Bryce Harper was the #1 overall selection by the Washington Nationals in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and is one of the most hyped prospects in recent memory. Hell, just last week, Baseball America's Jim Callis said, "I still think Harper is the best power prospect in draft history".
And Harper sure is living up to the hype so far. At just 18, he's dominating A-ball for the Hagerstown Suns, with a .342 batting average, 14 home runs, 42 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and a 1.058 OPS in 56 games.
However, there's always been questions about Harper's makeup (and that has two meanings when you include the picture above). Check out this excerpt from a 2010 article by Baseball Prospectus' terrific baseball writer, Kevin Goldstein:
Ah, blowing a kiss at a pitcher in professional baseball after you hit a home run off of them. Classy.
It's impossible to find any talent evaluator who isn't blown away by Harper's ability on the field, but it's equally difficult to find one who doesn't genuinely dislike the kid. One scout called him among the worst amateur players he's ever seen from a makeup standpoint, with top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents. "He's just a bad, bad guy," said one front-office official. "He's basically the anti-Joe Mauer." How this plays into the negotiation or future evaluation is yet to be determined, as history has shown us that the bigger talent a player is, the more makeup issues teams will deal with. Bench players can't afford to be problems, but plenty of teams happily put up with difficult superstars.Sure sounds like that scout's seen something like this before:
You may be able to get away with that crap right now in A-ball, Harper, but I dare you to try pulling that off in the bigs.
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