Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are two of the best young players in the game – on that point, there can be no debate. Both Trout and Harper combine power with speed in a way that is rarely seen. Trout has already established himself as the best player in the world with this performance over the past three years, but Harper is working hard to challenge him for that title. Hopefully, both of these players will stay healthy and baseball fans will be able to seem them thrive for many years to come.
Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing either of these great players in the 2015 playoffs. Both the Angels and Nationals have had success in recent years, although neither have been able to get all the way to the World Series. This year, each team has taken a step back, as the Nationals were blown away late in the year by the Mets and the Angels struggled to score runs for much of the season. The baseball playoffs will still be plenty exciting, but not having either Harper or Trout present is somewhat disappointing to the average fan.
Between the two, it seems more likely that Harper returns to the playoffs in the near future. The Nationals have a collection of talented players beyond Harper, such as Anthony Rendon and Max Scherzer. While they struggled with injuries in 2015, the Nationals could quickly rebound with the help of a few offseason adjustments.
The outlook for the Angels, however, is not quite as rosy. Trout is under contract for several years to come, which is obviously great news. On the other hand, so is Albert Pujols, who has already declined dramatically from his glory days with the Cardinals. After 138 games in the 2015 season, Albert has offered plenty of power with 38 home runs – but little else. He is hitting just .245, with a .306 OBP that is way below his career average. At this point, Pujols is contributing some benefit to the offense, but it is yet to be seen how long that will continue. There are six more years left on Pujols contract, including a $30 million salary due in 2021. It seems rather unlikely that Pujols is a significant contributor at that point. The money tied up in Pujols contract could weigh heavy on the budget for the next few seasons.
Hopefully both Mike Trout and Bryce Harper will be back in the playoffs in the near future. They are exciting young stars who both bring plenty of excitement to the game in their own way. Of course, baseball is a team game, and each player will need a solid supporting cast if they are going to move deep into October.