Ladies and gentlemen, Bryce Harper will be coming to a major league stadium near you very soon.
The Washington Nationals decided during spring training to have their top prospect start the season with Triple-A Syracuse, but circumstances have changed. They need Harper now, and Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com has reported that they're going to call him up:
It's a bittersweet move, to be sure, as the Nats can't be happy to see Zimmerman going back on the disabled list. He's spent a little bit too much time on the DL in recent seasons.
But never mind that. This news is all about Harper, the 19-year-old phenom who is far and away the best power-hitting prospect in the minor leagues. Baseball fans have been looking forward to his major league debut ever since Sports Illustrated profiled him in 2009, and they're about to get their wish.
Harper's first professional season in 2011 went pretty well. He hit .318 with 14 homers in 72 games with Single-A Hagerstown, with 19 stolen bases to boot. He cooled off in 37 games with Double-A Harrisburg, but he still managed to hit three home runs and steal seven bases.
Harper got off to a slow start with Triple-A Syracuse this season, but he's rebounded nicely in recent games. His average is up to .250, and he hit his first Triple-A home run on Sunday.
Of course, we're not talking about just any home run hitter. The SI article in 2009 told tales of a 570-foot home run that came off Harper's bat. He's not going to be able to hit one that far with a wood bat, but Harper most definitely has light-tower power.
According to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post, Harper will make his debut on Saturday at Dodger Stadium against Matt Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Expect tickets for that game to start going quickly.