Nationals To Recall Bryce Harper

The Nationals have announced that they're promoting outfielder Bryce Harper to the Major Leagues tomorrow (Twitter link). Harper will take Ryan Zimmerman's place on the active roster and the third baseman will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Bryce Harper - Nationals (PW)

Harper's service clock begins now, but the Nationals delayed his debut long enough to postpone his free agency by a full year. Even if Harper sticks in the Major Leagues — a big 'if' for any 19-year-old — the Nationals will control his rights through 2018.

As I explained earlier this week, teams can now call up players, even those on 40-man rosters, without losing their rights for the 2018 season. Harper's service clock could stop and start many times over the course of the next few years, but at the moment he projects to become arbitration eligible as a super two following the 2014 season. He projects to go to arbitration four times and hit free agency following the 2018 campaign.

The Nationals selected Harper first overall in the 2010 draft, but he signed late and his pro career didn't begin in earnest until 2011. Harper posted a .297/.392/.501 line with 17 home runs and 26 stolen bases across three levels last year and has a .250/.333/.375 line at Triple-A Syracuse this year.

Harper joins Jayson Werth, Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady in the Nationals' outfield. Washington's offense currently ranks 23rd in MLB, but the team is off to an impressive 14-5 start.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

90 Responses to Nationals To Recall Bryce Harper Leave a Reply

  1. brett 3 years ago

    Rizzo has done a great job thus far.  HOwever, this is a bad move. He isn’t ready to  play at this level. They may be doing more harm than good

    • jwsox 3 years ago

      there is no real way to tell if he is ready or not untill he actually gets some MLB at bats. He dominated AA, many teams and analysts believe that AA is where the real MLB read tallent is now a days and AAA is more of the back up/ depth  league. He struggled in AAA this season but it could be chalked up to small sample size. I think Rendon would have made more sense seeing as he is a true 3rd basemen and who knows if Zimm is going to be out more than 15 days. But Harper will put people in seats and attract more people to the field. 

      • adamadamwade 3 years ago

        Rendon is injured (again…)

      • $1529282 3 years ago

        Harper hit .256/.329/.395 in 37 Double-A games.

        “Dominated,” indeed.

        • Alexander_Brovechkin 3 years ago

          That’s true, but keep in mind that he was 18 at the time and was on track for 14 HRs and 60 RBIs if he had played the full season.  In his last 10 games in Syracuse, he’s hitting .290 with an OPS of .840.  I don’t think this is a permanent move–probably something for depth and to get him some at bats in The Show and probably sell some tickets for the Phillies series next week, but you never know.

      •  Harper did not dominate AA. He hasn’t dominated anything since A-ADV. I can’t remember what he did in the fall league, but I believe he was pretty good there.

        • vtadave 3 years ago

          Only if you consider a 1.034 OPS “pretty good”.

          • Almost anyone dominates in AFL, I remember at least dozens of failed prospects marking over 1.000 OPS and didn’t even crack into big league

          •  He had the 8th highest OPS in the AFL. And only 9 guys had an OPS over 1.000. You’re underestimating Harper’s not-so-easy feat.

    • RSKelley 3 years ago

      No matter how talented he is, he’s 19. Pushing players this hard, no matter how talented, is rarely the best plan of attack to maximize their development. Remember Mickey Mantle? Remember what Mickey Mantle could’ve been? How about Haper’s teammate, Rick Ankiel– remember what he could’ve been?

      Teams invest heavily in player development for a reason. Harper wants to play in the big leagues in the worst way, and every spring reporters writer about how he’s crushed that he’s not breaking camp with the team. So is every other kid in the minors. He’s immature, and like every other 19 year old, doesn’t know what’s best for his future just yet. The Nationals are getting a little bit panicky about their offense. The fact is, there’s plenty of guys that could give the team a boost and they should take a look at them instead. How about Brandon Inge for starters? 

      • Remember when Bryce Harper dropped out of high school so he could get his GED early in order to play college baseball two years earlier than anyone else? The guy is used pushing himself at an younger age.

        And if things don’t work out over the next 2 weeks, then he’ll just go back to AAA. But if a couple weeks of failure can derail his career permanently, I’m not sure he’d ever have had much of a career to start.

        • Dc21892 3 years ago

          That second part of your response is key. It’s what makes or breaks big time prospects. Look at Travis Snyder. He was supposedly “call up too soon” but when he was sent back down and came back up what did he prove? Then you have a guy like Clay Buchholz who comes up, throws a nono, struggles mightily and goes to AAA for a couple years and figures it out. Similar case with Roy Halladay. It all depends on how mental strong these people are. If they’re not, and fail, chances are they bust. Those are are tough can take the criticism though and improve their game and go on to storied careers.

