There was a discussion in the comments section of yesterday's Baseball America prospect chatpost about when Bryce Harper makes it to the majors. Eric, who posts under the name faketeams, commented that Harper will make his first appearance in the big leagues in September 2011.
Last year around this time there was discussion as to whether Stephen Strasburg would break camp with the Nationals out of spring training. I felt that the Nats would play it conservative and start Strasburg in the minors, while others felt he would start the 2010 season in the Nationals starting rotation.
With Harper, I think the Nationals will start him in Low-A or High A. Should he prove he can handle Low A, he could be moved to High A or AA. Here is what John Sickels from Minor League Ball had to say about Harper in his All Questions Asked thread:
Well Trout will get there first… as good as Harper is, Trout is more advanced and polished at this point.
They are very different players in terms of style…Harper has the enormous power of course, while Trout is more of a speed/defense guy though his bat has certainly been potent this year and there is a decent shot his home run power will increase.
If you are judging purely on a fantasy basis, Trout should help quicker. Harper will need time.
My opinion is that Harper will be in the majors in 2012, at the earliest, mainly because of his age. He turns 18 on October 16th. I don't remember the last 18 year old to play in the majors. Was it David Clyde, the pitcher for the Rangers back in the 70's? I just don't see an 18 year old facing the likes of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Josh Johnson and Johan Santana, and that's just in the NL East.
But then again, major league teams are bringing up their prospects at a much quicker pace than in the past. Even still, I see Mike Rizzo letting Harper establish himself in the minors before calling him up to the majors.