The amount of hype surrounding the drafting and development of both Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper is something completely unprecedented in baseball. Some of the hysteria can be attributed to the sports media who are always looking for the next best thing and at times can embellish the potential of young stars. But most of the excitement surrounding these two standouts stems from their flat-out God-given talent.
What’s interesting, however, is that while you hear a lot about the talent of these two players mentioned in the same breaths, you very rarely hear much about the two interacting or even speaking about one another. This makes sense, of course, when you consider that Strasburg was focusing on recovering from Tommy John during Harpermania, and by the time the right-handed starter was back in the mound in Washington, Harper was shut down for the year.
In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune this week, Strasburg contrasted his experience with the hype to the way that Harper has handled it.
“Harper handles it differently than I would,” said Strasburg. “There’s nothing wrong with the way he handles it. That can work to his advantage to some extent. I’ve talked to him a few times about it. He’s a great kid, a young kid who comes from a different situation.
“Me being a college guy, I got a chance to kinda slowly move into it, whereas he was 16 on the cover of Sports Illustrated.”
From what I’ve heard from people within the industry, this sounds about right. While both are major competitors, Strasburg is much more reserved and is not used to handling the public spotlight, while Harper welcomes it. From everything I gather, Stephen Strasburg wants to be the best pitcher in baseball, while Bryce Harper wants to be the best and most famous player in the sport. Neither approach is particularly better than the other, but it should be interesting watch both personalities develop in Washington.