In his last two games, there have been glimpses that Bryce Harper is on the verge of turning things around in the Arizona Fall League, as the 19-year-old collected his first two extra-base hits of the fall season. But Harper's results with the Scottsdale Scorpions so far have been meager, though his history of starting slow at a new level of play should be taken into account.
Harper is 4-for-31 in eight games with the Scorpions, having tripled on Friday and doubled last night. He hasn't homered yet, though, and has only walked twice.
At 19, Harper is still the youngest player in the league, even as he returns to Arizona after spending last fall on the Scorpions' taxi squad. He'd also missed the last month of Double-A Harrisburg's season after straining his hamstring on Aug. 18. Harper still has a month to get playing time, though, before he gears up for his second spring with the Nationals.
It seems likely the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft will start next year at Harrisburg again, getting more playing time with the Senators after hitting .256 in 37 games there. His progress in the AFL, though, could supplant some of the time he missed at Harrisburg, and with a strong finish, he could get the Nationals thinking about a different plan for him next spring.
He's got a well-earned reputation of breaking out after taking some time to adjust to the competition each time he advances, and the Nationals will be hoping he does that again.