What if the Nationals hadn’t signed Harper?

17 08 2010

Alright, pretend that Harper decided he wanted to go back to college and that he didn’t want to sign yet because negotiations were going too slow for his liking. The 2010 Golden Spikes award winner would be just 18 and entering his sophmore year at Southern Nevada. His amazing performace this year made him the first overall pick this year, but could he be the #1 pick AGAIN? Let’s take a look.

Next years draft figures to be the deepest one in many years. Anthony Rendon of Rice University Projects to be a top 3, if not the first overall pick. Rendon is a 3B. He batted .394 in 2010, with 26 HRs and 85 RBI in 61 games in the C-USA conference. Lets project a .390/26/85 line for him this year. In comparison, Harper hit .443 with  31 HRs and 98 RBI at College of Southern Nevada of the Scenic West Athletic Conference. We’ll Project at .445/30/100 line for him at the moment.

Let’s compare the players. Harper is considered more of a project, but he has tremendous potential.  His swing is described as having “serious physical ability” and his power with the bat is known by MLB.com as having “as much power, both now and future, that many have ever seen in a Draft prospect.” Also, having played in a wood bat league, this takes away the issue of whether or not his swing will translate to a wood bat from a metal one.  He is thought to take only 3 years to fully develop in the minors so that’ll mean he’ll probably make his debut in 2013-14, when he is 20-21. Rendon, meanwhile,  is considered to have a very good swing, and very good power. His defense should keep him at 3B for the long-term. He has a strong arm, and more than the agility needed to just stay mediocre at third. His concern is that his swing is a little long, but he should be able to correct that.

Now, what does this mean? Harper doesn’t sign at the midnight deadline in 2010, giving the Nationals the 2nd overall pick in 2011. That means they’ll get a shot at either Rendon or Harper again, if the Baltimore Orioles, who at the moment have the worst record in baseball, pass on Harper and pick Rendon. That’ll leave the Nationals to try to resign Harper, or pick either Matt Purke or Daniel Norris, two great lefty pitchers. Harper may not be able to command the 9.9 million with a 6.5 million bonus he was given this year, but that’s a moot point. Let’s just say they pick Harper and sign him for 7 million and a 5 million bonus.

Now they get Harper a year later, at a somewhat discounted contract. Would that be the worst thing? I’m not saying that signing him this year and not letting him go was a bad idea. In fact, it was probably smart so they can add him to their collection of good prospects. But it wouldn’t be THAT bad if they got the 2nd overall pick in 2011 and had a shot at him again or Rendon at a somewhat less price.  Harper is an elite talent and  he was eager to play pro ball. If he didn’t sign, it wouldn’t have been as bad as people might think.

This was written by Teix4MVP

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