Super prospect—and by "prospect," I mean "teenager"—Bryce Harper has officially stated that he plans to forgo his final two years of high school so that he can enter next year’s amateur draft.
Harper, just 16-years old, has decided to pass up two more years of proms and homecomings and will instead get his GED and enroll at the College of Southern Nevada this fall.
For those who haven’t heard of Bryce Harper yet, rest assured, you will. Take one part Stephen Strasburg and dash of LeBron James. Mix them both together and you get the hype and hysteria that figures to accompany Harper in the year leading up to the 2010 draft.
“Harper stands 6'3", weighs 205 pounds, has faster bat speed than Mark McGwire in his prime and runs so fast that he scored on wild pitches six times this season from second base. As a catcher, he picks off runners from his knees, and when he pitches, he throws a fastball that has been clocked at 96 mph. He also does volunteer work, holds down a 3.5 grade point average, and attends religious education classes nearly every morning before school.”
Harper, barring an injury, figures to be the most sought-after player in next year’s draft despite his relative inexperience against top-tier talent. The Washington Nationals, barring an act of divine intervention, figure to have the first pick, again.
For the Nationals, this creates a scenario in which both Strasburg and Harper could serve as battery mates and saviors of an otherwise lackluster franchise for years to come.
Granted, for that to happen, the Nats would have to be willing to shell out major bucks in back-to-back seasons for Scott Boras clients, a proposition that no team would deem desirable.
Yet, for players like Strasburg and a once-in-a-generation gem like Harper, how could the Nationals not go all in?