ANAHEIM >> When Andrelton Simmons was with the Atlanta Braves, Bryce Harper was a frequent opponent and Mike Trout was only a man on TV within the different league.
Again then, Simmons stated, he thought the 2 gamers have been in an analogous class.
“Then I noticed Mike each day,” Simmons stated, “and now it’s like, ‘No, this man is healthier.’”
Comparisons between Trout and Harper have been frequent ever since they got here to the large leagues as two of the highest prospects within the sport. Though Trout obtained to the majors first for sporadic enjoying time in 2011, they each reached the majors for good on April 28, 2012, a coincidence that will sooner or later be famous in Cooperstown.
Trout, 25, and Harper, 24, nonetheless share spots on the brief listing of the sport’s elite. Though Trout’s consistency has clearly separated him from Harper, the 2 are nonetheless usually talked about in the identical dialog.
And on Tuesday they’ll be on the identical subject.
With the Washington Nationals assembly the Angels in a two-game interleague sequence beginning Tuesday, Trout and Harper will share a subject for simply the fourth and fifth instances within the common season. The Angels performed three video games in Washington in 2014. The Angels will return to Washington for 2 video games in August.
“It’s all the time enjoyable to play in opposition to guys like that,” Trout stated.
Trout stated he and Harper are solely pleasant acquaintances from their uncommon instances collectively on the sector, courting to their time as teenage teammates within the Arizona Fall League in 2011. Since they’ve been within the majors, their paths have crossed largely at All-Star Video games.
Despite the fact that they’ve little on-field historical past to type a rivalry within the vein of Tom Brady-Peyton Manning, Steph Curry-LeBron James or Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin, they may nonetheless be related.
“I feel all through my profession and his profession, we’ll all the time be linked collectively as a result of we got here up collectively,” Trout stated.
To the gamers who’ve seen them each up shut, there are many similarities.
“Each are in a distinct league,” stated Angels outfielder Ben Revere, who performed for years in opposition to Harper with the Philadelphia Phillies and final yr as his teammate in Washington. “They’ve obtained the God-given expertise to take over a ballgame. They’re five-tool guys, the faces of main league baseball. It’s superb seeing them each day.
“Taking part in in opposition to them, you realize they’ll do some injury 9 out of 10 instances. They’re nice gamers.”
Their personas are additionally extra related than you would possibly anticipate, in line with their shared teammates.
The view from the tv display screen of Trout is of somebody who’s all the time smiling, who by no means argues with umpires, costs the mound or confronts reporters. In contrast, Harper appears to have rather more of an edge on the sector. He has been ejected, has been on the middle of bench-clearing incidents and has even gotten into no less than one very public scrap with a teammate within the dugout.
Revere, nevertheless, stated that Trout is extra of a “bulldog” than you might suppose, and Harper is extra of a “jokester.”
“I do know it doesn’t appear that manner, however he’s an general good man,” Revere stated of Harper.
Danny Espinosa spent 5 years with Harper in Washington and was Trout’s teammate this season, till he was designated for task on Sunday. He stated the totally different pictures of the 2 gamers is partly associated to the totally different manner the media portrays them.
“East Coast is a distinct monster, with the media and every thing else,” Espinosa stated. “It’s a must to take care of that as an 18-19 yr previous. … Off the sector, Bryce is a superb man. In all probability the picture you see typically just isn’t one of the best illustration of him as an individual.”
The indeniable distinction between the 2 lies within the consistency of their efficiency, which is why it’s usually accepted that Trout is now one of the best participant within the recreation.
In Trout’s 5 full seasons, he received the MVP in 2014 and 2016 and completed second thrice. Harper received one MVP, in 2015, and has acquired just one vote in a single different season. He completed 30th in 2012, his rookie yr.
Trout’s lowest single-season OPS is .939. That may be Harper’s second greatest, trailing solely the 1.109 mark of his MVP season. Trout’s profession WAR, in line with FanGraphs, is 51.2, practically double Harper’s 27.zero.
“Trout does it day in and day trip,” Simmons stated. “It’s not simply when he’s sizzling. It’s very uncommon that he’s not sort of sizzling. He’s both actually sizzling or sort of sizzling. I’ve seen Harper chilly. I’ve seen him sizzling. I’ve seen him OK. That’s the distinction.”
Accidents have performed a job. Trout has been comparatively wholesome, by no means occurring the disabled listing till a thumb harm value him six weeks this season. Harper was on the disabled listing in 2013, 2014 and already briefly in 2017. There’s additionally a widespread perception that he performed a lot of 2016 with an harm, accounting for a dramatic drop in manufacturing. He had a 1.zero16 OPS on Might 22, across the time the baseball world was debating whether or not Harper had caught as much as Trout. Harper slumped the remainder of the season to complete at .814.
“I’m certain he was coping with one thing, however he didn’t need to make an enormous deal,” Espinosa stated. “He didn’t say something to us.”
Harper has made up for final yr’s decline in 2017, although. He’s having his second-best season, hitting .327 with 22 homers and a 1.038 OPS. Trout is hitting .337 with 16 homers and a 1.171 OPS.
“He’s having an unbelievable season,” Trout stated. “He’s clearly bouncing again from final yr. it’s good to see. It’s good for the sport.”