Nationals take Mormon slugger with No. 1 pick

by | Jun. 08, 2010

Saints & Sports

The Washington Nationals got their ace a year ago. Now, they think they've found their slugger.

The Nationals selected the much-hyped Bryce Harper, a 17-year-old Mormon with prodigious power from Henderson, Nev., with the No. 1 overall pick in the baseball draft Monday night.

"It's what I've wanted since I was 7 years old," Harper said.

A year after taking similarly hyped right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals took Harper, who can play catcher but was announced as an outfielder at the draft site at MLB Network studios by commissioner Bud Selig.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo envisions Harper as a No. 3-type power hitter with a strong arm in right field.

"We're going to take the rigor and the pressures of learning the position, the difficult position of catcher, away from him," Rizzo said, "and really let him concentrate on the offensive part of the game and let his athleticism take over as an outfielder."

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