Bryce, Bryce, Baby

Sorry about that title.  I couldn’t resist.

It’s still early in the college season, so early that the major league season hasn’t even started.  However, the top of the draft may be starting to shape up, with 17 year old phenom Bryce Harper looking like the real deal at the College of Southern Nevada.  Harper capped off a double header today with a 7-for-8 line, and two homers, one in each game.  He is now hitting for a .408/.506/.803 line, and yes, that’s with a wooden bat.

Granted, there are still questions about Harper.  How would he do against a level higher than the JuCo level?  How will he fare in pressure situations, a title that doesn’t really fit with Scenic West Athletic Conference regular season match-ups?  One big question is starting to be answered, and that’s how Harper would fare at this level.  He is exceeding all expectations so far, with a homer every 11.83 at-bats, and a 1.409 OPS, again, with wooden bats.

Harper probably won’t be in the majors until 2014 at the earliest, and that’s assuming he even makes it to the majors.  On an optimistic path, the Pirates could have a team of Harper, Pedro Alvarez, and Andrew McCutchen together for at least two years, and maybe more if the Pirates sign McCutchen to an extension and buy out some free agent years.

All of this is optimistic, not in the way of assuming Harper makes it to the majors, but in assuming that Harper makes it past the Washington Nationals.  If the Nationals take Harper, which is very possible, then the Pirates still have some fallback options, although none as promising as Harper.  Outside of the pitchers, the best hitter after Harper is another Bryce: Bryce Brentz.  I’ve slowly been warming to Brentz, partly because he’s a hitting machine, but also because he seems to have found his power stroke, with a homer in his last two games.  With Christian Colon struggling, and currently below the Mendoza line, Brentz could be the top option available if the Pirates go the route of a college hitter.

Of course, my preference would be a pitcher, and with Anthony Ranaudo injured, that pitcher would be one of Drew Pomeranz or Deck McGuire, and maybe Jameson Taillon, depending on how he fares this season at the high school level, although I think the chances of the Pirates taking a high school arm are slim to none.  Regardless of the choice, it’s starting to look like our pre-season expectations are starting to take shape, and the ideal choice would be Bryce Harper, that is, if the Pirates are lucky enough to see him fall in to their laps.

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Prospect Watching: Kris Watts and Eric Fryer

Next Story »

Pirates Blast Twins: Crosby and Raynor Power Up

Latest Analysis

  • Adrian Sampson

    Don’t Forget About This Pitcher When Creating Your Pirates Dream Rotation

    7 hours ago

    If you’re setting up a dream rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the not-too-distant future, then you’re going to be throwing out names like Tyler Glasnow, Gerrit ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Jose Tabata Changed His Swing After Talking With Marlon Byrd

    1 day ago

    Yesterday, Jose Tabata put one on the roof of the batting cages over the left-field fence at Pirate City. Today, he added two more. By that pattern, ...

    Read More
  • Antonio Bastardo

    How Ray Searage is Trying to Fix Antonio Bastardo’s Control Issues

    1 day ago

    Tony Watson has established himself as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Out of 142 qualified relievers last year, he ranked 21st in WAR, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Q&A: Will PNC Park Burn Down When Neil Walker Eventually Leaves?

    1 day ago

    Last week we started a Q&A article that will run every Friday. Right after the first article went up, we got a lot more questions. Normally I’ll ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow

    The Change That Will Help Tyler Glasnow Reach His Upside

    2 days ago

    The 2011 draft made headlines for the Pittsburgh Pirates for two main reasons. They selected Gerrit Cole first overall, and gave him a record-setting bonus of $8 ...

    Read More
  • Jameson Taillon

    The Next Steps in Jameson Taillon’s Tommy John Rehab Process

    3 days ago

    Jameson Taillon threw a bullpen session yesterday, which I outlined in the daily recap. Taillon is still in “rehab mode” as Clint Hurdle put it, which means ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More

    Advertisement