Bryce Harper Recalled: 11 Bold Predictions for His First MLB Season
Harper was in the minors for the Nationals first 20 games of the season, leaving another 142 to go for him to have his impact felt.
There is plenty of time left in the season for Harper to achieve greatness.
Prior to this season, between Single-A, Double-A and the Arizona Fall League, Harper played in a total of 134 games. He hit a total of 23 home runs, 30 doubles and stole 30 bases.
Although he will face big league pitchers, he has gained a valuable year of experience and maturity.
Reaching or surpassing these numbers is not out of the question.
Harper's limits are endless as long as he handles the pressure of being in the MLB as a full-time player.
It won't take Harper long to become adjusted to the MLB. He has waited his whole life for this opportunity.
Harper Will Have a Hot Start
Harper was called up in the midst of his best stretch in the minors. He only struck out once in his final five games and as Mike Rizzo said, "He's swinging the bat extremely well."
Harper strives for the limelight and now he has the chance to prove himself.
He is going to be comfortable in Washington because this was his ultimate goal. Playing in the minors was not ideal for Harper and now he will be able to relax and focus on contributing as a part of the major league club.
With a hot start, Harper has the potential to be an All-Star in 2012.
Harper Will Be an All-Star
Every baseball fan wants to have a chance to see "The Phenom" and what better place to see him than the All-Star game.
Harper will quickly become one of the most loved and one of the most hated players in the MLB. He will be a popular pick when fans fill out their All-Star ballots.
A few moonshot home runs and Harper will gain more votes as fans will want him to take place in the Home Run Derby.
It will not hurt that his body of work will be All-Star worthy as well.
He Will Lead the Nationals in Home Runs
Harper will hit more home runs than Jayson Werth, Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman in 2012.
The Nationals are struggling with injuries early on in the season and their leader in home runs from a year ago, Morse, is not expected back until mid-May at the earliest.
Now with Zimmerman finding his way to the disabled list, it is Harper's team to lead in home runs.
He has yet to show much power in Triple-A but now he is playing without worrying about when he will be called up.
Harper Will Steal 30 Bases
Coming into this season, Harper had 30 steals combined for the three teams that he played for. This year in Syracuse he only had one steal.
Harper was focusing on his hitting and fielding in Triple-A and allowed the speed aspect of his game to suffer. His speed compliments his bat.
Now that the pressure of making the 25-man roster has dissipated, Harper get back to using one to compliment the other.
With his power will come stolen bases.
There is no more monkey on Harper's back and he now has the ability to not only showcase his power but use his speed for the Nats.
Look for Harper to try to steal when he gets on base to get men in scoring position for the guys behind him.
Harper Will Hit 35 Doubles
Harper hit 28 doubles in 129 minor league games in the last two seasons. Look for him to go a bit beyond this for the Nats.
Smashing 35 doubles is not out of the question in his rookie campaign.
Harper Will Hit .300
Although Harper's average was not initially impressive in Triple-A, he ended his stay in Syracuse hot. In his final six games he hit .313.
An average around .300 is what we should expect as a part of the Nats. His constant hustle will result in a few more hits over the course of the year.
It is the little things that add up to a .300 average.
He Will Walk 100 Times
Harper walked 68 times in 129 games while he was in the Nats' minor league affiliates.
He will learn to be more patient as he is going through the majors this season and will approach 100 walks on the year.
If he plays in the rest of the games this season it will not be that much of a stretch for him to do.
Harper Will Not Miss a Game
Harper played in all 20 of Syracuse's games this season.
He is looking to prove that his toughness and durability should not be questioned after he was burdened with nagging injuries last season throughout the minors.
Now that he has been given the opportunity to play at the major league level it would be shocking to see Harper sit because of a minor injury.
The Nats simply need him in the lineup everyday, otherwise they would not have bothered to call him up.
Mike Rizzo spoke about Harper's call-up and the importance of having him in the lineup every day, "We didn't bring Bryce up there to sit on the bench. He's going to get everyday reps and get ample at-bats."
He Will Play Flawless Center Field When Morse Returns
The intentions were that Harper would improve his play in center field this season while in the minors. Harper will begin his major league career in left field however.
According to Amanda Comak, "Nats haven't abandoned plan for Harper to play CF but he will play LF in MLB at this time, Rizzo said."
Once Morse returns then Harper will likely shift to center field. There will be debate as to whether he can handle center or not but it is important to remember that the corner outfield positions were new to him as well after he was drafted.
He is a converted catcher and had to learn the positions through the Nats' system.
Harper has proven that he is a quick learner and can handle adversity, therefore center field will be a flawless transition for him.
Harper Will Win Rookie of the Year
Harper will have a great chance to take home the rookie of the year award this season based on the numbers that he will compile by the end of the season.
It also helps that the National League is not graced with an abundance of standout rookies.
If Harper successfully achieves the numbers that he should then it won't matter who else is in the running for the award, it will be his.
Harper's numbers might look great when the regular season is over but the success of the team still comes first and he will be pivotal to the Nats' success.
He Will Lead the Nationals to the Playoffs
Harper has to be the one who bridges the gap between the Nationals' injuries.
The Nats cannot stay afloat without Zimmerman, Morse and Harper. Luckily for Washington, they have the luxury of turning to Harper to keep their heads above water.
Harper has to keep the Nats in contention early on in the season until the other two come back to the lineup. Harper is going to grow up fast in Washington.
Harper has to be the one to assure the Nats that they will not give up ground in Morse and Zimmerman's absence, whether it is two weeks or two months.
Without Harper, the Nats would lose ground in the National League.