Washington Nations center fielder Bryce Harper and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout are the future of Major League Baseball. Harper is only 20 years old and Trout is just 21, but they are already two of the game’s biggest superstars after their breakout seasons in 2012.
Dan Haren, who pitched for the Angels last season and is now with the Nats, has had an opportunity to spend time with both young phenoms.
“They’re different players, definitely,” Haren told the Washington Post earlier this week. “I really enjoyed my time with Mike. We got along really well. They’re very different, and they’re very similar. They’re both – sometimes, if you look from an opposing team’s standpoint, you don’t like Bryce or you don’t like Trout. And then you get on their team and it’s the opposite. You kind of see how they are and you like them.
“They both are on the borderline of confident and arrogant, you know? But I think that’s what takes them to the next level. They think that they’re better than everybody else. That’s probably a good way to think. Skills-wise, they have different skill sets. Bryce might have more power. Trout has more speed. I don’t think they’ve even reached their potentials.”
Conveniently enough, both players appeared in 139 games last season. Trout certainly has more speed, as evidenced by his 49 stolen bases compared to Harper’s 18. It would also stand to reason that Trout has more power and is a better overall hitter. Trout hit 30 homers and drove in 83 runs to go along with a .326 batting average. He nearly won the AL MVP. Harper belted 22 homers and drove 59 runs with an average of only .270.
Based on last season alone, it’s easier to make the case that Trout is a better player. Let us also not forget the insane plays like this and this that he made in the field. However, it would be ridiculous to jump to conclusions like that after one season in the majors when neither player has even hit age 22. Harper may have the hotter girlfriend, but Trout put up better numbers in 2012. Are they similar? Yes. But at the moment Trout gets the nod. Something tells me they’ll be neck and neck for a long, long time.