          •  If you look at Harper’s minor league career so far, it always follows the same pattern. In the first 3 weeks he struggles, but then after getting a feel for the league, he adapts and puts up huge numbers.

            It’s exactly what happened in A and the Arizona Fall League. Unfortunately, Harper got hurt in AA just as he was starting to heat up. The same goes for AAA. He’s hit .290/.421/.419 over the last 10 games, which aren’t exceptional, but certainly much better than the first 10.

            He’s already shown he can adapt to difficult situations at several levels now. Sure, he could probably use another month in the minors, but given the situation at the big league level, he won’t get that. But I’m confident that this isn’t going to destroy his career, even if he doesn’t fare very at first.

    • Casor_Greener 3 years ago

      This is a prime example of what happens every day in real life. People who are more deserving of opportunities are passed over due to “who you know”; “potential” etc.  It sucks but it’s just a fact of life.  A lot of great ball players never got a chance because of garbage like this.

  2. ARod's Ring 3 years ago

    Bald move! 

  3. monkeydung 3 years ago

    wish it would have been tonight just to watch him debut against Kershaw.

  4. Kyle Tomko 3 years ago

    Can you say a Billy Beane all over again?

    • vtadave 3 years ago

      Closes office door and says out loud “Can you say a Billy Beane all over again?”

      Yep, I can say it.

  5. Bonds2425 3 years ago

    This can go either way. He doesn’t do good at all or he is comfortable and does what he normally does at the plate. Welcome to the show kid! Hope he does goid

  6. Rangersfan32 3 years ago

    This can’t end well.

  7. I hope he gets to play everyday.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

       If he doesn’t then he shouldn’t be on the 25 man. You don’t call up the #1 prospect in baseball to sit on the bench.

  8. asovermann 3 years ago

    Hmm not sure this is a good move for Bryce right now, he hadn’t even proved himself in AA last season!

  9. wish it had been Tyler Moore. Kid deserves a chance

    • Where’s he going to play? The only player actually hitting right now on the Nationals is firstbaseman Adam LaRoche.

  10. Lastings 3 years ago

    The Nationals are playing so well and Bryce has yet to hit Triple-A pitching, is there really a need for this? If the Nationals were in Royalsville right now it would make some sense, but I just don’t understand this…

    • FS54 3 years ago

      offense has been lucky so far and with Morse and Zimm out for weeks, they are desperate.

  11. ARod's Ring 3 years ago

    At least he will be in MLB THE SHOW 13 no matter what now.

  12. OrangeCards 3 years ago

    An OPS of .724 over 150ish ABs in AA to end last year and a .708 OPS to start this year at AAA doesn’t exactly scream big league ready to me …

    • Snoochies8 3 years ago

      maybe not, but it does scream 19 year old hitting higher level pitching…

      • OrangeCards 3 years ago

        I understand he’s very young for AA and AAA, but he hasn’t exactly crushed at either level. His numbers certainly don’t seem to dictate the promotion, it seems based more on his name and expectations.

        • Amish_willy 3 years ago

          Exactly, usually teams let the numbers catch up to the hype before making these decisions. If his struggles continue in the majors in these upcoming months, how is that any good for Harper?!?!

  13. jwsox 3 years ago

    he will be on next mondays MLB the SHOW 12 online roster update! this was a reply to chiico…stupid disqus

  14. Griffey had an okay year at 19, A-Rod nearly won the MVP at 20… if this kid has the true #1 talent he’ll make it.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

       Let’s compare Bryce Harper to two 1st ballot HOFers (at least on performance and talent, even if A-Rod gets the PED knock).

      Most #1 prospects in baseball don’t develop into 1st ballot HOFers.

    • A-Rod was juiced since HS

  15. jwsox 3 years ago

    I love how everyone is down on this kid becuase he has a cocky attitude. the fact is he may come to the bigs on what seems like a minor quick call up and go back down once zimm is off the DL or he may stay none of us know. Why not root for him

  16. Phadreus 3 years ago

    Harper DOMINATED the Arizona Fall league and was great this spring.  People judging him on 80 PAs in AAA this year are losing sight of reality.  This kid is definitely talented enough to be playing in MLB.

    • asovermann 3 years ago

       It’s not only AAA numbers its his AA numbers as well, only hit .256 in AA and is hitting .250 in AAA,it shows that he hasn’t adjusted to the advanced level of pitchers. The “80” power grade hasn’t been there either with only 4 hrs in 57 games in AA and AAA.

