Lost in Bryce Harper’s latest foray into villainy is that the Nationals drafted his older brother yesterday, using their 30th-round pick on South Carolina left-hander Bryan Harper (not to be confused with the Brian Harper who spelled his name without a Y and was a really good player).
This is actually the second time the Nationals have drafted Bryan Harper. They also picked him in the 31st round out of high school in 2008, but didn’t sign him. He went on to play with younger brother Bryce at College of Southern Nevada and then transferred to South Carolina this year.
Bryce naturally thinks Bryan is really good:
He’s one of the most dominating left-handed pitchers I’ve seen in my life. My brother’s pretty good and I wouldn’t say it if he wasn’t.
Perhaps, but Bryan Harper has a 5.40 ERA and 18/17 K/BB ratio as a reliever this season. For now at least Bryce should probably stick to hitting rather than scouting.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post speculates that the Nationals might send Bryan Harper to Single-A to play with Bryce. If they can sign him, of course. The 6-foot-5 southpaw still has one more season of eligibility left and could opt to return to school.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.