Tag: Alex Rodriguez

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper

History in the making: Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are baseball’s best players at 23 and 22


I know they both receive plenty of attention, but while looking over the All-Star rosters it struck me that we’re seeing something truly special with Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper being the two best players in baseball at ages 23 and 22.

Trout, the reigning MVP, leads the American League in home runs, slugging percentage, runs scored, and Wins Above Replacement at age 23.

Harper, an All-Star in 2012 and 2013 having a spectacular breakout season, leads the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and Wins Above Replacement at age 22.

Players who’re that great and that young just don’t come around very often, so two of them dominating baseball at the same time is amazing. Here are a couple stats to illustrate my point, via Baseball-Reference.com’s indispensable “Play Index.”

First, here are the highest OPS totals ever posted by a 22-year-old:

1.287 – Ted Williams, 1941
1.168 – BRYCE HARPER, 2015
1.085 – Joe DiMaggio, 1937
1.066 – Jimmie Foxx, 1930
1.026 – Eddie Mathews, 1954

Harper will probably come back down to earth a bit in the second half, but still seems likely to finish the season with an OPS solidly above 1.000. Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, and Eddie Mathews are the only 22-year-olds in baseball history to top a 1.025 OPS and they’re all in the Hall of Fame.

As the reigning AL MVP and many people’s pick to win the award in 2012 and 2013 as well Trout has been doing the historic excellence thing for longer than Harper, so here are the highest career Wins Above Replacement totals compiled by hitters through the end of their age-23 seasons:

36.0 – Ty Cobb
34.2 – Ted Williams
31.4 – Mel Ott
30.1 – Ken Griffey Jr.
29.7 – Mickey Mantle
27.7 – Alex Rodriguez

Incredible company and here’s the thing: Trout still has two-and-a-half months remaining in his age-23 season, which means there’s a very strong chance he’ll pass Ted Williams and Ty Cobb to sit atop that list.

I realize “Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are both really good and really young” isn’t exactly a ground-breaking revelation, but I’m still not sure that we fully grasp the level of young greatness we’re witnessing right now.

Alex Rodriguez has a decent shot at tying or surpassing Babe Ruth next season

Alex Rodriguez

Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez smacked his 17th home run of the season in the first inning on Friday night against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. Thus continues Rodriguez’s terrific season. Along with the 17 round-trippers, he has knocked in 48 runs while batting .279/.384/.511. Despite not making the 2015 American League All-Star roster, Rodriguez is rated as the ninth-best hitter in the league according to the Sabermetric statistics weighted on-base average. The 15 other players in the AL’s top-16 are All-Stars.

Anyway. Rodriguez now has 671 home runs in his career, leaving him 43 home runs shy of tying Babe Ruth for third on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard at 714. A-Rod is currently on pace to finish with 32 home runs (15 more the rest of the way), which would put him at 686. That means Rodriguez would need to hit 28 home runs next year to tie Ruth and 29 to pass him. That doesn’t seem unreasonable, even though Rodriguez will be 40 years old.

This will, however, be the first season in which Rodriguez has hit more than 18 home runs since 2010. If he hits the 30-homer threshold, he’ll have done something he hasn’t accomplished in half a decade. But if he can do it at 39, he can do it at 40, right?

Imagine where Rodriguez would be if he didn’t need to undergo knee surgery in 2011, suffer a hand injury in 2012, require hip surgery in 2013, and miss all of 2014 due to his PED suspension.

Clay Buchholz exits Friday’s start against the Yankees with elbow tightness

Clay Buchholz

Update (8:44 PM EST): Buchholz left with tightness in his right elbow, Sean McAdam of CSN New England reports.


Red Sox starter exited Friday’s start due to an injury, presumably. He was tended to by manager John Farrell and the team trainer briefly before leaving the mound.

Buchholz had recorded one out in the fourth inning of Friday’s start against the Yankees, having allowed just one run on an Alex Rodriguez solo home run in the first. He gave up six hits overall, walked none, and struck out three on 59 pitches. Robbie Ross, Jr. relieved Buchholz and allowed two of his inherited runners to score, charged to Buchholz as unearned runs thanks to errors by Mike Napoli and Brock Holt.

We’ll update you on Buchholz’s status as more is learned.