Earlier Friday morning, Jon Heyman relayed one of my favorite kinds of messages:
nats riggleman just said he doesn't completely rule out bryce harper, 18, reaching majors this yr if he thrives "at every level"
It's easy to see how this could be twisted. "Bryce Harper Almost Certainly Won't Play In The Majors This Year" means the same thing as "Chance Bryce Harper Plays In The Majors This Year," but the latter is so much more open, and so much more exciting. And then it becomes a story. Will Bryce Harper play in the Majors this year? It's a whole story out of practically nothing. It's incredible how that works.
But that part aside, it's interesting to think about the rest of what Riggleman said. According to Jim Riggleman, Bryce Harper could conceivably end up with the Nationals this season if he thrives at every level. By that, he means there does exist some sequence of possible events such that Harper keeps on climbing the ladder. But just how much would he have to thrive? What kinds of numbers would he have to put up?
What OPS would an 18-year-old Bryce Harper have to post to go all the way from A-ball to the bigs in his first year as a professional?
Ken Griffey Jr. made the Majors as a 19-year-old after slugging .576 over just 129 games in the minors. Bryce Harper is already on the Nationals' 40-man roster. Would slugging .576 be enough? Would he need to do more? Could he still rise with less?
Seeing Harper rise all the way to the top this year probably isn't going to happen, but like Heyman said, it can't be completely ruled out. Sometimes a guy is just that good, and if Harper makes as quick a transition as some people think he could, who knows?