Rizzo: Harper will continue to play all outfield positions

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo spoke about the future of top outfield prospect Bryce Harper, who will begin play in the Arizona Fall League on Oct. 4.

Rizzo said they will play Harper at every outfield position so he continues to gain experience at the position. Harper was primarily a catcher in high school and at the College of Southern Nevada. He played right field in SIngle-A Hagerstown and right field at Double-A Harrisburg.

“I still want him moving to several of the outfield positions because it gives us flexibility,” Rizzo said. “I think he is too young to be key holed into any one spot. There is a possibility he could play any of three. He has the ability to play at any of the three outfield positions.”

Rizzo said the Arizona Fall League will be a good extension to the season for Harper, but will not make or break his possible invite to major league spring training in February.

“It is an opportunity for him to get 150 at-bats that they would not have otherwise,” Rizzo said. “It is an accelerated league. It will really hone his skills and be another step in his progression.”

Overall, Rizzo said that Harper’s first season in the program has been a success and he has advanced in many facets of his game.

“He has been terrific,” Rizzo said. “His progression learning a new position in the outfield and really polishing his offensive skills. He has come a long way, defensively, base running and the small nuances of the game. He has progressed in the one thing he has always been able to do and that is hit and hit with power.”

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