(Bryce Harper, as seen on TV during the AFL Championship game. Screengrab via MLB Network.)
Hey, what about all the other Nationals' prospects?
MLB.com released its annual ranking of the Top 50 prospects Tuesday night on MLB Network; Good news: Bryce Harper ranked #3 on the list. Bad news: Bryce Harper is the only Nationals' prospect on the list.
At least there were two in 2010: Stephen Strasburg (#2) and Drew Storen (#40).
Now, do these rankings really mean anything? Probably not. We'll wait to really freak out when Baseball America's Top 100 comes out. But it's a bit deflating to watch the countdown tick down and see every team but the Nats represented (and in many cases, represented multiple times) until the very end. Not one stinkin' prospect on the list besides Harper? Jeez. Can we still blame Jim Bowden?
Oh well, at least we have Baseball Jesus 2.0. And the circus surrounding Harper this summer is certainly going to be Strasburgian. Here's Bryce Harper's manager-to-be at Hagerstown, Brian Daubach, via an interview in Wednesday's Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat. Daubach suggests that his own experience playing for the Red Sox against the Yankees in the playoffs in 1999 will help him help Harper handle the upcoming media crush:
"He's one of the most highly touted prospects out there since Ken Griffey Jr., probably. Each time we get to a new city, there will be a buzz. I've never experienced that, but I think I've been in (enough) media situations before. When you're on the Red Sox and you're playing the Yankees in the playoffs, it's not going to get more intense than that."
(Brian Daubach, via BND.com, 1/26/2011)
Oh, and while we're on the topic of Harper and Hagerstown, and the MLB.com Top 50, Pirates Blog RumBunter.com looks forward to a possible showdown between Harper and highly touted Pirates righthander Jameson Taillon (ranked #18 on MLB.com's Top 50), who is expected to start 2011 with the West Virginia Power. RumBunter points to an weekday April 25-29 series between Hagerstown and WV on the calendar as the likely date for the first potential showdown. Should be good. But unfortunately for Nationals fans, it's about a 6 hour drive from Washington to Charleston, West Virginia...