Washington Nationals No. 1 Pick Bryce Harper To Make Pro Debut Monday

Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIFebruary 27, 2011

At just 18 years old, Bryce Harper will make his pro debut in Monday's Spring Training opener against the Mets.
At just 18 years old, Bryce Harper will make his pro debut in Monday's Spring Training opener against the Mets.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

According to legend, when he was 15 years old, Bryce Harper bombed a home run that went over the right field fence, two trees, a second fence, a sidewalk, crossed five lanes of traffic, a second sidewalk and landed in the middle of a deserted area in the Nevada desert.

The shot was estimated to have landed some 570 feet away from home plate.

Although there is no video to prove exactly how far the home run landed, one year later and from multiple angles, Harper blasted the longest home run shot at Tropicana Field during a home run derby at the ripe old age of 16.

This shot heard and seen around the world, hit off the back wall of Tropicana Field.

Five months later, Harper and his legendary home runs landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

On Monday, Harper will longer be the stuff of legend, but rather of reality as he makes his pro debut when the Nationals take on the New York Mets.

At just 18 years old, Harper may just overtake fellow teammate Stephen Strasburg as the biggest reason to watch the Washington Nationals, especially this spring training.

Although he isn't expected to land on the Nationals' regular season roster until next season, the hype is enough to draw interest. Rated as the No. 2 overall minor league prospect according to MLB Network's Top 50 prospects, Harper without question is the most intriguing of all.

The real dilemma facing the Nationals is the same they faced last season: when is the right time to cash in the chips and call up the kids to play pro ball?

Common sense, money and the overall excitement of seeing Strasburg was too much for the Nats, and one year after being drafted No. 1 overall, Stephen Strasburg made his pro debut in April of 2010. 

Harper spent his first season in the minors playing in the Arizona Fall League.

Without Strasburg for the entire 2011 season, there really isn't much to get excited about in Washington, especially considering that the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves only got stronger in the offseason.

Time will only tell if the rumors of Harper not making his pro debut until 2011 will prove true, but in the meantime, it should be an interesting and entertaining spring training for the Nationals.