You'd smile too if you were about to make $10 million.
For all you Washington D.C. parents set on naming your baby boy Stephen, you may want to buck the trend and go with Bryce. The 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft will begin tonight at 7 (ET) where the Washington Nationals will select 17-year-old slugger Bryce Harper with the first overall pick. The easiest way to describe Harper: he's the hitter's version of Stephen Strasburg.
Dubbed baseball's "Chosen One" by Sports Illustrated a year ago, this 6'3'' 205-pound catcher is viewed by scouts as one of the best prospects to come along in the last 10-15 years. “We’ve never seen a high school position player get a $10 million bonus in the draft. I do think he [Bryce] would be the first candidate to break that barrier," said Keith Law of Scouts Inc. And it's not because he wears eye black like the Ultimate Warrior, although that's enough reason to love the kid, it's because he hits home runs so far that even Mickey Mantle would be left scratching his head.
As a freshman at Las Vegas High School in 2008, Harper hit a homer that his coaches measured at 570 feet. Then, during last year's International High School Power Showcase Home Run Derby at Tropicana Field (home of the Rays), B-Harp launched a 502-foot home run as a 16-year-old, the longest ever recorded at the stadium. Seemingly ready for the pros, he skipped his last two years of high school and the chance to slow dance to Justin Bieber's "Baby" at the Junior Prom, and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada (junior college) where he batted .443 with 31 HR and 98 RBI in just 66 games.
Like Joe Mauer, Harper bats lefty, but unlike the Twins catcher, Harper comes with versatility. He can play third base as well as right field, and as a pitcher he's been clocked throwing at 96 mph. If your fantasy baseball league allows you to draft minors, Harper is worth stashing for a year or so.
With Strasburg's rookie card fetching $16,403 on eBay less than two weeks ago, now would be a good time to invest in Harper memorabilia. For $399 you can purchase a signed catcher's mask by Harper and for the bargain price of $249.99 you can land yourself home plate signed by the future Nats slugger.
If you haven't already grabbed a spot on the Nationals bandwagon, we recommend finding a seat ASAP. Just 24 hours after Washington selects Harper, Stephen Strasburg will make his major league debut versus the Pirates at 7 (ET). Oh, and winning the John Wall sweepstakes ain't too bad either. It may have been a rough winter, but this summer appears to be a great time to be a D.C. sports fan.