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Sean's one sentence analysis: Bryce's big brother saw his college numbers go down in 2011 against SEC competition, but has solid stuff for a LHP and room to hone his talents.
Thoughts from the community:
"Drafted three times (WAS in '08, CHC in '10), the elder Harper brother finally signed at the deadline and put in two scoreless appearances for the G-Nats in '11. Features a FB/CV/CU arsenal (low-90s FB) but has struggled with his control at all three collegiate stops (Cal State Northridge, College of Southern Nevada and University of South Carolina) with a combined BB/9 of 5.26 over 118IP innings, pro and college combined." - Luke Erickson, Nationals Prospects (@nats_prospects)
"One reason Bryce Harper decided to graduate early and attend CC of Southern Nevada was to play along side his older brother, sophomore Bryan Harper. Bryan's prospect status was not in the same realm as Bryce's, but he did offer intriguing size and a couple of average pitches from the left side. Ultimately, he decided to fulfill his commitment to South Carolina rather than signing in 2010 as a 27th round pick by the Chicago Cubs. He was used as a middle reliever for the Gamecocks, and struggled mightily with his control. His presence on the mound seemed suited for relief work, and that will likely be where he's kept in pro ball. Controlling his stuff will be the key to becoming more than org guy." - Jeff Reese, Bullpen Banter (@ioffridus)
"Long been known in baseball circles as Bryce’s big brother, Bryan has talent in his own right, pitching two successful seasons at the CC of Southern Nevada as a teammate with Bryce. Rather than entering professional baseball as expected in 2010 like his brother, Bryan attended the University of South Carolina in 2011, with rather underwhelming results, allowing him to slip to the 30th round. However, prior to South Carolina, Bryan showed an 88-91mph fastball with some movement and a fringy breaking pitch, making his ceiling a potential LOOGY or middle reliever." - Ryan Sullivan, NatsGM (@natsgmdotcom)
Previous analysis and notes:
Harper had an up and down 2011 season, with a 5.40 ERA to date in 18 and 1/3 innings. His 18 K looks good, but the 17 walks are a little disheartening. That being said, he only walked 29 in 65 and 1/3 innings in JuCo last year, so this year's control issues are likely an outlier due to a small sample size. Harper was excellent in limiting opposing hitters to singles, however, only allowing one double on the season and no triples or homers. Harper was drafted in the 27th round last year by the Cubs, but did not sign due to his commitment to South Carolina. It will be interesting to see if Harper turns down the Nationals, but if he signs, they will have quite a coup with an intriguing lefty arm in the 30th round.
From Nats.com: The Nationals' selected Bryce Harper's older brother for the second time after taking him in the 31st round of the '08 Draft. He pitched 18 1/3 innings and allowed 11 runs in his only season at South Carolina."
From MLB.com, 3/25/2010: "Harper comfortably throws in the 89-91 mph range and will occasionally touch 92 mph. He's got average movement on his fastball. Curve: It's a wide, hard, three-quarters, sweeping breaking ball, thrown 76-78 mph...particularly tough on left-handed hitters. Changeup: He has a very good feel for his changeup. Control: His walk rate hasn't been great, but his overall command is not bad. Poise: He's very competitive on the mound and seems to be able to pitch through it when he doesn't have his best stuff. Strengths: Good competitiveness on the mound, improving fastball, with maybe more in the tank. Good overall feel for pitching. Weaknesses: He doesn't always pitch like he's 6-foot-5, with a little drop and drive in his delivery. While it's not bad, he could use some refinement to his command. Tall, lanky lefties who can touch 92 mph aren't all that common, and Harper also has a pretty good feel for his breaking ball and changeup. He'll need to cut down on his walk rate a bit, but there's also room for growth in his frame and has some upside as he continues to learn how to pitch."
Harper signed with the Nats on August 1. Follow @bharp45 on Twitter!