More Disappointing Career: Bryce Harper Or Mike Trout? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
Combined, this duo has won the same number of postseason series as we have, with one of them having never won a playoff game. Yet, both of these players, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, have been considered to be the best players in Major League Baseball at some point during their career. Leaving each of them in this conversation: Who has had a more disappointing professional career?
Mike Trout has become the poster child for all the things that stat people hold most dear. Except those same people forget baseball is a team game played by individuals, with their combined efforts, in theory, contributing towards one goal, wins.
Trout, who turns 30 this August, has won three American League MVP awards during his career and is, of course, favored again to do so because the media loves all their stats except those that include the letter W. The result is that Mike Trout is considered the best player in baseball by some, without having earned any team success with the Los Angeles Angels, which, for me, calls his “value” into question.
Unlike Trout, who is 0-3 in postseason games, Bryce Harper has been to four Divisional Series during his career, of course he too, is winless in those series, having won a combined seven of the 19 games he has taken the field for, all as a member of the Washington Nationals. Harper’s case as one of the best players in Major League Baseball took a hit when he headed up I-95 in 2019, and his former team won the World Series in their first year without him as his new team in Philadelphia has yet to reach the postseason with him on their roster at a very high annual price.
Call it branding, marketing or just having the right people on your side; but for Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, greatness may come between April and September, however, like many team sports, their legendary legacies are falling short. That’s because those are only built during the postseason, where each player has failed to reach more often than not and have failed each time they have make the playoffs. Herein lies the great debate: Because those who fall short of the postseason in team sports are often not held up to the same scrutiny as those, such as LeBron James, who do make it often, but come up short when playing for a championship.
Throughout history, many great baseball players have failed to win a championship; but unlike days gone by when only one team make the World Series from each league, today’s modern format is much more open for players with fewer stars to make the playoffs and get on a roll.
For Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, their teams have always been expected to do well, in part because of their presence, and yet have always fallen short of those expectations. How much of their team’s failures over the years can be blamed upon them is up for debate, which is what makes this conversation so interesting. That’s because each, it can be said, is part of their team’s success and failure, making what they do in meaningless games part of their overall achievements, helping them win awards, but not do what every player should be striving for, team success and World Series rings.
Sports are a difficult business since beating up on inferior teams is often rewarded, but as the stakes get higher, so too does the risk of failure and the backlash of questions and criticism. Both Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, from a purely team standpoint, have had disappointing careers, but for one, Harper, his regular seasons stats have not been as impressive as Trout’s while having the same level of postseason success, none. When you add in the success Washington had after he left the Nationals, Harper’s career seems more about living off the hype than living off what he has done in the Majors. Thus, making his career slightly more disappointing, which each player on the path of having one of those “What Ifs” next to their names if they stay in the same ruts they are now.
History remembers highlights; but they remember them better when they take place under the lights of the postseason, a place where both of these players have never done anything noteworthy.
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