The Bryce Harper Legend Grows

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The Bryce Harper Legend Grows

His team facing elimination in the Junior College West Regionals, Bryce Harper went 6 for 6 with four home runs, a triple, a double, and 10 RBI in a game this weekend. 

His team won by a final score of 25-11 (there was a stiff wind blowing out in Lamar, Colorado where the game was played) to propel his team, College of Southern Nevada, to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.  He had hit for the cycle in a game a day or two before.

This performance pretty much has to cement Harper as the first pick of the 2010 Draft.  Key game, lights out performance against what should be the very best junior college competition.  It’s hard to imagine a player doing much more than that.

With Scott Boras as his agent, I really can’t see Harper not breaking Stephen Strasburg’s bonus record.  At age 17 and playing junior college ball, Harper is two years ahead of the next best high school position player in the country. 

Harper won’t be the last player to get his G.E.D. in order to go play junior college, but he’s the first, and the Nationals are going to have to pay big money (my guess is around $16.1 million, roughly a million more than Strasburg got) for the privilege of signing him.

I think it’s going to get done, however.  After the money the small market Reds gave Aroldis Chapman, there’s really no doubt that the Nationals can afford to cough up a record-setting price for a talent as great as Harper’s.  Also, while Harper has the leverage of being able to go back to junior college for another year, I just can’t see him doing it, because he obviously has nothing left to prove at that level.

In a year, he’ll be a year older, and there’s a good chance he won’t be significantly better there next year than he was this year.  Or he could get hurt, particularly since he plays catcher.

I’ve commented many times (and so have others) on Scott Boras’ fundamental conflict of interest in representing so many players.  Boras has his own interest in waiting until the August deadline to get absolutely every penny to be gotten, because he’s going to represent so many top draft picks in the future.  The more he gets for Strasburg and now Harper, the higher the bar going forward.

It would be nice to see Harper sign soon enough that he can start in the short-season rookie league and see if he can hit his way up to the short season A league, where most of the 21 and 22 year olds drafted out of four year colleges start their professional careers, before the end of the 2010 season.

I expect that the Nationals would bring Harper along relatively slowly, because you would want to be really ready when his six year clock for free agency starts.

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