The future is now in Washington D.C. and Anaheim as the Nationals and Angels Friday night made a big splash calling up “phenoms” Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Harper is filling the roster spot opened up by Ryan Zimmerman heading to the 15-day disabled list. Trout’s stay looks a little cozier as the Angels outright released Bobby Abreu to make room for the 20 year-old. What former phenoms that got called up at age 20 or younger did well? What can we expect from these two young studs?
Here are what recent players did in their first chance in the big leagues at age 20 or younger:
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, 2010, age 20
359 AB, .259 BA, 22 HR, 59 RBI, 45 R, .833 OPS
Stanton was probably the best of the sluggers at this age recently. 22 home runs and an .833 OPS would be at the high end of Harper’s potential for 2012.
Jason Heyward, Braves, 2010, age 20
520 AB, .277 BA, 17 HR, 72 RBI, 83 R, 11 SB, .849 OPS
Could this be Harper’s projected line? Both Heyward and Harper are tremendously hyped and play in the NL East. Being called up this early, Harper has a chance to play his way into 500 at-bats. If he does that, this line is very much in play.
Elvis Andrus, Rangers, 2009, age 20
480 AB, .267 BA, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 72 R, .329 OBP, 33 SB, .702 OPS
Trout and Andrus are similar offensive players. If the Angels decide to let Trout hit leadoff we could see him put up these kind of numbers with possibly more runs scored with the bats that are behind him in Howard Kendrick, Albert Pujols, and Mark Trumbo. Andrus went on to finish 2nd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009.
Starlin Castro, Cubs, 2010. age 20
463 AB, .300 BA, 3 HR, 41 RBI, 53 R, .347 OBP, 10 SB, .755 OPS
Trout has a lot more pop that Castro with his 5 homers in just 123 AB’s last season, plus more speed. The average numbers would be at the top echelon of what Trout could do this season. If you morphed together Andrus and Castro’s 20 year-old seasons into one, that could be what we see out of Trout.
So what can we expect out of Harper and Trout? There’s still a lot of learning to do, but Trout has been fantastic thus far in AAA, while Harper has been so-so at best. Harper is in a difficult position to stay up in the Majors as it seems like he’s just a fill-in while Zimmerman is injured. Harper does have a chance to prove that he belongs to stay over one of Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Xavier Nady, and Mark DeRosa. Harper sells more tickets than those four players combined. A hot start would be most beneficial to him and I think in the end he stays in Washington for the duration of the season. Harper’s AAA numbers started off slow, but after going 6 for his last 18, the Nats are ready to give him a shot.
Trout on the other hand, is here to jump start an Angels offense that is 3rd to last in the American League in OBP. The Angels let go of a decent player in Bobby Abreu to make room for him. Trout is here to stay, much to the chagrin of either Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, or Vernon Wells. Trout was hitting a blistering .403 with six stolen bases in AAA Salt Lake before the call-up, proving he’s ready to go.
Here are my projected lines for Harper and Trout for 2012.
Bryce Harper, Nationals, age 19
440 AB, .257 BA, 16 HR, 64 RBI, 55 R, 11 SB, .810 OPS
Mike Trout, Angels, age 20
482 AB, .281 BA, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 65 R, .335 OBP, 22 SB, .745 OPS
Which phenom do you think will have the better first full season in the majors? Can either win Rookie of the Year in their respective league? Tell us in the comments!