meet with Nationals ownership. A report The January 2nd edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lists the Nationals as the front runner for Fielder and Ladson’s story adds fuel to the fire. The 27 year old batted .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 rbi in 162 games in 2011 and would supply Washington an elite clean up bat. Since 2007 when he hit 50 homers, he clubbed 34,46,32 and 38 in 2011 while driving in 102,141,83 and 120. Fielder also gets on base with 100+ walks the past 3 seasons. The Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago Cubs are also said to be involved in the bidding for the slugger. The Nationals have already had a great offseason, if they were able to secure Prince Fielder, they would be a major contender for both the National League and World Title. Washington has become one of the more up and coming organizations in the game under the leadership of GM Mike Rizzo and Skipper Davey Johnson and this move would create shock waves throughout the baseball world.
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