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Washington Nationals Promote Prospect Bryce Harper

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Mar. 3, 2012; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper against the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Mar. 3, 2012; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper against the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

The Washington Nationals placed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list and have promoted super-prospect Bryce Harper from Triple-A Syracuse. Harper is expected to start in left field Saturday.

Harper was hitting .250/.333/.375 in 20 games for the Syracuse Chiefs, with nine walks and 14 strikeouts in 72 at-bats. He's hit just one home run, but while his statistics aren't spectacular at this stage, he's only 19 years old and is facing significantly older competition. He still has to be considered the top prospect in baseball, featuring enormous raw power, solid overall hitting skills, good feel for the strike zone, and a very strong throwing arm. He's been heating up lately and is 5-for-13 in his last five games with the home run, three walks, and just one strikeout.

So, what should we expect at this point? It would surprise no one if Harper initially struggles given his lack of high-level experience. On the other hand, he has a habit of impressing people at the right time and it also wouldn't surprise me if he gets off to a great start. The Nationals say that Harper might end up back in the minors once Zimmerman is healthy, which is exactly what you would expect them to say given the circumstances. It gives them an out if he has adjustment issues.