Bryce Harper, the game's top prospect, has been promoted to Double-A, the Nationals announced.
Harper dominated the low-Class A South Atlantic League, hitting .318/.4232/.554 with 14 home runs in 72 games and 305 plate appearances for Hagerstown. He will skip high-Class A Potomac, reporting to the organization's Double-A affiliate in Harrisburg, Penn.
"This is a developmental issue," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters, including Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com. "We're happy that he progressed as much as he did in that league and showed us that he could handle top-flight velocity and breaking pitches and that type of thing. We feel he's ready to take the next step. This was a plan I had in my mind for a long, long time."
Harper is just 18 and nearly four years younger than the next-youngest player on the Senators, catcher Derek Norris (22). Norris was born in February 1989; Harper's birthday is Oct. 16, 1992. Harper is more than 11 years younger than Senators lefty (and former Mets scapegoat) Oliver Perez, the team's oldest player at 29.
Harrisburg begins a four-game homestand tonight.
Goessling said Rizzo denied the Nationals skipped high-Class A Potomac of the Carolina League because the team is unhappy with ownership about the condition of the team's facility, Pfitzner Stadium.