VIERA, Fla. -- Triple-A Syracuse manager Tony Beasley managed Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper when both were with Double-A Harrisburg late last year.
In 36 games at Harrisburg, Harper hit .256 with three homers and 12 RBIs before a hamstring injury ended his season. Beasley said Harper's batting average didn't indicate the quality at-bats he had during his time in Harrisburg.
"He came to us and I really thought he had good at-bats," Beasley said. "His numbers early on were not indicative of how he played. It was unbelievable. He had a ton of quality ABs that resulted in line-drive outs.
Beasley believes that Harper will be a great talent in the big leagues in the future, but needs to work on certain parts of his game. According to Beasley, Harper needs to hit better against left-handed pitching and not have problems catching line drives with backspin on the ball. Sometimes, Harper has to learn when the double play is in order. Harper must know when to hit the cutoff man.
"I like to see how he responds to left-handers," Beasley said. "That's probably the biggest scenario that concerns me a little bit. Last year, he didn't fare too well against left-handed pitching at the Double-A level. He hit under .200 against them. Some of them were hard-hit balls. He did chase some sliders from lefties. I like to see how he adjusts to that. I think when he stays in the middle of the field, he is able to compete against anybody.
"Defensively, I don't think there is anything glaring that would hurt you. The main thing we focus on is, keep the double play in order and understand when [he has] a shot and when [he doesn't] have a shot, because his arm strength is exceptional. It's unbelievable."