Harper's success in the face of so much pressure is an impressive accomplishment, but it is also part of a broader trend where top draft picks are now more likely than ever, injury notwithstanding, to make become impact players. Harper's teammate Stephen Strasburg, the first pick in the country the year before Harper, has been one of the Nationals' best pitchers over the last few years. Similar recent very high draft picks like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rendon and George Springer are already becoming impact players. Moreover, many of the best American players, foreign players are not eligible for the draft, such as Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner and Sonny Gray were first round picks.
Baseball lost a bit of its history last week when Don Zimmer died. Zimmer was the starting 2nd baseman the day the Dodgers won their only championship in Brooklyn. Twenty-three years later he spent Rosh Hashanah managing the Boston Red Sox to their most famous defeat ever as Bucky Dent's three run home run dashed the Red Sox pennant chances. He was the starting third baseman in the first game the New York Mets ever played; and 27 years after that spent Yom Kippur managing the Chicago Cubs as they got eliminated from the NLCS on a clutch single by Will Clark. Zimmer, however, wasn't Jewish, so probably was not aware of the connection between important defeats and Jewish holidays in his life.