      • Phadreus 3 years ago

        Fall League is more competitive than AAA and he was the best hitter there.

        We will find out if he is ready or not shortly, but for you to conclude he is not by his “power grade” in 80 plate appearances flies in the face of reality.

        • asovermann 3 years ago

           I’d have to disagree and say Mike Olt, Gyorko, Myers and Arenado were all better than Bryce. Possibly Robbie Grossman as well.

        • Snoochies8 3 years ago

          it’s not much more competitive…also it’s more hitter friendly than most of the stadiums he’s playing in right now, so there’s that..

          • Phadreus 3 years ago

            Agree to all this.  The samples suck and they are all inferior to MLB.  

            Bat speed is there.  Plate coverage is there.  Defense is there.  Speed is there.

            He has proven he can do it in short stints and been mediocre in short stints.  

            His arbitration clock is no longer relevant to holding him back.  

            His upside is 3 to 4 more WAR than Bernadina/Ankiel.  His downside is about equal WAR.  

            He is the best option for the Nats right now and in the future.  Let the kid play and lets (as baseball fans) root for a historic talent (unless you are a Philly fan).

          • NickinIthaca 3 years ago

            Well put…. I’ve been back and forth with myself about him.  I’d love to be able to watch his career progress to his full potential, and watch another amazing career develop.  But I’d also like to watch him crash and burn just because he seems like the type of kid I would have thrown at because he was so arrogant.  I think I’ve gotta jump on for the ride, watch what he can do and hope for the best.

          • LazerTown 3 years ago

            Agreed, the Nats are really winning, and they don’t want people to blame any bumps on the lack of harper. 

            Harper is definetely an upgrade over ankiel, so I think they should give him a shot.  Most thought that trout would dominate when he came up.  there is a diff time for everyone.

    • $1529282 3 years ago

      So it’s better to judge him on ~110 AFL PAs and 30 Spring PAs?
      As for “great” in Spring… .286/.333/.357 with 11 Ks vs. 2 walks in 30 PAs isn’t “great.”
      He may succeed, but your argument makes little to no sense. You’re drawing conclusions from sample sizes that are just as small, and apparently not even really bothering to look at them.

      • Phadreus 3 years ago

        That is my entire point.  The samples all suck.  

        The talent is there and he is almost certainly better than Bernadina and Ankeil.

        • $1529282 3 years ago

          If your point is that small samples as useless, then citing his AFL and Spring stats is pretty counter-intuitive…

          The criticism doesn’t stem from whether or not he’s an upgrade over Ankiel/Bernadina presently… it’s whether or not it’s a good move for him, developmentally speaking, to face even better pitching when he’s yet to handle his opposition in the upper minors.

          • Phadreus 3 years ago

            I think he would learn as much against MLB pitchers as minor league pitchers.

    • Snoochies8 3 years ago

      thing is, AFL (hitter friendly) and spring training hold just about as much water as small sample sizes during the regular season…

      • melonis_rex 3 years ago

         he sees far better pitching in spring training than in AA anyway.

  17. Phadreus 3 years ago

    Agree.  There is really only one instance that people point to as substance for the impression that he is cocky.  

    Clearly he is unbelievably talented.  Why not root for talent?  Why not root for good baseball?  

    This kid has attracted haters, but I dont understand why he has more than Strasburg.  Other than that people resent his age, whereas Strasburg went to college first.  The truth is the same hype for similar can’t miss talent is about right.

    • OrangeCards 3 years ago

       Barry Bonds was extremely talented … rooting for him?

      • Phadreus 3 years ago

        I did.  He was unbelievable to watch.  Anyone who rooted against Bonds doesn’t like baseball.

        • jayrig5 3 years ago

          Or they don’t like jerks.  However, I’ll grant you that Harper hasn’t really done much to deserve the negative connotations.

          • Infield Fly 3 years ago


            I’ll assume that @Phadreus:disqus means well but it always makes me uncomfortable to read pronouncements that presume to speak for an entire population of people – be it baseball lovers or anyone else.

            Personally, I can think of a number of reasons why a sincere baseball lover would root against the likes of Barry Bonds. Here’s what comes to my mind:

            1) Being a Dodger fan
            2) Not liking pompous condescending people who are full of themselves — regardless of what their talent level may be
            3) Not being especially fond of folks who appear to have used steroids (no matter how many others may have done so)
            4) Bonds’ frequent lack of graciousness towards fans and media alike (especially for those with firsthand experience – as have a few Giants fans I know)
            5) Being someone who can decide for him/herself who to root for or against

            Those are just some things I can think of without breaking a sweat…but again, I am speaking for moi. 😉

  18. $24144853 3 years ago

    Just bought my ticket! I cant wait to see what Bryce Harper can do. Hopefully i can get an autograph!!!

