Harper v. Trout

By Rich MacLeod

Ever since making his highly anticipated MLB debut, Washington Nationals 19-year-old super prospect Bryce Harper has created quite a buzz throughout the baseball world. There is no question that this teen phenom is gifted with tons of talent and has the capability to be great, but if you’ve listened to the media you would just assume, without looking at the stats, that he’s hitting over .300 with tons of RBI. Well, this is a time where you should look at the stats sheet. Currently Harper is batting .267 with 9 RBI this season and that is actually an improvement when last week his average was sitting at .238. Not all that great, even for a rookie. I know, I know, all of the Nationals fans out there are probably screaming at their computers right now that I am criticizing at 19-year-old and you would be right, I am criticizing him in a way. In this case, age means nothing. That probably sounds ludicrous but think of it this way: If a 19-year-old was not ready to play in the major leagues, and most of them aren’t, than they wouldn’t be here. Bryce Harper is here and thereby should be judged on the same plain as anybody else, at the very least any normal rookie. So before we start jumping out of our seats and calling him the next Clemente (which I’ve actually heard from analysts on the MLB Network), lets slow down, take a step back and just enjoy the fact that this kid is exciting.

Lost in all of the shuffle is another phenomenal rookie, who made his season debut on the exact same day as Harper, and that is Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s 20-year-old center fielder Mike Trout. In fact, Trout is just 14 months older than Harper which really is not that big of a difference. We’re talking the difference between Juniors and Sophomores in high school. Since making his debut, Trout is batting .315 with 11 RBI, 4 HR and 6 stolen bases. This young center fielder is the definition of a five tool player; he can field, he has speed, he has pop, he has everything. In fact, he’s been compared to a current major leaguer who goes by the name of Matt Kemp. Once again, this is  a situation where I think people should calm down solely based on the fact that this is still a small sample size in the kid’s rookie year, but I guess it isn’t as bad as comparing a rookie to a baseball legend.

Both Harper and Trout seem to be on their ways to very bright futures in the major leagues. Right now everyone should think fairly and rationally when it comes to these two. Don’t expect too much and when they over exceed those expectations, don’t jump to calling them Hall of Famers either. Harper has gotten all of the recognition, and to a point he should, but right now, on May 24th, Mike Trout has been the better player and he deserves to be recognized for that fact. That said, they’re both terrific and while we don’t know what the future will bring, I think it’s safe to say we’ll all enjoy watching these two guys for a very long time.

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