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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Jim Riggleman Doesn't Rule Out Bryce Harper In 2011

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I usually don't write on Friday nights, or even do much reading of other baseball sites, but last night I wasn't throwing a few coldies or pints of Guiness back with my neighbor, so I decided to get some reading done. I came across this article written by Lookout Landing's Jeff Sullivan.

He quotes's Jon Heyman recent tweet:

#nats riggleman just said he doesn't completely rule out bryce harper, 18, reaching majors this yr if he thrives "at every level"

A bit surprising, for sure. I mean, the next thing we will hear is that Harper will start the 2011 season in the majors, right? I seriously doubt that, but Harper is certainly a special talent. And Heyman is not the first to predict when Harper will make it to the big leagues.

More on Harper after them jump:

I recently wrote this article over at Minor League Ball addressing a Thomas Boswell article where he states that Harper could start the 2012 season with the Nationals. Here is the quote from Boswell's article which sparked my post:

The Nats' decision to make a major free agent splash this winter, rather than next, is probably connected to Harper's strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Only the rare Mickey Mantle or Ken Griffey Jr., has proved to be big league ready at age 19. But the Nats have opened the door for the possibility.

I am of the belief that we will see Harper by June 2012. I was confident enough in that belief that I traded a $5 Ike Davis for the right to pick Harper in the two round minor league draft in the UBA NL-only keeper league. Many thought I was crazy for making that deal, but the gambler in me

Here is what some of the top prospect experts have written about Harper, starting with Minor League Ball's John Sickels:

1) Bryce Harper, OF, Grade A: The hype is justified. I fully buy into Bryce Harper, and I don't know what else to say about him really. If he keeps his head on straight and avoids injuries, he's going to be excellent.

Here is ESPN's Keith Law on Harper:

Harper is still learning to play the outfield after catching for most of his academic career, but he has the plus arm for right field and is probably fast enough to handle center if the Nationals wanted to challenge him. (If anything, it might be easier for him to go to center, where he'll still view the field from the middle as he did from behind the plate, as opposed to learning the angles involved in an outfield corner.) Playing a full year in 2011 at age 18, Harper has MVP upside, but his race to the majors will be timed by sliders and curveballs.

And Baseball America's Aaron Fitt:

He's also incredibly advanced for an 18-year-old, and a strong spring could put him in position to jump right to high Class A Potomac to make his professional debut. He won't start any lower than low Class A Hagerstown. A realistic big league ETA for Harper is 2013—when he'll be just 20.

His ETA to the majors is getting closer and closer as his first spring training at bat approaches. I will stick with my June 2012 ETA.

What do you think?