Coming into the 2013 baseball season, expectations are both sky high for two MLB franchises. The first is the Washington Nationals, a franchise that finally escaped from the depths of last place in the NL East to become one of the top World Series contenders for this year. Stephen Strasburg will be back to lead a stacked pitching staff, and this time there will be no innings limit. Go almost 3000 miles across country to Los Angeles, I mean Anaheim…I mean Los Angeles of Anaheim?! Oh well, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are looking to put a disappointing 2012 season behind them, and are looking to compete for a championship with superstar slugger Josh Hamilton in the fold. Both of these teams have the pitching, hitting and great managerial leaders to get to the World Series, but they also have something else, and that is two of the best young hitters in the game.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals, CF, NL Rookie of the year (12)
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Harper entered the 2012 season to much hype and fanfare as the next great star slugger. At only 19, Harper wowed his teammates and fans alike with his awesome bat. One of Harper’s most memorable moments was when he absolutely destroyed a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays, sending the ball 480 feet! Harper also showed his smarts, as a Toronto reporter asked him if he would celebrate with a beer (drinking age is 18 in Canada). After a Nationals PR member scolded the reporter, Harper chimed in and told the reporter “That’s a clown question bro“. Harper finished the season batting .270, hitting 22 home runs ,59 RBI’s and 18 stolen bases. While the numbers may not seem eye popping for a player that had huge hype, remember Harper only turned 20 years old this past October, and his game will only improve. Harper will continue to grow as a player as he gets even more experience, and in a few years he will become one of the most dominant hitters in the game.
2013 Outlook: .290 average, 29 home runs, 80 RBI’s, 15 stolen bases
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, CF-LF, AL Rookie of the Year (12)
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Trout absolutely stole all of Harpers thunder last year, making many MLB fans take notice of a player who can do it all. Trout’s first full rookie season can just be summed up as amazing! Trout had a .326 average, 30 home runs, 83 RBI’s and 49 stolen bases! Trout was so impressive that the rookie was in the conversation for the AL MVP award, and people today still argue that he should have won it over Miguel Cabrera. With Peter Bourjos playing center, Trout will most likely start at left field for the 2013 season, despite playing center field extremely well in 2012. Many have noticed that Trout has gained a lot of weight, and many wondered if that would impact his speed on the bases and in the field. I don’t think anyone should worry about Trout, and the Angels have the nastiest 3-4-5 hitters in baseball when you add in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
2013 Outlook: .320 average, 35 home runs, 100 RBI’s, 49 stolen bases
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are two great, young hitters. They will be the talk of an up and coming generation, who will always link the two hitters together. While some already feel that Trout is and always will be the best player of the two, don’t count out Harper just yet. Trout may be the more well rounded player, but Harper will turn into one of the most dangerous hitters in the league, and you can count on both receiving mega deals whenever they hit free agency.
Harper (left) and Trout will always be linked