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NOT A DRILL: Bryce Harper to make MLB debut on Saturday

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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ALERT! Bryce Harper gets the call (US Presswire)

Repeat: This is *NOT* a drill. This is an actual fantasy event. You are expected to react, fantasy owner.

The Washington Nationals have announced that 19-year-old Bryce Harper, the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, will be promoted from Triple-A Syracuse. He'll make his big league debut at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, facing Chad Billingsley.

This was surely not the original plan for Harper, but Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) is about to hit the disabled list, so the Nats are in search of offense. Michael Morse is also on the DL, Mark DeRosa has been a mess, and Roger Bernadina is still Roger Bernadina. Thus, the Harper call-up. He's barely treading water at Triple-A right now (.250/.333/.375, HR, SB), although we should note that he's 9-for-31 over his last 10 games. Harper's power potential is well-documented, but he offers decent speed as well. He swiped 26 bags across two minor league levels last season.

Of course you should absolutely not expect a 19-year-old to carry your fantasy team, or even perform like a replacement-level mixed league outfielder. It's rare for any player to reach the majors before his 20th birthday. Don't do anything irresponsible here — no insane drops, please — and let's try to keep the expectations reasonable. Harper should play every day in the near term, so that's something. You have to give him at least a puncher's chance. Back in February, we offered Ken Griffey Jr.'s age-19 stat line as a point of comparison (61-16-61-16-.264); if Harper can approach those numbers, everyone should be impressed.

The right play here is to take advantage of the call-up buzz, adding Harper wherever you can and placing him immediately on the trade block. If you can sell the brand-name and fill a need, great. Harper is available in over 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of this moment, but he'll be flying off the shelves throughout the weekend. Make your move.

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