So the big news of the day is that Ryan Zimmerman is going on the disabled list. Wait, no, the big news of the day is the consequence of that, which is that the Washington Nationals have promoted Bryce Harper. He's debuting Saturday night. He's 19 years old. He's not even close to turning 20.
It's exciting - not just for the Nationals, but for fans everywhere, who will get to see a tremendous raw talent with their own two eyes. But this isn't quite like when the Nationals promoted Stephen Strasburg. For one thing, a starting pitcher is more fun to watch than a starting position player, because a starting pitcher is involved in half of the plays. And for another thing, Strasburg had destroyed the minor leagues. He had beat the minor leagues, stringed them up, and drained their blood. Harper hasn't quite done that.
In 82 plate appearances with triple-A Syracuse, Harper has batted .250 with one home run, nine walks, and 14 strikeouts. Last season, in 147 plate appearances with double-A Harrisburg, Harper batted .256 with three home runs, 15 walks, and 26 strikeouts. Harper mashed last year in single-A Hagerstown, but the real challenge is in the upper minors, and Harper has yet to conquer those. Statistically.
If you care about spring training, Harper's batted .326, but he hasn't gone deep, and besides, that's spring training. I shouldn't even be talking about it.
None of this is to say that Bryce Harper isn't outstanding, or potentially outstanding. Bryce Harper has been a 19-year-old on the Syracuse Chiefs. The next-youngest player on the Syracuse Chiefs is nearly-24-year-old Carlos Rivero. Harper's extraordinarily young for someone so high, and that's a consideration.
But when the Angels promoted super-prospect Mike Trout last summer, he returned a .672 OPS. That after annihilating the double-A Texas League. Harper could and should be fantastic. He probably won't be fantastic right away, and he'll probably be back in the minors before much time has elapsed.