Baseball BeatJune 03, 2009
Sports Illustrated Jumps on the Bryce Harper Bandwagon
By Rich Lederer

Bryce Harper is on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated and the subject of a featured article by Tom Verducci. The June 8 edition hits newsstands today.

The magazine calls Harper "The Most Exciting Prodigy Since LeBron."

His name is Bryce Harper. You don't know him, but every big league scouting director does. He hits the ball a desert mile, clocks 96 on the gun, and he's only 16, more advanced than A-Rod and Junior were at the same age. And his ambition is as great as his talent.

Readers of Baseball Analysts know "Baseball's Chosen One." We were one of the first to introduce him to the baseball world in an article last summer, entitled Remember This Name. We followed up that piece with Revisting Bryce Harper in January, including a photo and a YouTube video of his exploits at the third annual International Power Showcase High School Home Run Derby at St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field. Most recently, we detailed the stats from his sophomore season (.626/.723/1.339 with 14 HR in 115 AB and 36 SB in 39 attempts) in our High School, College, and Minor League Notes.

Owing to our past coverage, our site has been overwhelmed today by Google searches looking to learn more about Harper, causing occasional load issues.

In the meantime, the Las Vegas Review Journal wonders about Harper as it relates to the SI jinx, "which sometimes haunts athletes and teams that appear on the magazine's cover."

Hijinks (by the team lucky enough to draft and sign Harper in 2011 — or 2010 if he can get a "GED credential this summer and enroll in a junior college this fall" as Verducci mentions in his excellent article), yes. Jinx, no.

Remember this name.


Kind of cocky, but in a good way. Hopefully won't screw himself up and be the next Toe Nash, rather the dad of A-Rod, Bonds, Ruth, Ryan, Rose, and Pudge.

And comparing the amount of games he played to say a typical kid who plays LL, it is not even close.

Harper should probably read up on Robert Stock of USC -- the latest can't miss high school catcher.

Thanks for the link to the SI article. I like a kid who's confident. Though I'm no sure how someone like Josh Beckett will feel when he lays his bat down and grabs some dirt before stepping into the box.
I'm sure he'll get some nice 96mph chin music for his pre-ab ritual.

Robert Stock may have "missed" as a catcher, but he's going to be drafted sometime in the top five rounds next week as a 19-year-old RHP with three good pitches. His future ain't so bleak.

Nice call on this kid. It's one of my favorite feelings to make a call on an unknown player only to see the bandwagon catch on nine months later. Well done!