SAN FRANCISCO - In a development that surprised no one, Bryce Harper was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team on Tuesday morning. The 18-year-old, who's got 14 home runs at Single-A Hagerstown, will play for the Northern Division team on June 21 at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.
Hagerstown tied for the league lead with five all-stars - Harper, infielder Blake Kelso and catcher David Freitas will start, and pitchers Taylor Jordan and Chris Manno also made the squad. Suns manager Brian Daubach will manage the team, and Hagerstown pitching coach Chris Michalak will be on his staff.
The game is two weeks away, and it wouldn't surprise me if Harper - who is hitting .342 at Hagerstown - is promoted after that. Once he makes a move, though, it could likely be to Double-A Harrisburg, not Single-A Potomac, according to a club source. The Nationals are apprehensive about putting Harper on Pfitzner Stadium's field, which was in such poor shape earlier this season that Potomac had to play a home series at Single-A Frederick. And if Harper moved to Harrisburg after his All-Star appearance, he'd effectively be able to split his time this season between Single-A and Double-A.
Harper, of course, created a bit of a stir at Hagerstown on Monday night, when he homered off Greensboro pitcher Zach Neal in the fourth inning. After connecting off Neal, who'd struck him out looking in the first inning, Harper watched the shot, flipped his bat and took a long trip around the bases, blowing a kiss at Neal as he rounded third base and shouting at the pitcher as he crossed home plate. The interaction caused Greensboro manager Andy Haines to come out of the dugout.