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What if Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were teammates?
It could've happened if the Washington Nationals
knew in 2009 what we all know now about Trout

a sure fire Hall of Famer.
The Nationals had back-to-back No. 1 overall
picks in the 2009 and 2010 MLB draft.

But instead of drafting Trout, the Nationals
selected Stephen Strasburg in 2009, and then

they took Harper in 2010.
So why Strasburg, and not Trout?
Strasburg was a star.
He was an NCAA National Pitcher of the Year,
a 13-1 record a 1.32 ERA at San Diego State.

He had the triple-digit fastball, size, strength
and poise that made him the complete package.

He was a seemingly perfect fit for a Nationals
team that ranked near the bottom of the league

in ERA for several years.
But why wasn't Trout higher on draft boards?
The Nats weren't the only team that passed
on him, the majority of baseball did drafted

25th overall.
Trout did have the speed, athleticism, attitude,
upside and could even throw 90 on the mound.

But he did not have the location, not with
his fastball but where he was born.

In New Jersey where rainfall is higher than the national
average and lots of rainouts led to fewer games

which means scouts were less likely to show
up and they under-scouted Mike Trout.

He was considered more of a middle infielder,
a Craig Biggio-type.

And there were some concerns about his bat,
which Trout would prove woefully wrong and quickly.

Strasburg and Trout both made their first
All-Star appearance in 2012, a year in which

Trout also won Rookie of the Year and finished
second in MVP voting.

He had one of the best rookie seasons in Major
League Baseball history, he hit .326, 49 stolen bases and 30 home runs.

Strasburg's 2012 was good too 15-6, 3.16 ERA.
But he was already coming off Tommy John surgery
back in 2010.

He barely pitched in 2011, and was shutdown
in the 2012 season, did not pitch in the playoffs

when the Nationals lost to the Cardinals in
5 games.

The Nationals made the controversial decision
to value Strasburg's future rather than pitching

at the end of the season.
Overall, Strasburg has had only 1 year where
he made at least 30 starts, and 1 year where

he pitched over 200 innings.
His 2018 ended up with him back on the disabled

Meanwhile Trout has been an All Star 6 times
since 2012.

He's been named the AL MVP twice.
His .571 slugging percentage the highest of
any active player, and he ranks second among

active players in on-base percentage at .416.
Strasburg has made 3 All-Star Games and finished
third in the 2017 Cy Young Award race, but

staying healthy, being on the field has been
a major problem.

So what happens if the Nationals pick Trout
instead of Strasburg?

And follow that up with drafting Bryce Harper
like they did the following year.

Would the Nationals have won a World Series
by now?

Or at least their first playoff win since
relocating from Montreal?

The answer has to be yes.
Think back to the 2012 postseason.
Washington was an out away from advancing
to the NLCS before everything completely fell

They gave up 4 runs in the ninth in a colossal

Trout, if he's on that team, he puts that
game, or he helps put the series away before

it goes 5 games.
Or how about 2015?
The Nationals missed the playoffs completely.
Mainly because they were 8-11 against their
division rival the Mets, who eventually went

on to lose in the World Series that year.
Let's swap out the WAR of Trout in 2015 9.4
and Strasburg 1.9.

The Nationals would've narrowly pushed past
the Mets, made the playoffs and perhaps make

it to the World Series.
Imagine Trout on the Nationals with Harper,
think all-time great duos.

Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.
Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla.
Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.
Gary Sheffield and Andruw Jones.
The nicknames are endless.
Fire and Ice.
Thunder and Lightning.
Bash Brothers 2.0.
If Trout and Harper were teammates in 2015,
the year they both hit 40 home runs, imagine

facing them in the same lineup.
It would've been a nightmare for pitchers.
Stephen Strasburg has been great for Washington
when he's healthy but his impact pales in

comparison to a lineup that would've featured
Trout and Harper changing the Nationals place

in the National League.
Instead of being a team that under-delivers
time-and-time again in the postseason, the

Nationals could've been the team holding
the trophy.

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What if Mike Trout was drafted #1?

209 Folder Collection
Li Rose published on June 10, 2019
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