Nationals Recall Harper, is it the Right Time?

Author’s Note, this article first appeared on mlbprospectpulse.com

Multiple sources are reporting the Washington Nationals have called up uber-prospect Bryce Harper, who will make his major league debut on Saturday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

CBS’ Jon Heyman (via Twitter) reports Harper is the roster move made necessary by Washington placing Ryan Zimmerman on the 15 day DL with a left shoulder strain. Washington General Manager Mike Rizzo (also via Twitter) paints a different picture, saying, “we thought we needed to bring in an impactful left-handed bat”, which could point to Harper hanging around for longer than fifteen days.

Is this the right move?

For me, it’s not, I don’t think Harper should have been in Triple A, but I’m not the one paying him nine million dollars either.

On paper, Rizzo may be onto something, as the Nationals have only one regular lefty hitter in their lineup, first baseman Adam LaRoche, who’s actually playing well, putting up a .324/2/14 split. Outfielders Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina have struggled, however, especially Bernadina; both players combined are hitting .213/1/5.

Harper himself has struggled in his first test of “real” baseball, hitting .250/1/3 with Syracuse in twenty games. His biggest struggles have come against lefthanded pitching (4-21/.190) and in night games, where he’s hitting just .175 through 43 plate appearances. He’s also had some problems defensively, making four errors already, mostly on throws.

It is what it is, although if there is a silver lining to Harper’s debut, unlike fellow top pick Stephen Strasburg, it will be on the road.

And speaking of Strasburg, he’s Washington’s starting pitcher on Saturday as well, as if there won’t be enough of a media circus.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of the move, but like everyone else, I won’t miss it either.

Chuck Johnson is the founder of mlbprospectpulse.com, you can follow on Twitter @prospect_pulse.

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