Who knows, perhaps Bryce Harper just made Ruben Alaniz famous. Harper, the Washington Nationals' uber-prospect, connected for his first professional home run on Wednesday in the nightcap of Hagerstown's Class A doubleheader against Lexington. Harper hit his two-run drive off Alaniz, a 19-year-old left-hander, in the third inning of the Suns' 6-4 loss.
At some future point, maybe after Harper has fulfilled his destiny and can look back at a career filled with big numbers, could Alaniz be the answer to a trivia question? The youngster from Texas, naturally, was pitching for the Lexington Legends when he served up the inaugural home run to Harper, the top pick in last June's First-Year Player Draft. The drive over the left-field fence was a welcome confirmation of the hype surrounding Harper, who had come into his seventh game sporting an average of .238. The home run was also his first extra-base hit. The homer notwithstanding, Harper ended the day as a .214 hitter (6-for-28) in seven games. He has driven in five runs and has also coaxed three walks and stolen a base. Prior to Wednesday, Harper did already own a "quasi-professional" homer -- not counting batting-practice drives. On Oct. 30, he homered for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League, where he got his first taste of action against other top prospects after signing his $9.9 million contract with the Nationals.