Earlier today, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Major League Baseball has temporarily prohibited all scouting activity, both domestic and international. That means no tryouts, no amateur games, no showcases, no workouts, no in-home or in-person visits, and no remote scouting.
Along with the many other changes MLB has made amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, temporarily halting all scouting activity is the right call. Not doing so would incentivize teams to put their scouts and other employees, as well as the people they would interact with, at risk unnecessarily. This directive makes it so no team can get a leg up on the others.
As we mentioned yesterday, there is the possibility that the 2020 amateur draft is cancelled, though some have called the idea “farfetched.” The suspension of scouting activity means, at the very least, that teams will have less information to go off of if and when the draft happens.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.