At the ripe old age of 18, Washington Nationals superstar prospect Bryce Harper has been promoted from Low A Hagerstown to Double A Harrisburg. In 300 plate appearances at Hagerstown, Harper demolished 14 home runs, got on base 42% of the time and accumulated a .433 wOBA.
To put this into perspective, Blue Jays pitching prospect Zach Stewart is 24 years old and was just demoted to Double A New Hampshire who play in the Eastern League, the same league that 18 year old Harper now resides. Travis Snider, who it could be argued was moved quickly through Toronto’s system, was still playing rookie ball at 18 years of age, and still played another full year of pro ball after that before getting called up to the Double A level.
Of note is the fact that Harper was promoted straight to Double A, bypassing the Potomac Nationals, Washington’s affiliate in High A. According to Mark Zuckerman,there’s a reason for the snub.
Nationals officials have not been happy about the field conditions at Potomac’s Pfitzner Stadium, which has significant drainage issues and has experienced 10 postponements already this season.
Prospects of Harper’s ilk routinely make stops at every level as a means of driving ticket sales for each affiliate in an organization. Missing out on Harper would cost the Single A Nationals a large chunk of revenue, perhaps enough to fix whatever drainage issues that’s currently plaguing them.