Since I wrote a post on Bryce Harper in the last week, I thought it would be a good idea to pass on this scouting report on Harper from mlb.com.
One thing the scouting report does not contain that I have seen written and have observed in watching video of Harper taking batting practice is that Bryce has a slight hitch in his swing that some scouts think he’ll need to reduce to be successful at the professional level.
One thing the scouting report does mention is Harper’s tremendous power at so tender an age. Aside from the obvious comparison to Mickey Mantle, another player that jumps into my mind for comparison purposes is Harold Baines.
Baines was the first player selected in the 1977 Draft (by the White Sox). He was drafted out of high school, and he was famed for hitting 400 foot homeruns at the age of 14. Like Harper, Baines was a left-handed hitter. Harper is bigger than Baines at the same age.
If Harper’s career turns out like Baines’, the Nationals will not be disappointed by selecting him with the first pick of the 2010 Draft. Baines had a border-line Hall of Fame career, and my guess is he eventually makes it in.
The strongest arguments for Baines are the fact that his career 1,628 major league RBIs is the highest total of any eligible player not currently in the HOF, his 2,927 combined runs and RBIs, and his 2,866 hits.
Baines had few, if any, MVP-type seasons in his career, but he played for a remarkable 22 major seasons.
A generation or two from now I expect that Baines will be remembered as a poor-man’s Al Kaline. Their career numbers are very similar, although Kaline’s are a bit better, even though he played in a much tougher era for hitters.
With 3,000 hits, Al Kaline is a no-doubt-about-it Hall of Famer, so even being a poor-man’s Kaline is still awfully good. And, as I’ve said, I still expect Baines to make it into the Hall of Fame some day.