On Friday night, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and the Nationals were playing on three different baseball fields across two states, the two prospects' considerable talent still a ways from being brought to bear in the major leagues. Still, it only took a quick look at what the two prospects did on Friday to get another reminder of the sheer talent the Nationals could be putting on their roster in the next 12 months.
Strasburg made his second rehab start at Single-A Potomac on Friday night, and breezed through it even more comfortably than he did in his first appearance after Tommy John surgery last Sunday in Hagerstown. He needed 33 pitches to get through three innings, snapped off a few of his dive-bombing breaking balls and touched 99 mph on the radar gun at least once.
Check Byron Kerr's blog made his second rehab start for a full recap of Strasburg's night in Woodbridge, complete with highlights of the game and post-game press conference.
Harper, whose frustrations with his struggles at Double-A Harrisburg boiled over earlier this week when he spiked his helmet after a called third strike and got ejected in a loss to Richmond, gave a jaw-dropping preview of the power he'll be bringing to Nationals Park. Harper hit a walk-off homer over the batter's eye in center field, giving the Senators a 3-2 win over Trenton. The Senators' game highlights are pasted below - and you need to see the homer to believe it.
Take into account what the two players did - and that the Nationals got a rare victory in Philadelphia, with Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen shutting the Phillies down late - and it's pretty hard not to see why the Nationals are so excited about their future. If Strasburg and Harper stay healthy, they could add two transformational players to their roster in the coming months. The two could take the field together for the first time in the coming weeks if Strasburg makes a rehab start at Harrisburg - though it's possible the Nationals will keep him out of Harrisburg to avoid the publicity frenzy when he joins Harper - but they'll probably be together in the majors soon enough.
And Friday, though they were in separate places, they seized their chances to show just how much they could change the Nationals' fortunes when they get to Washington.