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Tuesday 22nd Aug 2017

One thing I have noticed since the end of the 2012 season are the constant projections and comparisons between Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

It is true, both of these young players had terrific seasons, and in fairness, though Harper’s season was terrific for such a young player, Trout’s was truly among the best campaigns in recent times (and Trout did not even break the starting lineup last year until May).

However, in Oakland another rookie outfielder made his first splash in the Majors, falling somewhat in the shadows of the Bryce/Mike conundrum. That outfielder is Yoenis Cespedes, and somehow when excited talk arises about Harper and Trout, the first year Athletic never seems to come up.

Similarly, in drafts—both mock and real I have done this year—while Trout is a first rounder without question, and Harper seems to be a second rounder, Cespedes has generally fallen to the third round, being drafted behind his two illustrious compatriots.

In fact, as my mate Todd pointed out, on the NFBC ADP Harper is #24 while Cespedes is #32, and I have to wonder why?

Especially considering their respective offensive numbers of last year, so, let’s do a comparison (age is Opening Day, 2013 age).

Player

Age

PA

AB

H

TB

R

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVG

OPS

Cespedes

27

540

487

142

246

70

23

82

16

43

102

.292

.861

Harper

20

597

533

144

254

98

22

59

18

56

120

.270

.817

Trout

21

639

559

182

315

129

30

83

49

67

139

.326

.963

It is true that Cespedes, who will be 27 during the 2013 season, has a few years on Trout and Harper. But, while Trout and Harper had the advantage of adjusting to the Majors in their native culture, and after some time in the Minors, Cespedes' first time as a pro was bereft of either of those things.

Further, while I was looking at this fabulous troika’s offensive numbers, I also noticed some size similarities, and that made me wonder about their respective defense. So, Table II, below, represents that comparison. (Note that the outfield positions represent games started at the spot).

Player

Height

Weight

LF

CF

RF

PO

A

E

DP

Cespedes

5’10”

210

49

45

0

221

9

3

0

Harper

6’3”

215

7

41

86

311

8

7

3

Trout

6’1”

210

29

108

1

340

3

4

1

In fact, thanks to the late call-ups for Harper and Trout, along with Cespedes' one issue, leg problems, all three even started the same number of games within ten with Cespedes at 129 (26 of which were at DH), and Harper and Trout both at 139.

Still, while I can see the luster that belongs to Trout, it is hard to understand why Harper and Cespedes fall so far from him. That is, Trout has gone no lower than fourth in any draft I have done so far, meaning if Cespedes is selected at #32, there is a 29-player discrepancy between the two.

And, that does not seem right.

It will be interesting to see how this trio of great youngsters performs not just in 2013, but over the sum of their careers.

And, while there might be the Sophomore Jinx and regression looming, so is the drill of a first season under their belts.

The bottom line is I think we are lucky to see three talents like this all appearing as rookies in the same season. As with so many other great players, we will be able to tell the next generation that we saw them when they were young.

How cool is that?

Comments   

0 #9 OaktownSteve 2013-02-12 04:06
Yeah, he won me over as well. I probably won't be a Harper owner this year.

Just a thought, the last two major sophomore stinker seasons: Heyward then Hosmer. Harper makes it triple H?
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0 #8 John Pausma 2013-02-12 03:35
Harper went 2.03 tonight in a slow draft that has a lot of experienced players in it. I think Todd is right - at least a second round pick.
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0 #7 OaktownSteve 2013-02-10 17:36
You're probably right. Thanks for dropping the knowledge.
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0 #6 Todd Zola 2013-02-10 15:51
Second round in the Main Event Classic - BOOK IT 8)

FWIW, Lawr posts a column with KFFL every Tuesday and we do the Round Table on Wednesday. In return, we have their excellent news feed on our home page.
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0 #5 OaktownSteve 2013-02-10 15:45
Just read the Roundtable. Interesting takes. Thanks for pointing me over there.

There's an interesting dynamic there. Looking at a couple of different rankings you'll see that Harper was basically around 60-70 overall in fantasy without a full season of PAs. So if you give him a full season and some incremental progress then he looks like a 3rd rounder in NFBC. I can see some people reaching for him, but I betcha he doesn't climb much higher than he already has in ADP for the reasons I mentioned. We'll see though.

Again, thanks for the thoughts and the KFFL tip. Don't read that site regularly but adding it to my rotation now.
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0 #4 Todd Zola 2013-02-10 15:15
I think you'll find the mainstream fantasy crowd (maybe not yours) even more optimistic. Harper's NFBC ADP is 3rd round and climbing. It will be 2nd round by March and he'll be a late 1st rounder in some leagues.

Bottom line -- everyone on the block wants to be the first one to own the shiny new toy.
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0 #3 OaktownSteve 2013-02-10 14:54
Re: Harper

I think that's true in certain circles. I think maybe I'm thinking of more of mass marketplace of fantasy players than a roundtable of experts. I think that there are those who do see Harper having his time being now but I also think there are those who subscribe to a sophomore jinx or who want to see more sample size so that on aggregate the average feeling and the A in ADP is a bit more reserved.

I think the reason that it's not applying to Trout as heavily is the speed factor I mentioned above, but maybe even more importantly is the recency effect of that god-like year last year. The average player can't resist the allure of what happened last year.
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0 #2 Todd Zola 2013-02-10 06:17
You may want to check out the Round Table we do for KFFL -- the expectations for Harper are more than incremental.

http://www.kffl.com/a.php/132837/fantasy-baseball/Fantasy-Baseball-Round-Table--Bryce-Harper-s-2013-value
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0 #1 OaktownSteve 2013-02-10 05:19
Don't have any numbers, but as a careful observer of the A's I can't shake the feeling that Cespedes is going to be nicked up or worse this year and going forward. Just something about his body type and his max effort swing and the way he runs the bases. I feel like maybe bubbling below the surface, fairly or not, might be a worry that Cespedes will get linked to PEDs at some point.

I think the allure of Trout is that people assume that the stolen bases give him a very high floor from a fantasy perspective. If he goes 15/50 this year and hits .280+ he's going to score a ton of runs in that line up. Still solid numbers.

I think folks feel like Harper will make incremental progress this year at best and that his best, break out, years are another year or two down the road.

None of these are projections, of course. Just opinions on my read of the fantasy market place.
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