It’s officially award season in Major League Baseball, with the major hardware set to be handed out during the week. That begins with the awarding of the Rookie of the Year in both leagues on Monday. In each league, it looks to be an easy call.
The American League has a pretty crowded field, with the likes of Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes and Mike Trout all vying for the award. But as fantastic as Darvish and Cespedes were, it’s really no contest when you’re up against Mike Trout. He’s up for ROY and MVP in the American League. That debate has already been decided.
In the National League, it’s not quite as clearly defined. The names aren’t quite as big, but each of the three finalists did make a large impact with their respective clubs. It’s a debate that will come down to Bryce Harper, Wade Miley and Todd Frazier. But at the end of the day, this one has probably already been decided as well.
The star outfielder for the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper came up with the fanfare that no prospect has since, well, Stephen Strasburg. One of the most highly touted prospects of all-time, he wasted no time in getting acclimated to the bigs.
Though it wasn’t on the level of Mike Trout, Harper did enjoy a splendid rookie year. He was an All Star. As a teenager. He finished with a .270 average and .340 on-base percentage. As a teenager. He hit 22 home runs and swiped 18 bases. As a teenager. Though he wasn’t immune from rookie struggles, Harper seemed to get better as the year went on.
It seems that way, because it was that way. Harper hit .338 with an OPS of 1.015 over the final month of the season. He finished with a WAR of 5.0 for the season. As far as rookie years go, as a teenager, there’s really no comparison in history, outside of future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr.
Miley and Frazier both had very good seasons. Miley was a pleasant surprise for a pitching staff that needed a boost, but he struggled a bit down the stretch. And as fun as it was to watch Frazier play all over the field this year, it might be impossible to beat the media hype over Harper.
All three are obviously worthy candidates. They’re finalists for a reason. But Harper had the best year of any teenager in the history of baseball. He’s already a star. By Monday night, Major League Baseball will see two of it’s newest stars hoisting the first of what should be many accolades between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.