Everyone thinks Machado and Trout are better than Harper


Buster Olney has a great blog. Yeah, ya gotta pay the ESPN Insider fee, but it’s worth it.

On Wednesday, he dropped this bomb:

One of baseball’s most popular debates in the past year has involved two players: Mike Trout or Bryce Harper?

Harper is perceived to have more power, Trout more speed. Trout is thought to have more range, Harper the better arm.

But it’s time that the conversation over the sport’s best young player be changed. It must include a third player — the Orioles’ Manny Machado. In the year that Harper was drafted No. 1 overall, Machado was chosen two picks later, and the 20-year-old has continued to be overshadowed by Harper and Trout. He arrived in the big leagues a few months after the two last season, and hasn’t had the sort of attention that the other two have had.

This season, however, Machado has blossomed, hitting .315 in his first 65 games, with 34 extra-base hits (including 27 doubles) and 41 runs. Already, Machado is regarded as one of baseball’s best defenders on the left side of the infield.

I informally polled a bunch of talent evaluators around the sport about how they would rank the three players, and based on their answers, Machado already is viewed as a player comparable to the other two — and there already is concern over Harper’s ability to stay healthy.

Total number of votes: 9. Points are based on 3-2-1 system. Here are the results:

Trout: 22
Machado: 17 1/2
Harper: 14 1/2

That’s right, our once-in-a-generation talent is apparently third in his generation. Here are some of the comments from those who voted:

  • Machado is really good and actually I think is the best bet of the three for the longest and most productive career — the best bet for the Hall of Fame…Somebody has to be third and it’s Harper for me (as it would have been last year) because of the effort in his game and long-term durability concerns
  • I actually think Machado is the most skilled of the three
  • Trout and Harper are both physical strength guys who have linebacker mentality. They may go through injuries and also may struggle later (5-7 years from now) like Kirk Gibson, Bo Jackson…Grady Sizemore is similar to a Harper. The mentality to be overly physical hurts players, and outfielders have more wear and tear physically

Bryce Harper doesn’t seem to lack confidence. He seems determined to be great. But in case he needs a little bulletin board material, Buster Olney just gave him some.



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