  19. ObamaDinoKiller 3 years ago

    how long is he signed for before the whole arbitration/team still has his rights thing kicks in?

    • vtadave 3 years ago

      He was in the minors long enough to delay his free agency until after the 2018 season. Could still be a super-two guy though.

  20. Kyle Tomko 3 years ago

    Phadreus you are missing his point bro. It isnt that he wont be rooting for him its the pure fact that he isnt ready and this can ruin his career possibly. As for whoever was comparing him to Ken and Arod… Arod dominated triple A before he got the call and Ken’s OPS was over 1000 something Harper has yet to do. I don’t like Bryce Harper personally but im not rooting for him to suck however I do think this is a huge mistake and could hurt his potential greatly

  21. Yeesh, it’ll be exciting but I gotta worry for him in case he’s not ready.  While it’s true that his lines from AA and AAA are good considering his age, we gotta remember that that really doesn’t count for anything in the short term.  If he hits .240/.300/.350 in the bigs or something along those lines, it’ll be good for a teenager but bad overall.  It counts exactly the same as anyone else’s line regardless of his age.  I’m hoping he does well because it’s always a shame when big talent doesn’t come to fruition, but I still gotta worry for him.

    • Alex Foltz 3 years ago

      Yeah, if he hits .240, it’s the same regardless of his age. But he’s gonna be, most likely, replacing Roger Bernadina, he of .171 hitting. I think at this point they would take the .70 point increase, as well as the bonanza it’ll be in ticket sales.

  22. East Coast Bias 3 years ago

    People saying “he was only 18…” or “he’s only 19…” are making the point against themselves. 

    Yes, he’s young and “dominating” AA (not really, but I’ll give that to you for argument’s sake). So, why bring him up now? Let him get more at bats and hone his skills and mature. If he played all of this year in AA and later AAA, he would be set up for success to come up to the bigs next year. 

    The team’s doing all right without him. I don’t see this as a necessity. Could possibly be a detriment. 

  23. This… going to be ugly.

    • Phadreus 3 years ago

      The only ugly things about Harper are his mullet and jr. high beard.  

      His bat and poise won them the game tonight!

      • Infield Fly 3 years ago

        Harper…His bat and poise won them the game tonight!

        Except the Nats didn’t win it did they?! The Dodgers stormed back to tie it in the 9th, then win it the 10th – and on one of Matt Kemp’s typical power surges, no less.

        I hear you on the hair and beard thing, though [shudder!].

        • Phadreus 3 years ago

          Ha.  Yeah, that was not fun for me.  Fun for you though.

          That said, Harper did everything last night he could to put them in position to win.  Blame Rodriguez and Ramos for the loss last night.

  24. FacelessGeneralManager 3 years ago


  25. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    Thanks for keeping the roads a safer place.

  26. Rabbitov 3 years ago

    Go big or go home.  Think its too soon, but it certainly is entertaining. 

  27. Even in the process of adjusting to MLB pitching Harper can’t be as bad as the Nationals’ current options in left. Unlike other teams with similar lack of hitting, the Nationals are in a position to compete for a playoff spot this season. It is a win-win to marginally improve LF offensive production and give valuable playing experience to a prized prospect. The Nats could have put themselves in a position to sit on Harper longer with better OF signings in the offseason, but this is the move that helps them now.

  28. drumzalicious 3 years ago

    Bleh. I think they are moving to quick. I’d understand if he was killing it in AAA like Trout was but he wasn’t. They should have just picked up Inge or someone to hold them over until Zimmerman is back. Rushing this kid could do more harm than good

    • cderry 3 years ago

      “I think they are moving to quick.”

      They are moving to quick…what?  If you’re going to quick something, just do it already.

  29. Paul Shailor 3 years ago

    Whatever, you guys can say what you want lol I picked him up in my fantasy league and will start him against billingsley. 

  30. He better not show his attitude issues when playing against Reds. There goes 106mph fastball coming right at ya

    • Infield Fly 3 years ago

      There goes 106mph fastball coming right at ya

      ….Or Brandon Phillips… 😀


  31. asovermann 3 years ago

     Derosa,Tracy and Lombardozzi are said to be platooning to fill the gap

  32. Phadreus 3 years ago

    As a Nats fan, I want to see Lombardozzi play.  Higher upside and I assume his D is passable (although don’t really know).

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