How soon is too soon?  This is the question baseball fans all around the country are asking when it comes to Washington Nationals rookie phenom, Bryce Harper. At just 18 years old, Harper has a realistic chance to reach the big leagues at sometime in 2011, which would make him the youngest player since New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez to play in the Major Leagues.

Harper’s stats over the past few seasons look like something straight out of a video game. 

For a kid who should be a junior in high school, Harper played this past season at the College of Southern Nevada—a league that uses wood bats in conference play. Harper didn’t miss a beat, hitting an astounding .442 with 29 HR and 89 RBI in just 66 games.

But not only did Harper hit, he pitched as well, sporting a record of 10-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 57.2 innings pitched, and striking out 88. It is worth noting the former Sports Illustrated cover boy was reportedly clocked throwing 96 MPH on the radar gun in high school.

Shortly after being drafted first overall by the Nationals in the 2010 MLB draft, Harper agreed to a five-year contract worth $9.9 million. Although he has yet to play a game in Washington‘s minor league system, Harper did play for the Arizona Fall League after the 2010 regular season. In just nine games, Harper hit .343 with one home run and seven RBI.

Now, the question remains: Will he even need anymore minor league seasoning in 2011, or will he make the jump to the Major Leagues?

As of right now that question has yet to be answered. Not a single Nationals or baseball fan knows if in fact Harper will make the opening day roster. While he does have a legitimate shot, even if he does start in the minor leagues it won’t be for long. It took fellow phenom Stephen Strasburg just 11 minor league starts to reach the big leagues in 2010, so it shouldn’t take Harper very long given his successful track-record.

One thing is for certain though: No matter where he starts out, everyone will know the name “Bryce Harper” in 2011.

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