MLB Notebook: Harper, Trout stout with bats

MLB Notebook: Harper, Trout stout with bats

MLB Notebook: Harper, Trout stout with bats
By the All-Star break, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout -- if they stay healthy -- should each have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.

If they do, and if they maintain a close enough resemblance to their plate work to date, then it might be time to start thinking about Mel Ott in 1928, Ty Cobb in '06, Alex Rodriguez in '96, or Al Kaline in '55.

Ott owned a 139 OPS+ in his age-19 season, probably the best teenage season ever produced on the offensive side, while Cobb put up a 132 OPS+ in his age-19 season, albeit in 98 games played. In his age-20 season, Kaline batted .340 to lead the league, and in 1996, Rodriguez -- in his age-20 season -- also won the batting title with a .358 mark and posted an OPS+ of 161.

With each additional command performance in 2012, Harper and Trout make these associations more interesting to ponder.

• The Nationals -- behind Edwin Jackson's eight innings of two-run ball and Harper's three hits -- defeated the Blue Jays, 6-3. Washington has won four in a row and six of its last seven.

• Jackson's line gave the Nationals a total of 31 games in which their starter went at least six innings and allowed no more than two runs. Those 31 tie the Nats with the Marlins for the second most in the Majors, behind the Athletics' total of 32.

• Harper's line (3-for-4, two runs, one RBI, one walk) lifted his slash line for the season to .295/.381/.527. Only one player in baseball history has ever finished his age-19 season (or younger) by qualifying for the batting title and slugging over .500: Ott in 1928. That year, Ott -- in his age-19 season -- posted a .322/.397/.524 line.

• The Angels defeated the Dodgers, 3-2, with leadoff hitter Trout going 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk.

• In each of his last four games, Trout has scored at least two runs and collected at least two hits. He is the first Angels player with four consecutive games of two or more hits and two or more runs scored since Fred Lynn had four straight in 1984.

• Trout made his 2012 debut on April 28. Entering that game, the Angels were 6-14 and already nine games out of first place in the Ameircan League West. Since April 28, the club has gone 27-15 and now sits 2 1/2 games off the division lead.

• Trout's slash line currently stands at .354/.412/.565. The highest batting average since 1901 for a qualifying player in his age-20 season was Rodriguez's .358 in 1996, with that mark followed by Cobb's .350 in '07 and Kaline's .340 in '55.

• Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus went 1-for-4 with his ninth home run of the season, a first-inning shot that was estimated at 443 feet. In 10 games in June, Rasmus is batting .302 with a .558 slugging percentage. In April, he compiled a .232/.427 combination, and he followed that up with a .237/.430 line in May.

• Josh Johnson (seven innings, four hits, one run) and two Marlins relievers combined on a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts as Miami defeated Boston, 4-1. On May 4, Johnson allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings and saw his season ERA rise to 6.61 in six starts. Since then, he has made seven starts and has allowed 14 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings, for a 2.70 ERA. Johnson lowered his career ERA to 3.10, which is the lowest in Marlins history for any pitcher with a minimum of 500 innings. Johnson is ahead of Josh Beckett (his mound opponent in Monday night's start), who posted a 3.46 ERA in 609 innings with the club, pitching for them from 2001-05.

• Jose Reyes went 1-for-4 with his fourth triple of the season, giving him 103 for his career. The 103 triples tie Reyes with Tom Daly and Home Run Baker for 146th on the all-time list, and place Reyes third among active players. Among active players, Carl Crawford has 112, Johnny Damon owns 108, and Jimmy Rollins sits right behind Reyes, with 102. All time among switch-hitters, Reyes' 103 are tied with Daly for 11th all-time, with Rollins all alone in 13th place.

Yankees 1918-2012: Most Wins First 50 Games
Wins Pitchers
29 Mel Stottlemyre
28 Tiny Bonham, Vic Raschi, Orlando Hernandez
27 Johnny Allen
26 Hank Borowy, Whitey Ford
25 Spud Chandler, Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Ivan Nova

• Ivan Nova (seven innings, five hits) and four relievers combined on a five-hit shutout and the Yankees defeated the Braves, 3-0.

• The Yankees have won 14 of their last 18 games, with the team ERA sitting at 2.82 over this stretch.

• Nova made his 50th career appearance, and picked up his 25th career victory. Those 25 wins through his first 50 games tie Nova with Spud Chandler, Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang for the eighth most of any Yankees pitcher since 1918.

• Rodriguez doubled and scored twice in the Yankees' victory. All time, Rodriguez is 13th in runs, one behind Ott (1,859) for 12th on the list. The double was A-Rod's 1,168th career extra-base hit, leaving him 18 behind Frank Robinson for ninth on the all-time list. Rodriguez is also directly behind Robinson on the all-time list for total bases, with 5,309. Robinson stands in 11th place, with 5,373.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.