Playing in the major leagues isnâ€™t supposed to be easy for rookies, but Mike Trout
and Bryce Harper are sure making it look that way.
Trout the 20-year-old LA Angels outfielder and Harper the 19-year-old Washington
Nationals outfielder are taking the league by storm as they dismiss the notion of a
rookie learning curve.
Both are flourishing in their rookie reasons, making it pretty apparent the future is
Harper has been in the national spotlight since he was in high school as he graced
the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16 and was drafted number 1 by the Nationals
shortly thereafter at 17.
With all the attention its no surprise that Harper has had success in the majors, but
it was tough to say it would come so soon. He was struggling a bit in Triple A, batting
only 256 before his call up.
As highly touted as Harper was coming into the majors so was Trout. The Angels
most highly touted prospect was continually ranked at the top of most sites list of
top prospects in all of major league baseball.
At the time he was called up, the Angels were struggling at 6-14 but are now 33-30
and only 3.5 games back of the Texas Rangers.
The big news in the offseason surrounded the Angels with the signing of Albert
Pujols and C.J. Wilson but right now the true stars on the team are Trout and fellow
outfielder Mark Trumbo.
Originally thought to be getting a call up in mid June was Harper, but the Nationals
were dealing with a rash of injuries and needed a spark in their offense.
That has certainly been the case as Harper has 7 home runs and has a batting
average sitting at 305. In his last 20 games, Harper has been remarkable batting 382
with 5 home runs and 14 rbi.
Harper has combined with Pitcher Stephen Strasburg to make a formidable 1-2
punch that has put Washington atop the NL East standing. The Nationals are now
contenders and seem to be for a long time with the young nucleus that also includes
third basemen Ryan Zimmerman and Pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
The last 20 games have also treated Trout well as heâ€™s hit 341 with 20 runs scored
and 9 stolen bases.
Getting a bit more into the advanced metric stats, Troutâ€™s WAR (Wins above
replacement) which measures a players â€œtrue valueâ€ to a team is right up there
among the best in baseball, meaning heâ€™s one of the most valuable players in the
What is probably the most noteworthy stat with these two is their sparkling on base
percentage, which speaks to their already high baseball IQ.
Most young players come up to the big leagues and feel like they have to swing
away, trying to manufacture hits instead of working at bats and looking to get on
base via the walk.
Harper is by the numbers the more disciplined hitter as he has struck out 29 times
compared to walking 20 times where Trout has gone down 36 times while walking
You can compare those numbers with another young superstar in Chicago Cubs
shortstop Starlin Castro who has walked only 6 times in 252 plate appearances.
Usually plate discipline takes time, but itâ€™s those special players who can understand
early on what taking pitches does for a team.
Both players also display great speed, demonstrating it every chance they get.
Harper runs out every ball no matter where its hit and Trout covers as much ground
as anyone in centerfield.
Its refreshing as baseball fans to see young players arenâ€™t just happy to be here but
play as If its their last game every time out there.
With these two young superstars playing at an all-star level, it will be wait and see if
either of them actually makes the team. In the most recent updating of all-star game
voting, neither player was even in the top 15 among each leagueâ€™s outfielders.
Neither really has to do anything more to prove why they deserve an all-star nod,
it will most likely have to come down to their peers putting them on the roster if
neither can make a huge jump up the ballot.
Itâ€™s time to sit back and appreciate what weâ€™re watching as baseball fans, as the
future of the sport has already gotten a head start.