Even Bud Selig said it was no surprise when the Nats selected 17-year-old Bryce Harper No. 1 overall. What was mildly surprising, however, is that they labeled him an outfielder while doing so. A lesser, more disappointing surprise? He won’t be wearing his war paint-style signature eye black.
Harper mostly played catcher this season for Southern Nevada, but he also saw time at third base and in the outfield. Once he signs his monster deal (hopefully in advance of August 15) it’s to the low minors he’ll go, where he’ll work on playing right field. Watch out, Roger Bernadina.
In other, less-heralded DMV draft news, the O’s selected 17-year-old shortstop Manny Machado No. 3 overall. As a 6’3″ Dominican hailing from a Miami-area high school, the natural comparison is to Alex Rodriguez, but I’d rather invoke Cal Ripken. Either way, watch out, Cesar Izturis.
As good as Harper and Machado are now and legends though they may become, neither figures to be in the big leagues until at least 2012 — or later. Which is a shame, because I’m tired of their new organizations picking in the top five every June.
Welcome to professional baseball, gentlemen. It’s a long way up.