Updates from Harper, Norris and more at the AFL

5138096993_3c98509dc5_zThe Scottsdale Scorpions season is slowly coming to a close in the Arizona Fall League and with it the AFL debut’s of several Nationals players are coming to an end. Let’s take a look to see how they did.

Bryce Harper – Harper, 18, boasted a line of .323/.400/.613 in his first try against professional pitching. Despite a small sample size, Harper impressed everyone who saw him play and proved to everyone that he could hold his own in the outfield. It will be interesting to see what effect his performance in Arizona will have on his placement next season, and if we will get to see him take a few at bats with the big league club in spring training. Final Line: .323/.400/.613 1 HR, 10 K, 6 RBI.

Derek Norris – Norris, 21, was the top position player prospect in the Nationals system entering 2010. Sadly, he had a season where just about everything that could go wrong did, resulting in what many believe will be a put-up or shut-up 2011 for the young slugger. Norris was able to bounce back to a degree in Arizona this fall. With a fresh start the catcher put up an impressive .260/.397/.640 line while smacking four homers and driving in 19 runs. He showed the plate patience and power that had made him a blue chip prospect going into the season, and hopefully pressed the reset button on what was a terrible 2010. Final Line: .260/.397/.640, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 17 K.

Steve Lombardozzi - Lombardozzi improved on what was a great 2010 campaign with an even better Fall League performance. In 20 games he batted 308/.402/.462. while showing solid defense in the infield. Unfortunately for Lombardozzi, he is stuck behind the more talented Danny Espinosa for a shot at Washington. If Lombardozzi wishes to move up the latter he will need to continue hitting for a high average while learning to play each infield position with effectiveness. If the Nats are lucky, they could have their utility player of the future in waiting. Final Line: 308/.402/.462, 0 HR, 4 RBI, and 2 steals.

Michael Burgess – Sadly the Nationals have watched the incredibly talented Michael Burgess take the same path as fellow power hitting prospect Chris Marrero as both bats have stalled in the low levels of the minor leagues. Like Marrero, Burgess has massive raw power that has seemed to diminish as he has been working on his plate patience. Not surprisingly, Burgess put up a line of .246/.286/.477 with 2 homers, proving that he still is as confused at the plate as he was as a 19-year-old two years ago. Final Line .246/.286/.477 2 HR, 12 RBI, 20 K’s. Stay tuned for the pitchers tomorrow…

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