April 28, 2012 - Baseball History Being Made as Bryce Harper Makes His Debut

In a surprise move, the Nationals called up Bryce Harper to replace Ryan Zimmerman, who was placed on the disabled list with an ailing shoulder.

Bryce Harper will make his Major League debut tonight. 

For fans of baseball, awaiting the day that statement would become reality has seemed like forever.  We've all seen the video clips and heard the stories.  Bryce Harper has been a baseball legend since his teenage years and fans have been salivating over this "kid" since he was a fifteen year-old playing amongst some of the best high schoolers. 

A quick recap of how we got here... Harper earned his GED after his sophomore year in high school so that he could be eligible for the draft a year early.  He enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada as a 17 year-old kid and proceeded to hit 31 home runs in 66 games using a wood bat.  His triple-slash line of .443/.526/.987 that year was enough to earn him 2012 SWAC honors.  After being drafted first overall by the Nationals in 2010, he spent his first full season split between A and AA hitting .297 with 17 HR in 387 AB (he also stole 26 bases).  He started this season in AAA and was hitting .250 with six extra-base hits in 20 games.  The promotion was a bit surprising considering the Nationals spot in the standings and Harper's average start but by all accounts, Harper seems to be the type that thrives when he is challenged and so the Bryce Harper era officially begins in Washington tonight.

I'm barely going out on a limb by saying that I believe this is the most highly anticipated debut in baseball history.  I hope that he does well; his success is important for baseball.  I think that it's interesting he debuts on the same night that Mike Trout was called up by the Angels to replace Bobby Abreu (who was released today).  Those two will undoubtedly be linked forever.  Trout, a year older than Harper, made his Major League debut late last season and gave the fans a glimpse of his potential - hitting 5 home runs and stealing 9 bases over 40 games.  Those numbers don't tell the complete story; Trout did struggle but his minor league numbers suggest that he has all of the tools to be a perennial all-star.

Trout's debut line: 0-3.

In celebration of "Bryce Harper Day," I'll be taking a look at some of the most highly anticipated debuts in Major League History.  Check back in later for the complete list.


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