Washington Nationals second year phenom Bryce Harper will be on this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time since turning pro. It will be his second time being featured on the cover of the nation’s premier sports magazine.
I look for this kid to have a monster season and surpass Mike Trout as MLB’s best young player. I’m not taking anything away from the great season Trout had last year and think he’s going to be a great player for a very long time, but I believe Harper’s going to pass him. If I had to choose between them today I’m taking Harper for a variety of reasons. I know there’s a lot of people who disagree with me on this issue, but I don’t think you could go wrong with either young player at this point.
I thought it was premature to compare the two players last season like many people did, but that’s part of what makes being a sports fan so much fun. I didn’t think you could get a true read on these guys last season because Trout had already tasted the big leagues and failed in his callup during the 2011 season when he played in 40 games and hit .220. So he knew what he needed to work on to be ready for his next opportunity.
Last year’s callup was Harper’s first taste of playing in the big leagues and the results were pretty impressive if you ask me. He did have some struggles at times, but even 10 year veterans will have some hitting slumps during the course of a season. The kid took home the N.L. Rookie Of The Year in his first crack at playing with the big boys. He didn’t get sent back to the minors and have an offseason to work on the deficiencies in his game. He fought through all the hype that preceded his arrival in the Nation’s Capital and put together a very solid rookie season.
I’m anxious to see the work that he put into his game during his first offseason when his sophomore campaign begins this Spring. So many people were in awe of what Trout did last season and I admit to being one of those people. But as far as putting him head and shoulders above Harper as the better player coming into this season I think is wrong.
No matter what side of the fence your on in this debate you gotta admit that it’s going to be a lot of fun watching these guys play over the next 10-15 years.