Tom Verducci of SI.com introduces us to a 16-year-old so tantalizing multiple MLB scouting directors say he would be a top-five pick if eligible for this year's draft. Bryce Harper, a high school sophomore, has drawn comparisons to Justin Upton, Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr.. The entire article's worth reading, but here are some of the reasons Harper's attracting so much attention:
- He hit the longest home run in Tropicana Field history, at 502 feet.
- He's reportedly hit balls as far as 570 feet.
- His throws have been clocked at 96 mph.
- He's fast enough to have scored from second on six wild pitches this year.
Scott Boras is one of Harper's advisers, so look for big demands once he's drafted. That won't likely happen until 2011, but his parents would like Harper to be available in next year's draft. It would be hard not to think highly of your skill if you were labeled the "LeBron James of baseball," and Harper has no shortage of ambition.
- He wants to reach the majors by the time he's 18 or 19.
- Among his goals: "to be in the Hall of Fame" and to "be considered the greatest baseball player of all time."