The MLB handed out their Rookie of the Year awards on Tuesday and the results were what most had expected. The AL crowned Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout while the NL prize went to Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. All summer these two played major roles in captivating a younger, more hip audience to Major League Baseball, which may have saved the game.
Furthermore, the initial shock at what these two rookies did is in the past and the focus shifts to what they will do in 2013.
Moving on, Mike Trout’s 2012 numbers were better than Harper’s in every category. Trout clubbed seven more home runs, drove in 24 more runs and scored 31 more runs than Harper. Not to mention, Trout stole 49 bases compared to Harper’s 18. Patrolling the Angels outfield for 139 games this season, Trout made them a better defensive club as well. Averaging a strikeout a game, Trout will work on his K’s this winter. In my mind, Mike Trout will be the 2013 AL MVP. However, more importantly Trout will need to help bring a playoff birth to Anaheim for the first time since 2009.
While he did scuffle mightily, the experience garnered by Harper in the 2012 postseason is worth noting. Harper was 3/23 with eight strikeouts in the Nationals ALDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
At age 20, a year younger than Trout, Harper was a mainstay at the top of the Nationals line up all season and will look to improve upon his .270 average in 2012. Drafted as a catcher, Harper made the incredible transition to the outfield appear seamless with eight outfield assists this year.
The charisma and overall youth that these two brought to the table in 2012 is unheard of, however with a whole offseason given to prepare opposing pitchers will be much weary and better equipped to face these sluggers in 2013. With that being said, Trout and Harper will be the topic of conversation the entire spring and into the summer of 2013. In my mind, Mike Trout will out-perform Harper next season, but with another year under his belt Harper will be in the NL MVP race as well and make this comparison a fun one for years to come.