Take Your Pick: Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg?

By Paul Bentley

Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper have quickly become the faces of Washington Nationals baseball, but which one has the higher potential ceiling? Who will have the better career? Sure they are totally different players, but we all love these debates.

The Washington Nationals are 21-13, leaving them a half-game back of the National League East lead behind the Atlanta Braves. The Nats can attribute this success to being garbage in 2008 and 2009, as they were rewarded with consecutive number one overall picks in 2009 and 2010.

Strasburg, the 23 year old, right handed, strikeout machine was drafted by the Nationals in 2009.  Equipped with four pitches in his arsenal, Strasburg was one of the most highly recruited and recognized prospects of all time. His two-seam fastball is the main reason Strasburg is 3-0, with a 1.64 ERA, as well as tied for fourth in the MLB in strikeouts with 51. The kid also throws a 92 mph change-up. Filthy. Although the young Nationals pitcher already has a Tommy John surgery under his belt, it’s safe to say he has made a full recovery. The numbers don’t lie.

Then there is Bryce Aron Max Harper. If you live under a rock, or just don’t watch baseball, ever, Harper is the teenager playing for the Nationals, making highlight reels consistently for the start of this season. Now, I didn’t say he is making highlight reels for the right reasons every time, but he is making noise regardless.

Harper was the Washington Nationals reward for going 59-103 in 2009. Harper, like Strasburg was in the national light for years before he was even drafted. Bryce Harper is less polished than Strasburg, but his intangibles are through the roof. Harper, 19, stands 6’3, weighs 225 pounds, and works out in a shirt that reads “Beast Mode.”

Whereas Strasburg was sought after for his arm, Harper is undoubtedly recognized as having potential to be one of the best five-tool players in the game. Harper has yet to hit his first major league home-run but power and bat speed are something this teen has plenty of. Its only a matter of time before Harper is hitting the long-ball. Not only do chicks dig the long-ball, fans, teammates and fantasy owners do as well.

Harper has already made some impressive defensive plays this season, exhibiting his arm strength and ability to play the outfield. He has also ended up on highlights for flying around first base, throwing his helmet off to gain that half second of speed. Harpers latest incident came when he broke a bat in frustration in the dugout, resulting in ten stitches above his eye. Who doesn’t love passionate players?

If you are the Washington Nationals, you don’t have to answer the question, “who would you rather have” but as fans we love these types of questions. Do you want the potential ace of your pitching staff for a decade with Stephen Strasburg? Or do you want the young-buck who has all the skills to be one of the elite players in the world in Bryce Harper?

Paul Bentley is a contributor to http://www.rantsports.com/

Follow Paul Bentley on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/KKingBentley

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