As CBSSports.com colleague Jon Heyman wrote, the Nationals plan to give 19-year-old Bryce Harper a real chance to make their team out of spring training.
In fact, one Nationals official told me he believes that Harper should make it, and that even though he is still learning, "he can help you win while he learns."
Besides, it's not unheard of for a 19-year-old to play in the big leagues. Mike Trout did it for 14 games with the Angels last summer. Both Uptons (B.J. and Justin) did it.
Alex Rodriguez played in the big leagues when he was still 18 years old.
But according to research through baseball-reference.com, Harper would be the first 19-year-old to break camp with a team since Felix Hernandez with the 2006 Mariners, and the first position player to do it since Andruw Jones with the 1997 Braves.
Harper will be 19 years, 172 days old when the Nationals open their season on April 5 in Chicago. King Felix (19.118 when he debuted in August 2005) was the last big leaguer that young, and Adrian Beltre (19.078 when he debuted in June 1998) was the last position player that young.
A look the 19-year-olds who have played in the big leagues since 2000:
-- Trout played 14 games with the Angels last July, hitting just .163 with a .492 OPS.
-- Justin Upton was 23 days shy of his 20th birthday when the Diamondbacks called him up in 2007.
-- Hernandez came to the big leagues to stay at age 19.
-- B.J. Upton was 18 days shy of his 20th birthday when he debuted with the Rays in August 2004.
-- Jose Reyes debuted with the Mets the day before he turned 20 in June 2003.
-- Wilson Betemit came up with the Braves as a 19-year-old in September 2001.