Baseball America's top 100 prospects for 2012 had Bryce Harper and Mike Trout listed as the #1 and #3 prospects in baseball respectively. In 2011, they were listed as the #1 and #2 prospects. The baseball world is carefully watching their progress and comparisons between the two will likely be shared for much of their careers.
I couldn't help but think of the last time there were two highly touted outfield prospects at the top of the charts. Andruw Jones and Vladimir Guerrero were listed #1 and #9 respectively on Baseball America's top 100 prospects in 1996. In 1997 they were #1 and #2. They were similarly compared to as they reached the majors and began to mature. If I recall correctly, Andruw Jones was considered the more well rounded prospect of the two while Vladimir Guerrero was the better hitter. It's not so dissimilar from the comparisons of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper (Harper being the better hitter with Trout being the more rounded player).
Now that they are both approaching the ends of their careers, it's interesting that Jones and Guerrero pretty much met all of the expectations people had of them.
Andruw Jones was an incredible center fielder during his prime, amassing 10 gold gloves. As of this writing, he has 420 career home runs, 1255 RBIs, and a career OPS of .827. He had a quick decline when he entered his 30s, which put him in more of a backup role and may limit his HOF chances, but that's about it.
Vladimir Guerrero did end up the better hitter of the two. As of this writing, he has 449 home runs, 1496 RBIs, a .318 BA, and a .931 OPS. He won an MVP in 2004 and finished in the top ten of MVP voting an additional 5 times. Wow!
Hopefully there will be similar careers for Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.
Wow, I don't think anyone thought Mike Trout and Bryce Harper's careers would start off like this.
Bryce Harper, at 19, finished the year with 22 home runs, a .270/.340/.477 split, and a 5.0 WAR. For a 19 year old, that's amazing. As a comparison, Ken Griffey Jr. had 16 home runs, a .264/.329/.420 split, and a 2.9 WAR in his age 19 rookie year.
Mike Trout was a completely other story. He's in a dead heat with Miguel Cabrera for the AL MVP in his rookie year. He finished his rookie year with 30 home runs, a .326/.399/.564 split, and a 10.7 WAR. Some feel he might be the best player in baseball already.
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