Are Mike Trout and Bryce Harper the best rookie duo ever?

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper won Rookie of the Year in their respective leagues. (US Presswire)

Is Trout the greatest rookie ever?

It's not exactly uncommon to be excited about the future when the Rookie of the Year winners are announced -- it's part of their charm. Although the voting is done on what a rookie did that season and not what he's expected to become, there's always some optimism toward the Rookie of the Year, whether it's Bob Hamelin or Albert Pujols.

This year, though, there may be even more, because we saw one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time and the debut of perhaps the most hyped prospect of all time. Both Mike Trout and Bryce Harper delivered, and they did so in historic fashion.

Although WAR certainly has its detractors, and there's a difference between WAR for hitters and pitchers, it's not exactly apples and oranges, more like grapefruit and oranges -- they're both citrus fruits. Still, it's a fun exercise. Trout's 10.7 WAR (the Baseball-Reference.com version) was one of the best seasons in baseball history, so it's no surprise he and Harper combined for the best total WAR for a pair of Rookie of the Year winners in baseball history. Harper's 5.0 WAR was the best among National League rookies, bettering second-place finisher Wade Miley (3.2) and third-place Todd Frazier (1.9).

Here are the top 10 Rookie of the Year combos:

Best combined rookie seasons
Baseball-Reference.com wins above replacement used
Year AL Rookie of the Year WAR NL Rookie of the Year WAR Combined WAR
2012 Mike Trout 10.7 Bryce Harper 5.0 15.7
1964 Tony Oliva 6.6 Dick Allen 8.5 15.1
2001 Ichiro Suzuki 7.5 Albert Pujols 6.3 13.8
1975 Fred Lynn 7.1 John Montefusco 6.2 13.3
1976 Mark Fidrych 9.3 Butch Metzger/Pat Zachry 1.3/3.4 12.7*
1993 Tim Salmon 4.9 Mike Piazza 6.8 11.7
1984 Alvin Davis 5.7 Dwight Gooden 5.4 11.1
1997 Nomar Garciaparra 6.5 Scott Rolen 4.3 10.8
1968 Stan Bahnsen 5.4 Johnny Bench 4.9 10.3
1970 Thurman Munson 5.3 Carl Morton 3.8 9.1

Those, however, are just the single-season WAR numbers, which is all we really have to judge either Trout or Harper at this point. The future, though, seems bright. There are 14 former Rookie of the Year winners in the Hall of Fame, and there are three years in which both Rookie of the Year winners eventually were enshrined in Cooperstown -- 1956 (Luis Aparicio and Frank Robinson), 1967 (Rod Carew and Tom Seaver) and 1977 (Eddie Murray and Andre Dawson), plus another that at this point looks like it will join those three great years for rookies in 2001 (Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols).

More recent vintage seasons that look like they have had two very successful players win Rookie of the Year included 2006 (Justin Verlander and Hanley Ramirez) and 2007 (Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Braun).

Oh, and just for fun, here's your bottom-10 combos:

Worst combined rookie seasons
Baseball-Reference.com wins above replacement used
Year AL Rookie of the Year WAR NL Rookie of the Year WAR Combined WAR
1980 Joe Charboneau 2.2 Steve Howe 0.3 2.5
1958 Albie Pearson 0.6 Orlando Cepeda 2.7 3.3
1971 Chris Chambliss 0.3 Earl Williams 3.0 3.3
1962 Tom Tresh 4.1 Ken Hubbs -0.3 3.8
1996 Derek Jeter 3.0 Todd Hollandsworth 0.9 3.9
1983 Ron Kittle 1.6 Darryl Strawberry 2.4 4.0
1994 Bob Hamelin 2.4 Raul Mondesi 1.6 4.0
1959 Bob Allison 1.1 Willie McCovey 3.0 4.1
1961 Don Schwall 3.4 Billy Williams 0.8 4.2
1992 Pat Listach 4.2 Eric Karros 0.2 4.4

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