Through three+ seasons in the majors with the Los Angeles Angels, 22-year-old, 2009 1st Round pick Mike Trout has a .314/.402/.548 line with 78 doubles, 18 triples and 67 HRs in 354 games and 1,573 PAs, over which he's been worth a total of +22.8 fWAR.
Trout is coming off a .323/.432/.557, 39 double, nine triple, 27 HR campaign in 2013 in which he finished at +10.4 fWAR (up from +10.0 in 2012).
Bryce Harper was 19 when finished at +4.5 fWAR in his rookie campaign in 2012, posting a .270/.340/.477 line with 26 doubles, nine triples and 22 HRs in 139 games and 597 PAs. A knee injury cost the 20-year-old Harper a month on the DL last season and he made 100 fewer appearances at the plate than he did in his first year, as he put up a 274/.368/.486 line over 118 games and 497 PAs in which he hit 24 doubles, three triples and 20 HRs, finishing his second major league season at +3.8 fWAR, for a combined +8.3 fWAR in his first two campaigns.
While baseball's two young stars have been compared since the start, this week they face each other on the field for the first time and they talked with reporters who wanted to know what each of them felt of the constant comparisons:
Mike Trout on Bryce Harper: "He's a max effort guy... well, except for that lack of hustle the other day." #Angels #Nationals— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) April 21, 2014
Trout on Harper: 'He plays really hard, except for that lack of hustle the other day.' He talked to Bryce about it, Harper understood move.— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) April 21, 2014
Mike Trout speaking to media with a bunch of curly Ws behind him: pic.twitter.com/ZkMecixBDL— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) April 21, 2014
Mike Trout on what Harper skill he likes: "That he plays the game hard. Max effort every time. Except for the lack of hustle the other day."— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) April 21, 2014
Harper on comparing himself to Trout: "Not at all. I know I'm a damn good player. And he is, too."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) April 21, 2014
Nats' manager Matt Williams was asked for his take on the comparisons of the two players before this afternoon's series opener in the nation's capital.
In particular, a reporter wondered if he worried at all that Harper would be pressing or would have to deal with added pressure with the matchup getting so much coverage.
"Bryce wants to get a hit every time up," Williams said. "Just like everybody else does. So, just because it's this series or Mike Trout, I don't think there's any added pressure on it. He's as passionate about the game as anybody. I don't see any issue with it. Certainly, like everybody else on the team, I want him to get a good pitch to hit and hit it and play. But the added stuff? I don't think so."
The comparisons, Williams admitted, are probably not fair for either of the two supremely-talented players.
"I don't think it's fair," the former major leaguer-turned-manager said. "Everybody brings a different set of tools to the table. And Bryce is one of our main guys and we rely on him. And the Angels rely on Mike.
"So, the comparison is natural I think because of all that's been written and all that's been documented and their timelines and all that, but it's probably a little unfair to compare them because they're two very different players. They both have exceptional tools and exceptionally high ceilings, but to compare them? I don't think Bryce compares himself to Mike or vice-versa and we certainly don't do that either."
[ed. note - "This post was pulled from tonight's post game, so it will appear again there with updates from tonight's action."]