Bryce Harper: 8 Reasons Washington Nationals Must Keep Young Star in MLB

Alexander Van Rees@Alex_VanReesContributor IIIMay 8, 2012

Bryce Harper: 8 Reasons Washington Nationals Must Keep Young Star in MLB

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    Bryce Harper. What more is there to say about this up-and-coming, young, exquisite specimen?

    He has only just started, and there is plenty more to come.

    If possible, I think there has been more talk surrounding him and his play than when the phenom flame-throwing Stephen Strasburg arrived in the big leagues two years ago. He has been a blessing for the Nationals, and does not look as if he is leaving anytime soon.

    Not only is it the way Harper has performed at the plate, but he has also carried himself like he has been doing this for years: like a professional.

    Harper is only 19 years old and he is already taking the Nation’s Capital by storm; he has only played in eight games for the Nats thus far in his young career, but it seems like he has been at this level for longer than just eight games.

    There has been non-stop gossip surrounding whether or not Harper will stay at the major league level or if he will be demoted with the return of slugger Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse.

    I have compiled a list of eight reasons why the Nationals must keep Harper at the major league level (they are not in any particular order).

1. Performance at the Dish

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    Everyone was expecting Harper to be the next huge impact player in the major leagues, but no one knew to what extent that he would affect the Nationals. No one thought he would be able to catch on so quickly and adjust to the MLB right away.

    Since being recalled from the minors about a week and a half ago, he has played in eight games and he has collected eight hits in his 26 at-bats (.308 average), including four five doubles, five walks, three RBI and three runs scored. He has yet to hit his first home run of his career.

    Maybe it is too early to tell, but he has gotten off to a great start with the Nats over his first eight games. Zimmerman is expected to make his return to the team within the next week of so, but the Nats are not expected to demote him to the minors. 

2. Harper's Arm on Display

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    Not only has he gotten off to a hot start at the plate, he has impressed everyone with his strong, accurate cannon of an arm. On a couple of occasions, he has displayed his rocket.

    In his first game at the major league level against the Dodgers, he gunned down a runner at the plate and showed off his gun, but Wilson Ramos spoiled his first outfield assist-attempt. Check out the video here!

    In his home debut against the Diamondbacks, he was on the prowl again. This time, the umpire missed the call, as Harper should have nailed Jon McDonald at the plate (from almost 300 feet away!). Check it out here! He has a rocket arm and we have seen him use it already.

3. His Outstanding Defense

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    Another reason why Harper should definitely spend the majority of this season at the major league level is his prowess in the outfield, especially with the loss of Jayson Werth who broke his hand the other night in Philadelphia.

    In just his second game in the majors, he made a great leaping catch into the wall in right center field to rob the Dodger’s Juan Uribe of an extra base hit. Check it out here.

    He has proved he can make great catches and play strong defense at the minor league level, and after just eight games up here, it is obvious he can man the outfield, whether it be center field or left field, and we have not seen him in right, but I’m sure he would succeed there too (he will most likely man right field for part of the season).

4. Harper Is Old-School

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    Harper has been described as an old-style player already, and he’s only been in the big leagues a little over a week. Critics mean that he runs every play out to the fullest and he does not take anything for granted.

    Before he got the call that changed this young phenom’s life forever, it was reported that Harper might be too cocky and not fit in with the big league club. Reports said that he might think too much of himself, and he would not be a team player.

    On the contrary, Harper has shown that he wants to be in the majors and he wants to play his hardest each game. For example, he became one of the only teenagers to steal home plate after he swiped the dish on pickoff attempt by Cole Hamels on Sunday night.

5. Already a Professional Hitter

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    Another criticism of Harper in the past has been whether or not he can be a professional hitter at the major league level, and he has definitely shown thus far that he can hang with the big dogs.

    He does not look intimated out there on the field at all, whether it be at the plate or on defense. It looks as if he has been playing baseball all of his life, and he is just playing catch in his backyard; it’s so effortless for him.

    Harper has also shown his patience at the plate, which is tough for a young, powerful slugger because normally they want to impress their new team and are a bit too anxious. However, he showed his patience against the Dodgers after working a walk on seven pitches when the game was on the line in the ninth inning; he did not like what he saw at the dish, so he took the walk. Most young hitters would go outside their comfort zone and roll over on a weak ground ball. 

6. Some Do Not Need the Minors

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    Like general manager Mike Rizzo said in an interview a couple of days ago, some players do not need the minor leagues to hone their major league skills because they are already in check.

    Harper is one of those players.

    Even Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes that Harper should not be demoted and he deserves to be at the major league level. This young stud is one of those who should not spend his time in the minors, when he can flourish in the majors.

    Harper definitely has a bright future ahead of him, and he has drawn some very impressive compliments from important critics over his first eight contests.

7. Sense of Community

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    Not only is his play impressive at such a young age, but his level of energy and his willingness to embrace his home fans have been the talk of Washington. Just the other day, Harper played a quick game of pick-me-up softball with Nats fans at the Washington Memorial.

    Not all 19-year-old rookies would be able to do that. It’s like he is a one-of-a-kind mold, and he just continues to turn heads and do the unthinkable. He goes out there every day with a great attitude and the drive to be a great player.

    He has brought a great sense of community to the team already, and if he continues to perform well and be a member of the Washington area, he will have a great future with the club.

8. Kept His Cool Against Hamels

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    The last reason why Harper should stay at the major league level is his attitude towards the game of baseball. The other night, I’m sure everyone is aware and saw the clip; Phillies starter Hamels nailed Harper in the back.

    Hamels clearly and freely admits that he hit Harper on purpose to welcome him into the big leagues. Rizzo had a field day with this juicy piece of media hype.

    Harper did not let it affect him in the slightest.

    That type of professionalism and character show the Nationals who Bryce Harper is and the type of player he will transfer into as he continues to mature and grow at the major league level.

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