8.17.10

MLB: Nationals Sign Top Pick Harper

words_Brandon Richard

Well, nobody said it would be easy. However, after a lot of posturing, Bryce Harper, agent Scott Boras and the Washington Nationals finally came to terms on a contract. The deal is said to have been mutually agreed upon just minutes before Monday’s midnight trade deadline. If this story seems familiar, it’s because the Nationals went through the same process with Boras and top pick Stephen Strasburg last year.

Harper’s deal is said to be a five-year contract worth $9.9 million dollars guaranteed, the largest ever for a drafted position player. He gets a $6.25 million signing bonus in five equal payments of $1.25 million 30 days after approval and each July 1 from 2011 through 2014. He’ll also receive salaries of $500,000 each in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015. Bonuses of $500,000 can be earned on the active Major League roster in each of the final two seasons. The Nationals also agreed to cover Harper’s remaining education costs.

At just 17 years of age, Harper becomes the first Junior College player to be taken with the number one overall pick. He hit .443 with 31 homers and 98 RBIs in his first season at the College of Southern Nevada. What’s unique about those numbers is that he played in a league that uses wooden bats, opposed to the aluminum bats that may inflate numbers. He skipped his final two years of high school and got his General Equivalency Diploma, making him eligible for the 2010 amateur draft.

It’s unknown at the moment exactly how Harper will fit in with the Nationals organization. On draft day, he was announced by the Nationals as an outfielder. However, there are some people within the organization that would like to see him catch. If that were to be the case, it would presumably delay his advancement. Either way, the Nationals and their fans have to be excited to have landed the big prize in the amateur baseball pool for the second straight year.

images via Yahoo

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