The Washington Nationals tonight agreed to terms on a Major League contract with College of Southern Nevada outfielder Bryce Harper, the first-overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo, Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark and Nationals Director of Scouting Kris Kline made the joint announcement.

Various reports are emerging on the terms of the contract and we will update this post when we confirm the amount of the deal.  Rizzo has not addressed the media at the time of this post, but we will provide his comments when available.

Harper earned his GED after his sophomore year in December 2009, making him eligible for the June 2010 amateur draft in order to begin his professional baseball career earlier.  For the 2010 college season, Harper enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada of the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC), a league that uses wood bats in conference play.

Harper's freshman year was something out of a video game.  In 66 games, he hit 31 home runs, 98 RBI, hitting .443/.526/.987.  His 31 home runs broke the school's previous record of 12. He was named the 2010 SWAC Player of the Year.

He also won the "Golden Spikes" award as the top amateur player in the nation.

In the Western district finals of the 2010 Junior College World Series, Harper went 6-for-7 with five RBIs and hit for the cycle.  The next day, in a doubleheader, he went 2-for-5 with a three-run double in the first game, and in the second game went 6-for-6 with four home runs, a triple, and a double.

In 2009, Harper was cited as Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year after he batted .626 with 14 home runs, 55 RBI and 36 stolen bases in 39 games for Las Vegas High School. The season prior, in 2008, Harper hit .590 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI in just 38 games as a high school freshman. In March of 2009, Harper became the first high school sophomore ever named a Pre-Season First-Team All-American by Baseball America.

Harper represents something the Nationals sorely need in the organization, a legitimate hitting prospect.  He's been on the national radar for years -- at 15 he hit a ball off the back wall in Tampa's Tropicana Dome and routinely hits home runs over 450 feet.

Harper also has the reputation for being extremely confident -- bordering on cocky.  He had several ejections during his freshman year, including in the playoffs when he taunted the home plate umpire after what he thought was a bad call, drawing a line in the batter's box where he thought the ball crossed.  It cost him his next game and his team was bounced form the playoffs.

Harper spent much of his high school and JuCo career catching, but on draft day the Nationals announced he would move to right field as a professional.  In post-draft interviews, Harper said he was looking forward to playing the position and learning more to become a major league caliber outfielder.

He has good speed, and according to scouting reports, great base running instincts.  His sophomore year in high school he scored six times from second base on a wild pitch. 

Honestly, if every game he has played since the time he was 14 wasn't recorded on video and observed by scouts, you wouldn't believe the numbers or accounts.

With Harper under contract, the Nationals have signed 25 of their top 26 draft picks and 33 picks overall.  For the second season in a row, the Nats have spent more money in the draft than any other team in baseball.

Rizzo has said previously that Harper would probably start his professional career in the Gulf Coast League.  Since he's been off for the better part of two months, it's hard to envision a scenario where he would move up to Class-A ball this season.  It's a good bet, though, that Harper will be ticketed for the Arizona Fall League, a showcase for the top talents in minor league baseball.