Outfielder Bryce Harper is currently at agent Scott Boras’ training facility in Irvine, Calif., attending the strength and conditioning program alongside other Boras clients. He arrived at the facility last week and is expected to remain there into early February.
Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said the team approved of the training.
“It is a great facility and it is a good opportunity for him,” Harris said. “We have guidelines that we give our players as far as their offseason conditioning programs. Our strength and conditioning coaches and trainers check in with Bryce periodically. As long as they stay within those boundaries, we are fine with it. Scott’s clients are always very well-prepared.”
Harris said Harper will be at major league spring training camp in February. As to where he goes from there? It will be up to manager Davey Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo.
Harris said Harper followed a similar pattern in each of his stops last season with Single-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg in his first full pro season, but Harris was most impressed with the progress the top prospect made in Arizona Fall League play in October and November.
“We saw him start a little slow in Hagerstown,” Harris said. “He made great adjustments. He started a little slow in Harrisburg, and he made very good adjustments there prior to the hamstring injury. He did the same thing in the fall league after recovering from a hamstring injury that shortened his time in Harrisburg.
“I think for me the adjustments he made in the fall league were the most significant he had throughout the course of the regular season. He made adjustments in his approach. He let the ball travel deeper. His balance was better. He utilized the field on a more consistent basis. You saw more consistent, professional at-bats.”
Harris believes Harper is also learning how to harness his power at the plate and aggressiveness in the field.
“I think both offensively and defensively, he is learning to take what a pitcher is going to give him,” Harris said. “I think he has a better feel for slowing the game down defensively and making good decisions.”