As part of our preview for the upcoming 2013 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2013 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our first prediction: Bryce Harper has a better statistical season then Mike Trout.
We’re already getting really tired of all the accusations that we’ve got some kind of weird man-crush on Bryce Harper. We really aren’t responsible for how we feel about the guy at this point. That’s on him. Last year he arrives on the scene right on cue to be closest thing to Mickey Mantle of my children’s era. He does exactly what he’s supposed to do in going out and straight balling. The only thing that didn’t go according to plan was Mike Trout posting that Mantle slash line of .399/.564/.963 to overshadow Harper and make everyone believe that the kid in Washington will be the second best player in this generation.
But not so fast my young padawan.
Harper was just 19 last season, and hasn’t had the opportunity to produce his own age 20 season as Trout did in 2012. When Mike Trout was 19 he was instilling doubt in a lot of people’s minds about just how good he would be.
These guys are both tremendous ballplayers and should entertain us on a nightly basis for the next twenty years if we’re lucky. But Harper is the better of the two and he’s going to start to prove that right now.
My friend M.J. Lloyd made the brilliant comparison shortly after both guys were setting the world on fire last summer that this debate was going to end up baseball’s version of Jordan versus Bird. I couldn’t agree more, and they’re both in for huge seasons in 2013 once again.
Here’s what I see for Trout:
.290, 28 HR, .880 OPS, 50 stolen bases, 130 runs, 85 RBI for good measure.
These are all numbers that will have Trout in line for the MVP award that he should have had last season. But they won’t be good enough to best Harper in 2013. Rumor has it that Harper’s goals for this year include a 40/40 season and hitting .300 on the campaign.
Before you start doubting Harper; before you insist that the guy is human, you need to read this book and come back to me. He will do things in this game that are not human and you can remember where you read those words first.
Here’s Harper’s 2013 numbers:
.285, 35 HR, .900 OPS, 35 stolen bases, 110 runs, 110 RBI
A lot of people are saying those numbers aren’t better so we will need something that will give us apples to apples. Thank God for WAR. At season’s end, Bryce Harper will have a higher WAR than Mike Trout. And he’ll do it in his age 20 season, still putting him on schedule to be the best player of this generation.
And if you want me to sign on for something crazy like predictions Harper’s 2013 WAR tops Trout’s 8.6 WAR from 2012, I simply won’t do that. For anyone feeling like I’m slighting the mighty Trout here, please don’t go away angry. The guy is unbelievable in his own right as he proved last season and without someone as insane as him there wouldn’t even be a close debate for Harper to go ‘up against’ for this generation’s next great player.
These predictions are the gospel though; and you can count on this one being the first of ten we’ll nail in 2013 just as we did in 2012.