Alex Rodriguez says he relates to Bryce Harper, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16, the No. 1 overall pick at 17 and the Rookie of the Year at 19.
"I can't speak for Bryce, but for myself, the most normal part of the day was from 3 p.m. to midnight when I was at the stadium," Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. "The most challenging is what happens before and after."
Rodriguez was also the top pick at 17. He made his Major League debut three weeks before his 19th birthday. Despite the parallels, Rodriguez says the culture has changed since he won a batting title at age 20.
"The pressure that he's under doesn’t even compare," Rodriguez said. "His is so much harder, so much more challenging than when I came up. We didn't have any of the social media stuff. I give Bryce a lot of credit for how he's handling everything."
Many have labeled Harper as brash or arrogant because of the hype surrounding him and his confidence on the field, but Rodriguez disagrees.
"I love everything about him," Rodriguez said. "I like players that play hard. He wears his emotion on his sleeve, he's a gamer and he's a winner. As a fan of baseball, I would pay big money to watch him play — especially to watch him hit."