Bryce Harper, Not Your Typical Rookie

DC Sports Nexus ---- Friday, May 11, 2012

During Alex Rodriguez's first stint as a Major Leaguer in 2004, he batted 9th in the order and played shortstop in each of his 17 games that season.  During Bryce Harper's first 11 games he has played all 3 outfield positions as well as batted in 4 different spots in the lineup.

Typically a manager would want a rookie player to have some consistency in the game so the young player can adjust to the Major League level of play.  With Bryce Harper, Davy Johnson has thrown that belief out the window.

Johnson started Harper, a former catcher, in left field for his Major League debut against the Dodgers.  The next night Harper found himself in center field.  Now, with Jayson Werth out with a broken wrist, Harper is a right fielder.

On offense, Harper began his career batting in the 7th slot.  In the next series, with Zimmerman out Harper was batting in the 3rd position in only his 5th Major League game.  Hold on, did I really type that?

A 19 year old in the most important spot in the lineup.  Amazing confidence by the manager.  That just doesn't happen in baseball.  It happened once 8 years ago with BJ Upton, an experiment that lasted 1 game.  It also happened 16 years ago with Andruw Jones, that one for 2 games.  And before that...a guy named Ken Griffey Jr. did it, just a handful of times.

Then, when the typically 3rd hitting Ryan Zimmerman came back from the DL, Harper was moved up to the 2nd slot where it looked like he would stay for a bit.  But just 2 games later Johnson had Harper in the 5th position, his 4th different place in the order in 11 games.

Some of the movement has to do with injuries.  Other has to do with the Nationals struggling on offense.  But either way, Bryce Harper is not being treated like a typical rookie you want to develop.  He is being treated like a rookie who is already developed.

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