Mr T Says Stay in School, Bryce Harper

Jabber HeadSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 17:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees bats against the Washington Nationals on June 17, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Bryce Harper is barely old enough to pump gas.

He’s barely old enough to stay out past 10 PM making out with teenage girls. Yet, he’s apparently old enough to skip his last two years of high school to follow his dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player.

The Las Vegas high school catcher, who stands 6′3″ and weighs 205 pounds, once hit a bomb 570 feet, according to his current high school coach Sam Thomas. That punifies the longball record he set for Tropicana Field this past January with a shot that would have traveled farther than the measured 502 feet had it not nailed the back wall of the dome. 

He’s fast, too. So fast he managed to score six times on wild pitches this season...from second base.

Harper, already a Sports Illustrated cover boy, has actually made second basemen dodge his line drives instead of gloving them, as if the ball would have taken their heads clear off.

As adults, we can swing several ways in this debate. Some may take the Mr. T Philosophy that the kid should stay in school. Some may take a different tone once seeing his talent, trekking back to their teenage years to remember wanting nothing more than to be a professional athlete.

This left-handed youngster has the tools to make those dreams a reality. We might even be looking at the next Man Muscles.

Harper plans to earn his GED (much like Jeremy Bonderman did back in 2001) and enroll in junior college with his older brother to get ready for next year’s draft under the money-grubbing guidance of who else, but superagent Scott Boras.

Some folks, including Chicago Cubs special general manager assistant Gary Hughes, who scouted for years, think Harper should finish his education before entering the draft. But what makes him different than every 16-year-old Venezuelan and Dominican kid leaving their countries each year to pursue their baseball talents? It may be a stretch of a comparison, considering the opportunities most teenagers have in the United States, but all the same is their tender age.

An anonymous National League scouting director, who followed the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Chipper Jones while they were still in high school said, “God was very, very good to him. He’s stronger than they all were in high school…If he’d been in the draft this year, he would have gone very, very high.”

However, he went on to say that if Harper were his son, he wouldn’t allow it.

Would you? Before you jump to a conclusion, check out this YouTube video, preceded by about a zillion ads that stop at the 0:40 mark.

Join in the discussion on this and other topics in the NEW Sports Jabber Forums!