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Is Today Harpakkah?

August 17, 2010

There are indeed eight days of Harpakkah.

Strasmas comes once every five days or so, and much celebrating occurs. Or at least did in the beginning. He’s still the most exciting pitcher in the majors to watch (sorry, TImmy). So is today, the day after the Nationals agreed to terms with “outfielder” Bryce Harper, Harpakkah?

As Keith Law notes regarding the contract signing, the strange settlement gives both the Nats and Scott Boras bragging rights:

“…the funny structure of the deal: $9.9 million spread out over five years plus $100,000 in salary,allowing the Nats to say it was under $10 million and Harper and Scott Boras to say it reached that milestone.”

No, it’s not Harpakkah. Harper has a ways to go before he reaches the big leagues, as far as refining his game. Jim Callis, one of the few people in the blogosphere who knows whereof he speaks, was asked about choosing between Harper and 2011 probable first overall pick third baseman Anthony Rendon from Rice:

“I always say Rendon. Harper has more power, but Rendon has a better bat, better makeup, will play a more valuable position and get to the majors significantly quicker. And he’ll have power, too.”

This isn’t a knock against Harper’s ability. Everybody knows the bat’s for real; he put up preposterous, school record-setting marks in his JuCo as a 17-year-old who transitioned from aluminum to wood. He became only the second JuCo player to get the Golden Spikes Award. And he routinely hit mind-boggling home runs. But maybe the question is if this poor attitude thing is for real, will he get any comeuppance in the minors? Unlike Strasburg, Harper won’t enter the Arizona Fall League this year with people’s assurance that he could hold his own in the bigs. So if he’s toiling down in A-ball next year, how many brushback pitches will he get over the season?

A couple of points about Bryce Harper:

1. The big thing around the chatter this spring was how terrible a kid he is. A couple of ejections for unsportsmanlike behavior this past spring made their way into the public view. (This interview with Jonathan Mayo for has some goods on it.) Well, jeezum crow, what the crap did people think was going to happen when he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old; has been coveted by people in baseball since he was NINE YEARS OLD; hasn’t been allowed to grow as a person; and is seventeen damn years old. Even old man LeBron James, at the ripe old age of 25 is still a child, referring to himself in the third person, keeping a list of people who’ve wronged him, and playing imaginary basketball as he walks down the street. Because athletes who have been driven to a singular goal – like Ben Roethlisberger – since they were ten aren’t allowed to develop in the way normal people to do. With, uh, actual relationships and conversations. Actually, come to think of it, LeBron’s actions sound a lot like Richard Nixon’s. As evidenced by “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore,” his secret list of enemies, and his phantom basketball shooting during meetings with Kissinger.

2. How interesting that his future teammate Stephen Strasburg called him out during a post-game press conference? You know, considering that a) they share an agent, and b) Strasburg – more than anyone – should know that it’s Boras doing the holding out…right? Regardless of Harper’s “Facebook” stuff last month, everyone knew that Harper would eventually sign, that it was all just a bunch of posturing. And should Strasburg, with the same agent, be calling out a fellow client? Makes me wonder if Strasburg knew something we didn’t about his own dealings with the Nationals. Considering it came during a post-game conf with the press, I’m assuming it wasn’t scripted by Boras as a ploy, but they both must have figured that the press was going to ask him about it that day.

3. When does it stop being eyeblack and start being offensive blackface? I mean, cripes.

4. Not about Bryce Harper, but a thought I had. It’s very possible that Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen will combine for a tremendous amount of games saved for single winning pitcher; the record’s been set by Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, and it’s silly to think anyone will approach their mark (around 70 and counting), but if the Nationals are competitive over the next decade – with Zimmerman, Strasburg, Harper, and Storen, it’s utterly possible – the players’ ages are right for coming in second in that strange little category.


From → College, Prospects

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