Bryce Harper, the Nationals’ 18-year-old phenom outfielder, will see significant playing time in center field for Class A Hagerstown, according to Suns Manager Brian Daubach. Harper is expected to start at least once in center this weekend, as the Suns finish up a season-opening four-game series at the Rome (Ga.) Braves.
The Nationals have previously said Harper would play some center field in the minor leagues, but Daubach suggested that Harper’s playing time could be fairly equally split between right field and center. Obviously, at the big league level, the Nationals are already locked in at right field with Jayson Werth, who is in the first year of a seven-year $126 million contract.
Here is today’s story from Harper’s minor-league debut Friday night for the Suns, focusing largely on his offensive exploits.
Defensively, Harper had a fairly uneventful night in right field. His best moment came when he took a perfect route to a hard base hit in the gap, cut it off before it got to the wall, then pivoted and threw to second base. Although the throw was slightly off line, and the runner made it safely to second for a double, Harper otherwise played the ball perfectly. Another time, with a runner on second, he charged a ball hit directly towards him and made a strong, on-line throw to the plate, but the runner held at third.
“He played a great game in the outfield, throwing to the right bases,” Daubach said. “He almost made a great throw to second to get that guy. He played an aggressive game. That’s what he does every day.”