Harper or Trout? Kershaw, maybe? What about Goldschmidt?
Fantasy baseball players around the country are asking themselves this question as they prepare for their drafts.
Who do I pick if I get the first selection?
I had the luxury of picking first overall in my fantasy draft earlier this month and asked myself the same question. Heck, I was so unsure about the pick I ran a poll on Twitter as to who I should take.
Sixty percent of you said Mike Trout should be leading my outfield; 40 percent chose Harper. Some even replied in favor of Kershaw.
Believe me, I took every argument into consideration. This includes the argument that Harper could walk even more in 2016 than 2015 due to getting pitched around or even being intentionally walked overall, possibly limiting his production. (Harper, mind you, led the National League in walks last season too.)
I thought about stolen bases, where both players have let up since their rookie years, when they had plus speed.
Continually, though, I was drawn to the upside of Harper and the fact that he could be even better in 2016 than he was in his NL MVP campaign last year.
Harper has 50+ home run power. He has the ability to drive in 120 runs. He could steal 10 to 15 bases and walk 200 times. He could do all this while hitting at a .310 clip or better.
By OPS+, Bryce Harper had the best season in 2015 since Barry Bonds' 2004. And the thing is: I don't think he's done getting better.
Does Trout have the same type of ceiling to tap into?
I think what we've seen from the Angels' center fielder is what we are going to get. He's a .280 to .300 hitter, hits 30 home runs, and drives in 100 RBI. But Trout's done that every single season; Harper has only one excellent season under his belt.
Thinking about this, I continued to dream about Harper's upside and how he would be the player to carry me to fantasy glory.
Now this does not mean I think Harper is a better player than Trout.
If I was building a Major League team from scratch, I'd choose Mike Trout over Bryce Harper.
Trout carries unquantifiable traits that Harper has yet to fully develop. He's a leader and a great teammate.
But do those show up in the fantasy box score? I think not.
This is why when I was sitting at my computer, picking first overall, Bryce Harper was my selection without hesitation.