Getting to know hype machine Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper cover small.jpgWant to get better acquainted with 17-year-old catcher Bryce Harper before he’s (almost certainly) drafted No. 1 overall by the Nationals this June?  Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post wrote a great piece about him this afternoon, collecting opinions about the prodigy’s attitude and personality from several different sources.  It’s worth reading the entire article, but here are some quick Harper facts:

  • He can throw a 96 MPH fastball.
  • He’s capable of playing a variety of positions, but really wants to catch as a professional.
  • His father helped build the Las Vegas Strip, laying rebar for 27 years.
  • Harper led the National Junior College Athletic Association with 23 homers, 68 RBI, a .917 slugging percentage and 71 runs this year.
  • The next-highest player in the conference had 11 home runs.
  • Harper scored a 4.0 GPA in the fall at the College of Southern Nevada.
  • There are only 22 days until the draft.

Harper undoubtedly has a swagger about him.  He wipes his face with eye black before every game and has a whole routine as he steps into the batter’s box that seems a little LeBron James-like.  But he is most definitely a competitor and an incredible talent with a better-than-expected background.

Hyun-Jin Ryu likely to accept the Dodgers’ qualifying offer

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that, while there is no official word yet, Hyun-Jin Ryu will “most likely” accept the Dodgers’ one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer.

Ryu posted a 1.97 ERA in to 82.1 regular-season innings, with his season shortened due to recovery from injury. He was pretty darn good in the postseason too, though his ERA was inflated somewhat thanks to Ryan Madson allowing his inherited runners to score like it was his job or something. Either way: given his durability issues over the past few seasons, it’s not at all clear that there was a massive multi-year deal in the offing for the soon-to-be-32-year-old pitcher, so accepting the qualifying offer is probably a pretty good move for him.

All players who received a qualifying offer have until 5PM today to make a decision on them. Others, besides Ryu, who got them: Yasmani Grandal, Patrick Corbin, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, and A.J. Pollock.