Bryce Harper made his unofficial pro debut in the Arizona Fall League last year and the former No. 1 overall pick will be back in the AFL again this year.
Better yet he’ll be on the same Scottsdale team as Angels stud prospect Mike Trout, meaning the top two prospects in baseball will be patrolling the same outfield.
Because of his age and inexperience Harper was limited to being on the “tax squad” last time, which meant he could only play twice per week. He’ll have no restrictions this AFL season, although at age 19 he may still be the youngest player in Arizona. Trout is 20.
Harper has been sidelined recently at Double-A with a hamstring injury and struggled before being shut down, hitting .256 with three homers and a .724 OPS in 37 games after destroying Single-A to earn a midseason promotion. Trout hit .326 with a .958 OPS in 91 games at Double-A and is now with the Angels.
Here’s a rumor from yesterday afternoon that sort of fell through the cracks, but it’s fun enough to think about for a few moments: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers and Reds have had “multiple” trade discussions involving Yasiel Puig.
Puig is a potential trade candidate, either (a) because he’s “disgruntled,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times last week; or (b) because the Dodgers want to clear salary and roster spots in order to sign a big-name player, according to Rosenthal here. Many people suspect that the Dodgers are going to make a run at Bryce Harper, for example, and if that’s the case they’d no doubt want to open up right field for him.
It seems questionable that any Reds-Dodgers talks would get a ton of traction, especially given that Rosenthal reports that there’s a possibility of the Dodgers taking on Reds pitcher Homer Bailey and the $28 million he’s still owed in order to get some talent back from the Reds in a trade. That would seem to defeat the purpose of unloading Puig’s salary, but this is the sort of things we all talk about now given that the league has, more or less, a defacto salary cap imposed by the Competitive Balance Tax.