Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 11/12/14
Mlb-all-star-futures-game

Baseball is always looking for its next big superstar(s). My generation has guys like Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols who carried baseball on its back but the new generation is looking for the next crop of superstars to brag to their grandchildren about one day. Along with Jeter and Pujols we have some other super athletes whose names deserve to be mentioned among the best to ever play the game but they have the steroid asterisk that follows them around like their own shadow. Baseball, who is so deeply rooted in tradition, has all but turned their back on these players. PED's or not Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez are two of the best players to ever play the game, and no matter how many drugs you take nothing helps you hit a round ball with a long rounded bat other than exceptional hand-eye coordination.

Enter Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, two incredible talents that will be idols of so many kids growing up for the next 10-to-15 years. Rightfully so, their talent comes with immense pressure maybe more so on Harper than Trout who is playing on the west coast in laid back sunny California. This might explain why Trout's numbers are so astronomically good. The No. 1 overall pick  in the 2010 Bryce Harper who was called up this season for the Washington Nationals has played well yet rightfully so had trouble living up to his unattainable expectations. Through 75 games this season Harper is batting .272 with 9HR's 29RBI and 13SB's; good numbers for a rookie adjusting to major league pitching but average at best in most offensive categories. One metric that has been widely accepted as one of the more important tools to measure a players value is WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Harper's WAR is 1.3 tied with 8 other players ranking him in the mid 50's among all qualifying NL'ers.

The American League has it's own version of Bryce Harper, the Angels Mike Trout. While many fans may not know as much they do about Harper, Mike Trout is well known among baseball's brain-trusts. Keith Law of ESPN ranked Trout the No. 1 prospect in 2011 on his top 100 list. Even more impressive than him being one of the top minor league prospect in years is the way he was able to adapt and demolish major league pitching so quickly.  Through the same 75 games Trout leads the American League in batting avg, runs, and stolen bases(.357/71/31). Trout also ranks tops in the American League with a WAR of 5.0 second in the majors only to Andrew McCutchen who has a WAR of 5.8.

There are a couple of things certain. One is that Major League Baseball is safe and strong for years to come, passing it's torch to players like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Another is that while all of the hype may be about Bryce Harper and his meteoric rise, it's Mike Trout who is not only one of the games best rookies, but he's also one of the games best all around players period. As far as the comparisons to Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, well have to save them for another article maybe 3-to-5 years and 2-to-3 World Series titles down the road.

For other great sports stories check out Next Level Sports Network.

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