Blogging About Baseball

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Another obligatory post about baseball phenom Bryce Harper.

with 3 comments

Garnett worked out.Sometimes Sports Illustrated gets it right.

Kevin Garnett, featured on SI‘s cover as a high-schooler (right), went on to NBA stardom with the Minnesota Timberwolves and currently, the Boston Celtics. He’s a 12-time All-Star, one-time MVP, and one-time Defensive Player of the Year. He won a championship with Boston last year.

More recently, the famed sports magazine featured high-schooler Lebron James on the cover. Since choosing basketball over college, Lebron’s been, arguably, the NBA’s most popular and dominating player. In six short seasons, James has a Rookie of the Year award, five All-Star appearances, and a Most Valuable Player Award. He’s still just 25-years-old.

Sports Illustrated has always been liberal with the “phenom” tag, applying it to anyone from gymnasts to NHL prospects to multi-sport players. They’ve never been as liberal when applying it to baseball players.

Perhaps it’s because the publication, like pretty much everyone else on Earth, has had considerably less success predicting baseball’s prep prodigies.

In the history of the magazine, there’s been two featured.

In 1989, it was “Superkid” Jon Peters, a Texas high schooler with a 51-0 record at the time. He signed to play with Texas A&M, but tore his rotator cuff before the season. He never pitched played in an MLB game, retiring at the ripe age of 21.

Last week, SI featured Las Vegas baseball player Bryce Harper. He’s 16-years-old, bats lefty, and is currently playing as a catcher. He’s immediately become a legend in baseball circles.

Will Bryce Harper prove the SI jinx wrong?

Tales are circulating of Harper’s prodigious 550+ feet blasts at a high school home run derby at Tropicana Field. The fact that the homers were hit with an aluminum bat doesn’t matter; at an MLB tryout, Harper put on a clinic using wood. People are whispering about his ability to throw out runners from his knees, a Benito Santiago’esque ability. To add to the legend, it’s been said that Harper can throw 96 miles-per-hour.

He’s been compared to Ken Griffey Jr., Justin Upton and Alex Rodriguez, all of whom were freakishly advanced for their age as high school seniors. Harper is only a sophomore.

Harper isn’t eligible for the MLB draft until 2011. It’s already being said that he’ll be picked #1.

And all the focus of the baseball world is going to be on this young man for these next two years. Scouts will be at every game. Every move he makes will be scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. The pressure is going to be outstanding.

Will Bryce Harper become another Junior Griffey, or will he become another Brien Taylor or Todd Van Poppel? Only time will tell.

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3 Responses

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  1. And more obligatory links!
    Highlight vid-

    Media coverage-
    http://www.newsy.com/videos/prodigy_at_16_hype_or_home_run

    Nationals 2010 draft-
    http://www.nationalsenquirer.com/2009/06/nats-have-early-lead-in-bryce-harper-sweepstakes.html

    I really hope they don’t rush him too fast, though it does appear that he could use some better competition. Still, does anyone really believe the nats would blow two-years worth of payroll on two players? I don’t.

    Kj

    June 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm

  2. I was actually going to post that video but thought most would give up on watching it after the 30 seconds of advertising.
    He’s definitely an interesting prospect, but still, he’s not available to be drafted for another TWO years. Who knows if the Nat’s are going to want him when that time comes around…
    It would be nice to see him with some better competition. I’m sure he’ll be joining a wood-bat summer league soon enough. Then we’ll see what he’s made of.

    dylansharek

    June 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm

  3. Are you sure this is not just Sean Burroughs trying to make a comeback? Only time will tell!!

    DAN

    June 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm


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