Because simply being the best player in the league as a 20-year-old wasn’t nearly enough for Mike Trout, the Angels outfielder celebrated his 21st birthday last night by homering against the A’s.
ESPN’s stats department found that Trout joins Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, and Jason Heyward as the only players to homer on their 21st birthday since 1939.
Which goes nicely with Trout joining Williams, Rodriguez, and Mel Ott as the only 20-year-olds with an OPS above 1.000.
Trout has played 88 games since being called up by the Angels in late April and prorating his numbers for a full, 162-game season looks like this: .348 batting average, .409 on-base percentage, .601 slugging percentage, 1.009 OPS, 37 homers, 38 doubles, 10 triples, 68 walks, 66 steals, 110 RBIs, 161 runs.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.