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Should the Nats play Bryce Harper?

Harper's talent is unquestioned, but it's unlikely he could hold his own in the majors in 2011 Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI

As meaningless as 13 spring training at-bats are, Bryce Harper's hitting (.308 AVG/.357 OBP/.462 SLG, two doubles) has fueled calls for him to break camp with the Washington Nationals. This speaks highly of Harper's incredible physical tools and amateur record, because outside of a brief turn in the Arizona Fall League and 13 at-bats in exhibition games this spring, Harper's professional track record is nonexistent.

Since frustrated Washington fans are eager to see their club finally shake off its legacy as a ward of the game, and given the universal desire to get to see the next big thing, it's easy to understand all the panting after Harper, and the rationale used to justify the lust is deceptively simple: Hey, if he's ready, he's ready, so what harm can there be in advancing the timetable? The answer is equally basic: the major league game has rarely been kind to teenage hitters, whatever their talents or apparent state of readiness.