Bryce Harper: Why Washington Nationals' Young Star Will Continue to Rise

Andres BoteroCorrespondent IJune 11, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 10:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals scores the go-ahead run in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox during interleague play at Fenway Park June 10, 2012  in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Following a highly prolific (and scrutinized) high school and junior college career, Bryce Harper has made a seamless transition into MLB with the Washington Nationals.

After Harper was drafted in 2010 by the Nationals, team officials saw they were sitting on a dynamic player and converted him to the outfield, ensuring a quicker call-up to the majors.

That decision has definitely helped his stock rise ever since his debut in April.

As reported by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, Harper was called up for two reasons: 1) because third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and outfielder Mike Morse were on the disabled list and 2) the team's left fielders were batting .093.

That situation may have proven to be a blessing in disguise for Harper and the Nationals. 

Having been with the team for little more than a month, Harper is batting .282 with an OBP of .368 along with six home runs and 17 RBI.

Drafted as a catcher, his conversion to the outfield is great; it adds longevity to his career, and that kind of versatility will always come in handy with any ballclub.

For players like Harper, there are no positions, only preferences. No matter where he is on the field, he has a dramatic impact on the game because he is a five-tool player.

Harper is fast in the sense that he doesn't run to first base; he's a one-man stampede charging for extra bases.

He can also throw from deep in the outfield and has demonstrated good accuracy; as of right now he has one outfield assist, but that is a deceptive statistic.

Everyone who plays against the Nationals knows that if they round first and Harper has the ball, they should not think about the extra base.

He can field as well as most other players, but sometimes his explosiveness and enthusiasm cause him to overrun balls.

This kind of thing is understandable; he plays baseball with aggression and abandon, qualities that all rookies tend to display.

In regards to power hitting, he only has six home runs but will probably finish in the high teens/low 20s by the end of the season. His swing is so strong and violent, you would think he was trying to knock the cover off the ball.

Over time, that will translate to more home runs as he becomes more comfortable in his at-bats, if that is even possible given his smooth transition from the minors.

At the very least, he will probably be close to the lead, if not the league leader, in triples (he is currently tied for fifth).

Besides all the physical characteristics, Bryce Harper is a young, charismatic player who knows that much is expected of him but doesn't shy away from the limelight. 

It's hard to be humble when you are called the LeBron James of baseball.

In an interview with GQ, Harper didn't play down his talent and hide behind a shield of humility and modesty.

He's a great and gifted baseball player. He's not going to shy away from that. If anything, it motivates him to be better than the rest.

His attitude and the way he carries himself will be the reasons why his stock will rise; his braggadocio is a symptom of his intense training and style of play. 

He has high standards for himself and wants to be the best. Because of that, he will be considered one of the top outfielders in the National League when September comes around.