HARPER, SCORPIONS OFF TO SLOW AFL START

Much of the intrigue of the six-team Arizona Fall League lies in the fact that premium prospects are down there trying to get better. And they’re all doing it against each other. The results can look pretty crazy at times and there are a lot of football scores with multiple pitchers seeing action a la’ Spring Training.

This year, there is a lot of attention on the Scottsdale Scorpions, a combined group of minor leaguers from the Angels, Giants, Nationals, Phillies and Red Sox. From those sources comes a team that has highly-rated stars Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Gary Brown and Will Middlebrooks. The Scorpions are off to a 3-8 start so far, which places them six games out of the East and probably doesn’t matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

But many eyes are on 2010 top overall draft pick Bryce Harper as he returns from an August injury that ended his AA season. In eight games in the desert so far, Harper has gone 4-31 with a double, a triple and 3 RBI. It is hard to imagine this hitting machine with an OPS of .408, but that’s where it stands at the moment.

Harper played 109 games between low-A and AA this year and went .297/.392/.501. On August 18, he injured a hamstring while running the bases and had to be carried off the field. In the waning days of the minor league season, Harper’s year was over.

This is his first game action since the injury and, hey, it’s 31 ABs. It’s far from panic-time for Harper or the Nationals. Just another interesting storyline from off the MLB post-season radar.

MLB.com’s Arizona Fall League page
Scottsdale Scorpions team page

HOTSTOVEHEAT on TWITTER