Nationals Baseball: Bryce to the minors? I'm shocked. Shocked!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bryce to the minors? I'm shocked. Shocked!

Bryce Harper will start the season in the minors.  This made the most sense as explained by everyone everywhere. For a few weeks, the Nats will gain an extra year of control.  For a few months, an extra year of savings. I expect the former and not the latter but that will depend on Bryce.

Once again Mike Rizzo asserted his control of this team. Davey wanted Bryce up.  Of course he did.  Davey is going to coach a couple of years. Bryce up now gives him the best chance of winning during that time. Why should he care what happens 6 years down the road?  He'll be kicking up his feet in some advisory role by that time. But Rizzo cares.

I'm not a stickler on this.  In fact usually I say bring the guy up now.  Six years is a long time.  Who's to know what will happen between now and then, and whether you'll even care about his FA status by the time it rolls around. But we're not talking about the usual player. We're talking about someone universally hailed as a can't miss prospect who has only suffered some minor road bumps on his way to AAA, and he's not yet 20.  This is special.  Special players have different rules.


Anonymous said...

Exactly. So now the betting starts--when does Bryce come up? I can't see the Boswell-endorsed end of April. How 'bout that homestand against the Padres, Pirates, and W'O's? Wait, is that really 2 games against the Padres, 2 against the Pirates?!?


DezoPenguin said...

The weirdly good news about this is that we know Harper will be up before the end of the year, which means that Werth will play the majority of the year in CF, which means that even if his offense doesn't recover much from last year's numbers he won't be such a sucking chest wound in the lineup, positionally speaking (plus, adequate corner OF bats aren't as hard to find as CFs are, for when Morse moves to 1B next year). As for Harper starting in the minors, as we all said before, duh. ^_^

brendan said...

I'm interested to see how Harper players in center down in AAA. Hopefully he can handle it because as much as people say "Oh yeah, Werth can play center" ... he can't really.

blovy8 said...

This Harper in center stuff sounds like a spring training story. They tried that last year without good results. There's more responsibility there, more plays, and more chances to learn where to throw the ball, so it'll perhaps speed his development some. Maybe he'll be the only guy in August who can still run well, so they'll need him there, but it doesn't seem like a long term plan to me.

Brendan, I think Werth can handle center, if he doesn't get "beat up" by it to use Davey's words. He's started about 100 games there, and was a bit above average according to the metrics overall. His instincts out there looked a lot better than Bernadina's, for instance. Ankiel is better, but if they were smart they would be concerned about hitting - this lineup can't afford the luxury of Ankiel in center unless he hits for power like he did several years ago. I don't see those days coming back, and Bernadina is a below-average player suited to be a fifth OF who can steal bases and hit a homer once in a while off a right handed fastball. They don't seem to favor the idea of DeRosa in the outfield much unfortunately.

I wonder if DJ being disappointed in Desmond's new swing could spell a short leash and maybe the switch a lot of people were looking for, moving Espinosa back to short and playing Lombo and DeRosa more at 2nd, demoting Desmond to the bench. That would add some offense if Lombardozzi is the on-base guy the best-case scenerio of his projections indicates, and they'd improve the defense too.

Harper said...

Anon -
I say... September! Bryce gets off to a slow start, so does the team. This way I can only be pleasantly surprised.

DezoPenguin - we assume. you know they are saying CF for Bryce in AAA.

brendan - It'd be nice if he suddenly shows a flair for CF, but really I think whatever happens this year is just a stop gap. Next year Morse will be at first and Werth and Bryce will man the corner OF spots. That'd be my guess.

blovy8 - gotta do something. Bryce is still under 20 and has the athletic ability (maybe) so might as well give it another go. I agree I don't think it'll be the long term deal but no harm in trying.

Problem with Werth is that he's getting to the age where the legs go. He may be able to handle CF this year but what about next? And since Morse ain't great in LF and Bryce seems average (from what I can tell), they can't really afford a CF who isn't good.

I think Desmond gets a good healthy last look at SS. Like 2 months.

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