“We feel that he’s had plenty of time at the Single-A level. ... He’s dominated it pretty well,” Rizzo said on “The Extended Pregame Show” on 106.7 The Fan.
Rizzo said Harper will report to Harrisburg tonight, and will be available for tonight’s 7 p.m. game against Erie.
The 18-year-old Harper hit .318 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs in 72 games with the Suns, his first professional assignment after being taken first in last June’s First-Year Player Draft. He was selected to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team, playing in the league’s All-Star Game in Salisbury, Md., two weeks ago.
At the All-Star Game, Harper sidestepped a question about whether he thought he’d earned a promotion from low Single-A Hagerstown.
“I’ll let the higher powers figure that one out. .Ã¢â‚¬â€°.Ã¢â‚¬â€°. I’ll do whatever they want me to - Potomac, Double-A, Triple-A, big leagues, whatever they want me to do,” he said.
But the Nationals chose to bypass advanced Single-A Potomac, perhaps an indication that they are worried that subpar field conditions at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va., would endanger their future star. Instead, Harper will be playing at Metro Bank Park, located on City Island in the middle of the Susquehanna River.
It’s also possible the parent club believed that Double-A would be a better challenge for Harper than Potomac, though the Carolina League traditionally boasts some of the best pitching in SIngle-A. Double-A pitchers, by contrast, are much more polished and some have even had a cup of coffee in the majors.