Callis: Harper “best power prospect I have ever seen”

Nationals selection of Bryce Harper as the top pick in the amateur draft could be one for the ages. In Bryce’s only season at the junior college level, he set almost every major school record at the College of Southern Nevada, batting .443, including 31 homers and 98 RBI. The Coyotes hit 17 homers AS A TEAM in 2009.

How good will Bryce Harper be and when could he make his major league debut with the Nationals? Jim Callis, Executive Editor at Baseball America had some strong words to describe the talented catcher/outfielder.

As a amateur and a prospect, is Bryce the best you have ever seen?

“I think in terms of power. I don’t think he is going to be a guy hitting .220. I don’t think he will be an Albert Pujols and hit .330 with a bunch of home runs.

I think he has got the best power that I can ever remember. I have been at Baseball America since 1989 and don’t remember a guy with that kind of power. Maybe Bo Jackson, who would be the best ‘comp’ in all that time. He is a big guy with long levers. The swing is long at times. I think you have a 40 home run hitter.”

So can Bryce make a quick ascension to D.C. like Stephen Strasburg or Drew Storen?

“This guy is not nearly ready for the big leagues as Stephen Strasburg was. We will see how he does against the Pirates tonight. Strasburg might have been able to step off the college mound and held his own right now.

Bryce, by contrast, has played junior college competition. Harper has not seen anything close to professional quality pitching on a consistent basis. He has played a lot but he has not been on teams that play seven days a week, five months out of the year. He is going to need some time.

I think the earliest you could see him in the big leagues, and this is pushing it, is maybe two years from now. I don’t think it will come as a great shock that he will sign at the deadline (in mid-August) and begin his pro career next year, and that might be optimistic. You might be looking at mid-2013 or 2014 to get to the big leagues. And even if he does that, he is still in the big leagues at the age of 21.

He will not be nearly be the instant gratification than Strasburg is going to be. He is very talented but he is still so young and he is going to face much better competition than he has ever seen.

I don’t think he has faced too many pitchers who are going to wind up going on to reach Double-A at this point. He is obviously going to see a lot of them once he reaches pro ball.”

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