Bryce Harper’s third game in the Arizona Fall League was his poorest offensive showing so far; he went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. But Harper showed off a different facet of his game on Wednesday: his pistol of a right arm that has produced 96-mph fastballs and taken the 18-year-old through most of his adolescence as a catcher before the Nationals moved him to right field.
In the second inning yesterday, Mesa Solar Sox outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis tried to score from third on a fly ball to Harper. But Harper threw a strike home, gunning down the Mets prospect at home plate.
Harper’s strong arm is one of the reasons the Nationals feel he can make a smooth transition to the outfield, and if he can throw runners out on a semi-regular basis, he’ll give them a major defensive weapon in the future.
Catcher Derek Norris, already known as the most patient hitter in the Nationals’ organization, walked three times in four plate appearances on Wednesday, scoring a run and going 0-for-1 at the plate. He has a .273 average and a .419 on-base percentage in the Arizona Fall League.
Reliever Cole Kimball also pitched an inning, striking out a batter and hitting one batter in the ninth inning.