All in the family: Nats draft Harper's brother
Bryan originally picked by Washington out of high school in '08
HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- For the third time, the Nationals selected a Harper.
Washington concluded Day 2 of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft by selecting South Carolina left-hander Bryan Harper, the older brother of last year's No. 1 overall pick, Bryce Harper. The Nationals also selected Bryan Harper out of high school in the 31st round in 2008.
"I'm pretty excited about that," said Bryce, who learned of the pick in the fifth inning of his game with Class A Hagerstown on Tuesday. "I'm always excited to see my brother go and hopefully we'll get him."
Bryan and Bryce played last season together at the College of Southern Nevada, after which the Nationals selected Bryce and the Cubs took Bryan in the 27th round.
Bryan Harper did not sign and transferred to South Carolina, where he still has another year of eligibility. The fourth-ranked Gamecocks host Connecticut on Saturday in the NCAA Super Regionals.
His younger brother had no insight into whether Bryan would sign or return to college, only saying South Carolina's run to Omaha occupies Bryan's focus.
"He loves South Carolina. He loves playing for [head coach Ray] Tanner there," Bryce said. "They're a great team -- a championship team. He loves school and is really smart, so we'll see what happens."
The 6-foot-6 southpaw has appeared in 22 games for the Gamecocks. Harper has thrown 18 1/3 innings and allowed 11 earned runs with 17 walks and 18 strikeouts.
He had more success with his brother as a starter at the College of Southern Nevada, where he went 10-1 with a 2.18 ERA and struck out 88 batters in 57 2/3 innings.
"He's one of the most dominating left-handed pitchers I've seen in my life, and I've seen [Nationals third-round pick Matthew] Purke and a lot of other guys that are at that caliber," Bryce Harper said. "My brother's pretty good and I wouldn't say it if he wasn't. Everyone's going to see what he has and what he features, so I'm pretty excited about it."
The younger Harper has had his own success since he hit .438 with 31 homers and 98 RBIs in 66 games alongside his brother. Bryce has a .342 average with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs for Class A Hagerstown in his first season of a five-year $9.9 million contract.
While he would welcome an opportunity to again be his brother's teammate, he does not want to step into a batter's box against him anytime soon.
"I can't touch him," Bryce said. "I've never been able to hit him."
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.