By JAMES SARGENT
Young. Explosive. Talented. Rookie. All-Star.
These are just a couple of verbs that encompass what fellow outfielders Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have shown the world in their rookie seasons.
Harper is a 19-year-old baseball prodigy, known to some as “The Chosen One.” Trout is a 20-year-old MVP candidate with lots of speed and athleticism. What they both have in common is that they are likely to win Rookie of the Year in their respected leagues. Trout, on the other hand and as mentioned above, is up for the Most Valuable Player award and has a great chance of winning it.
The big debate traveling around baseball clubhouses, and every baseball fan’s home, is who would you take between Harper and Trout?
Arguments can be made for either side and in the long run both should have storied careers.
Let’s start with Bryce Harper, 19-years-old and already in the bigs. That, in and of itself, is already a major accomplishment. Then you start throwing in his numbers: .273 AVG, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 45 R, and 11 SB. Oh, that’s right. He also made the All-Star team. He didn’t win the final vote and needed an injury to occur for a spot on the squad, but nonetheless, he was an all-star. For a teen dubbed “The Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated, he is sure on a fast path to living up to that potential.
Harper has had a quirky way of getting to the MLB as well. He dropped out of high school to start playing baseball for a junior college. After killing the JC competition, the Washington Nationals selected him first overall. He began to ascend the minor leagues at a rapid rate, and now he surely will spend the rest of his career in the majors.
If you haven’t watched Harper play, make sure you sit down sometime and check him out. He swings a violent stick and gives above and beyond 100% to every play with his hustle. He’s a great baserunner, plays solid defense with a huge arm, and his overall demeanor for the game is great. A lot of people have pegged Harper as cocky and as a prick. I think that for all that he has gone through, he has handled himself quite well.
Now as much as people are raving about Harper, Trout is surely one-upping the teen’s rookie year. Trout is 20-years-old and just dominating American League pitching. He is batting .352 with 14 home runs, 45 RBI’s, 66 runs, and 30 stolen bases. His defense has been remarkable and he is extremely quick. Trout, as with Harper, was an all-star, however Trout made the reserves on his first go-around. Trout also has the potential to join an elite group of players if he is to win Rookie of the Year and MVP. The last player to accomplish that feat was Dustin Pedroia.
Trout was drafted 25th overall by the Anaheim Angels, and you could probably call that a steal. With the way he is performing, he could easily have been a top-five draft pick. Now Trout can still win Rookie of the Year even though he played in 40 games last season, tallying 123 at bats.
Trout climbed the minors about as quickly as Harper did, and has been a huge help to the once-struggling Angels.
Both of these kids are remarkable, and when it comes to picking sides it can be a tough decision. Right now, Trout is the easy pick as his numbers are blowing Harper’s out of the water. As for the long run, I believe Harper can continue to live up to his star potential. The great thing about baseball is that who knows what will happen. The ones that are supposed to be great can bust very easily, and the no-name guys can come to the bigs and put up Hall of Fame numbers. Neither of these two phenoms are no-name individuals, so hopefully neither will become a bust in the league.