Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Practically everyone who ranks prospects in baseball had these guys #1 and #2 in either order, while some tried to put others like Matt Moore in between, or worse yet, didn’t include Trout because of the 150 at bat maximum limitation on rookie status (which Trout reached in 2011 and led to confusion prior to posting of my own list…I’m not sure why he is still a rookie still, but what Bud says goes). Regardless, Trout was totally outperforming Harper in Triple-A. Here is what you need to know about these two:
Trout: 6’1″, 220 lbs., turns 21 in August. He was hitting .403/.467/.623 in 77 AB with 4 2B, 5 3B, 1 HR, 6 SB, and a 16/11 K/BB. He is very polished with great speed and defensive skills and he will be stealing a lot of at bats from both Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos immediately. If Scioscia doesn’t play him every day, Mike Napoli may punch him in the face for Angels fans. Trout has only hit .342/.425/.516 in 1,117 minor league at bats, so he clearly is ready to mash. Don’t expect huge power numbers, as he isn’t a 30 or even 25 HR hitter, but he could easily steal 50-70 bases while hitting 15-20 HR, becoming a younger, right-handed hitting version of the player we once knew as Carl Crawford (the guy who has been absolutely useless since leaving Tampa, have you seen him?). If you’re a fantasy baseball nerd, Trout’s mixture of power, speed, and plate discipline will make him valuable immediately, and even more so in the future.
Harper: Harper doesn’t turn 20 until the season is over, so he’ll become another 19-year-old superstar in the making. He’s 6’3″, 225 lbs., and he’ll be playing every day, as well, primarily in left. Harper has tremendous raw power, as evidenced by a guy ripping 17 HR in professional ball when he should have been a high school senior worrying about prom. He has a .290/.383/.481 line in 459 minor league at bats, while struggling to a .250/.333/.375 start this season, but he is capable of handling this advance to the Majors. Harper was the 2nd “Once in a Generation” draft pick of the Nationals (Stephen Strasburg was the 1st), and he could become a superstar in the next couple of seasons. He will have some struggles and he may have some maturity issues (which we’ve seen in the past), but Harper will have seasons with over 30 HR, even 40 HR in the future. If you’re a fantasy baseball nerd, Harper is the long-term prize between he and Trout. He can hit for power, average, and mix in some speed, as well. However, Harper is more of a work in progress than Trout right now. He will make a drastic difference to the Nationals lineup, but he may struggle to produce while he is hitting 7th, as he is in his debut Saturday against the Dodgers.
If you’re lucky enough to have either of these players in a dynasty fantasy baseball league, congratulations, other owners hate you. Enjoy the debuts of MLB’s future this afternoon and evening. These two are already household names for baseball geeks, but even those of you who just came back from the 1994 strike, or other absurd reasons for not enjoying the sport, will know them soon and know them well.