Harper came to a fork in the road when he was optioned to Triple-A to begin the year. He is attempting to prove to the Washington Nationals and the rest of the MLB that he is ready to play in the big leagues. Would he be deterred by the demotion, or would he use it as motivation?
It appears the move has motivated him, as it did not take long for Harper to make his presence felt for Syracuse.
Harper fell behind 0-2 in his first at bat. He took the next two pitches for balls to even the count. Harper fouled-off the following two pitches to stay alive, and on the seventh pitch of the at-bat connected for a hustle-double.
In his next at-bat, Harper took the first pitch to right field for a line-drive single. He finished the game 2-for-4.
With a great first game in Syracuse, it is apparent that Harper feels he is ready for big league competition.
The court of public opinion might get the best of General Manager Mike Rizzo and the rest of the hierarchy in Washington if he continues to produce at this rate. The Nationals might be forced to call him up before the super-two deadline. It would cost them a year of rights on Harper's contract, but would bring more fans to the ballpark.
It is up to Harper to continue to produce and put the pressure on the organization.
It is only the first game, but it's imperative for Harper to keep up his production if he wants to make it to the Nationals sooner rather than later.
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