[Brain Food] Bryce Harper or Mike Trout the Great Debate Part 1 by Eddie McDonald
Bryce Harper or Mike Trout the Great Debate
Who would you rather have for the next 10 years: Bryce Harper or Mike Trout?
By Eddie McDonald
Take your pick. You can have either Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, or Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. These are two of baseball’s best players, and oh yeah, both are under the age of 21. Good friend Mike Waterloo and I will indulge in another debate type post where we will pick which one we would rather have.
People have been asking over the past couple of weeks who would they rather have for the future of their team, or who would be the better player. ESPN’s Buster Olney, who is regarded as one of the best guys in the business to cover baseball, compared the argument to the Magic Johnson or Larry Bird debates that were had years ago. He couldn’t be more spot on with that assessment. Others have compared the two to modern day versions of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. They both came into the league at the same ages Harper and Trout have (19 and 20.)
I love to watch both players, and am fascinated by what each are doing at such a young age. Regardless of who you take, the results are good for baseball going forward. For me, I would rather have Harper. I have been reading about this kid for the past few years and love the way he plays the game.
He was the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals at the age of 18. This was the second consecutive number one pick for the Nationals, as they selected pitcher Steven Strasburg a year prior to Harper. This could be the best consecutive number one overall picks in the history of drafts.
The 6’3, 225 pound baseball phenom was originally a catcher, but the Nationals drafted him as an outfielder to help extend his career and so he could develop as a player faster so he could make his return to the big leagues. To me, that was a great move on their part, as catchers just don’t have the longevity that most of the other position players do. That doesn’t stop him from being one of baseball’s best stories of the season.
Ever since being drafted, Harper has not disappointed. He has continuously improved his play more and more over the past two years. He was invited to the Nationals Spring Training in 2011. He shined in spring ball batting .399. He was then optioned to single-A Hagerstown. He was selected to represent Team USA in the 2011 All-Star Futures Game during All-Star weekend. He was then promoted to double-A Harrisburg on July 4. In his first game there, he went 4-4 with two singles, a double, triple, and a walk.
His good play got him promoted to triple-A Syracuse in spring training of 2012. After 20 games, the Nationals finally called up their young superstar, after Ryan Zimmerman was put on the disabled list. He was called up April 27 and inserted in the lineup the very next day against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He got his first hit (a double) off Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley and got his first career RBI later in the game on a sacrifice fly off pitcher Javy Guerra. He hit his first career home run on May 14 off San Diego Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer.
Not everybody was excited to see Harper in the big leagues and all the attention that he was receiving. On May 6 in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, he was hit by the first pitch he saw in the first inning by pitcher Cole Hamels. After the game, Hamels revealed that he did it on purpose, which got him a five game suspension.
On June 12, in a game against the Toronto Blue Jay, he hit a monstrous home run to center field that went an estimated 438 feet. After the game, a reporter asked if he would take advantage of Canada’s (19 compared to 21 in the US) drinking age and go out for a celebratory beer n which he replied with “that’s a clown question, bro.” He said that because he is a Mormon and does not drink alcohol. I thought that was a great response as he is someone who just wants to concentrate on baseball.
This kid is a five-tool baseball player. He can hit the ball for average and power, has base running skills and speed, and he can launch the ball with his arm. He is a humble kid who just wants to get better every time he steps on the diamond. He plays the game the right way, something that is good for his future.
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