Just as we sit and watch our beloved Phillies grow together as a young nucleus, the question of which superstar you’d rather have is always a unique one. It has been well-documented that the Phillies have assembled a massive amount of wealth in which they’ll share with a hot commodity in free agency, but it garners a strong debate to decide on what horse to ride. Are you wagering on Mike Trout or Bryce Harper? Who would you pick to lead you to the promised land?
Before you answer the question, you must set aside all the local ties you may have and the ideas of a fairy-tale story. Look at the numbers as a whole and come up with a solid basis on who would look better in red pinstripes. No analytics, no media direction, and no sideshow Twitter explanations. Who would play out better for future plans and who would mesh perfectly in Citizens Bank Park?
Harper. I know I’m probably in the minority with this one, but I’ll lay out a detailed explanation as to why.
Let first preface by saying these are two extraordinary players who will lead baseball for many years to come. Picking between the two will always come down to personal preference as their numbers are greatly similar. That being said, there is a slight edge for Harper, but one that pertains strictly to Philadelphia.
My opinion is solely based on the factors that do not pertain to things like WAR or Walk Percentage. We could number crunch all day and always come up with a way to counter an argument. Instead, I look at ways they would mesh and how they could continue to play at a high level. For example, the power debate is one that could be made for both players. However, I feel no other player in the game can generate power as effortlessly as Harper. I can envision him living in the right field bleachers with a short porch at The Bank, even when a decline may start to set in. He could be the first player to consistently hit 50+ homers with authority since Barry Bonds. Could Trout do that? I still think he tops out in the 40s.
While Trout may be a better overall player who hits for higher average and steals more bases, his speed will start to decline, leaving him to rely strictly on power, which is where Harper has him beat. Let’s not forget that Harper dealt with injuries in 2013 and 2014, never giving him the shot at full potential. In 2015, he was healthy and took a massive step forward, posting percentages much higher than anything Trout has done to date.
In looking at the future setup for the Phillies, outfield has always been a focus that never seemed to materialized. Odubel Herrera is solid and Aaron Altherr is starting to come into his own, but besides these two, there isn’t much excitement from down under. Nick Williams was supposed to be the answer, but so far he hasn’t grabbed the hype train. Harper is a natural right fielder and Trout commands the middle. On this Phillies team – which already looks to have a right-handed dominate lineup with power from Maikel Franco to Jorge Alfaro – Harper would not only fill in perfectly defensively, but give you the solid switch in the middle of your order that gives opposing managers nightmares.
One of the biggest knocks on Harper is his attitude. I thought we like players with an edge in Philly? Didn’t we love a guy named Terrell Owens for his skills and flamboyant spotlight? This why I think we need a guy like Harper in this city. I want that edge and attitude back in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, that’s not Trout. They are both tremendous teammates and good guys in the clubhouse, for all intents and purposes, but the edge is what separates them from each other.
Like I said above, there are many reasons why people will choose Trout over Harper, and all explanations will hold merit. I just wanted to take a break from the stats and look deeper at some other reasons that not a lot of analysts are talking about. What are your thoughts?
As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. I can also be heard weekly via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00pm EST for a weekend sports wrap. But most importantly, you can catch me here at Pi!