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Don’t let 20-year-old Mike Trout be overshadowed by 19-year-old Bryce Harper

May 31, 2012, 12:46 PM EST

Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout scores on a sacrifice fly with New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin getting out of the way during the first inning of their MLB baseball game in Anaheim AP

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is getting all sorts of attention for doing things rarely done by 19-year-old hitters, and rightfully so, but Angels outfielder Mike Trout probably deserves a little more attention for doing things rarely done by 20-year-old hitters.

Trout doubled and drove in two runs against the Yankees last night and is now hitting .303 with a .366 on-base percentage and .521 slugging percentage in 30 games. That includes five homers, seven doubles, and two triples in 119 at-bats, plus eight steals in 10 attempts and some spectacular outfield defense.

Sure, he’s a year older and that’s a big part of the attention gap, but Trout tops Harper in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage while running more and being more valuable with his glove.

Trout’s current .887 OPS would be the highest by any 20-year-old since Alex Rodriguez in 1996 and in the entire history of baseball only Rodriguez, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Al Kaline, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson, and Mickey Mantle have posted a higher OPS at age 20 while qualifying for the batting title.

Trout has a long way to go to maintain that production for an entire season, but all seven of those guys are either in the Hall of Fame or will be some day. He might not get as much attention as Harper right now, but Trout has played even better and what he’s doing at age 20 is pretty incredible.

  1. jarathen - May 31, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    After a few weeks of Harper, it’s seemed that most of the blogs and sites I frequented have felt some sort of Mike Trout shame and are overcompensating a bit for not giving him as much attention.

    It’s okay. He debuted last year and wasn’t terribly great. Now he’s awesome, and it’s all great.

  2. ajcardsfan - May 31, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Maybe he just needs Cole Hamels to go “Old School” on his [Expletive] and he’ll get some attention

  3. Gardenhire's Cat - May 31, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/mike-trout-is-pretty-good-too/

  4. biasedhomer - May 31, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    I think Trout is the better player, we shall see…

    • Ben - May 31, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      Let’s check back in 10 years and see, huh? Kinda pointless to play that game now.

      • koufaxmitzvah - May 31, 2012 at 2:01 PM

        Yeah. Opinions suck unless you agree.

      • Ben - May 31, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        What? I didn’t say one way or another. I have no idea who’s better, Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. They’re both really really really good, and really young. Anything could happen. It’s pointless to speculate, because on the one hand developmentally Harper’s year makes a huge difference. On the other hand, Trout’s a really special player too. Who the hell knows who’s better?

      • jarathen - May 31, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        So many great young kids break down or fall off a cliff. I hope neither one does because that’s tragic, not fun. I hope these two are just the latest heroes of baseball, and I hope my son gets to grow up seeing Mike Trout play all summer long, and then someday realize how spoiled he was.

  5. robmar924 - May 31, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    While Trout is great, it doesnt hurt that hes in a lineup with Pujols and Trumbo who are both on fire. Harper doesnt see nearly as many hittable pitches because of how week the Nats lineup is around him. End game they will both probably be top 10 players in a couple years

    • madhatternalice - May 31, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      I’m not sure why you think this is factual? The Nats have a better team OPS than the Angels (.708 to .693). The Angels have one more HR, 7 more runs and 11 more total bases. The Angels have also played 2 more games than the Nats.

      Harper has the same number of walks that Trout does, and a handful less strikeouts.

      So…I’m not sure why you think lineups are contributing? Seems like they’re pretty even.

      • dondada10 - May 31, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        “The Angels have one more HR, 7 more runs and 11 more total bases. The Angels have also played 2 more games than the Nats.”

        …and a DH.

      • madhatternalice - May 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        @dondada10, that’s an excellent point!

    • marshmallowsnake - May 31, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      If either of those two batted directly behind Trout, this would be a valid point.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM

        I was just thinking, where does Trout hit in the lineup and has he been there the whole time? Harper has hit 1st, 8th, 2nd, and 3rd (I think, maybe once?) with the Nats. Obviously, hitting 8th didn’t get him too many pitches to hit.

      • marshmallowsnake - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        I have seen him at lead-off. Not sure if he was there each game.

    • judahbenhur - May 31, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      What are you talking about? It was Trout that got the team going, not the other way around. He sparked the team by not only setting the table, but stealing bags, great catches and hitting for power. He’s doing it all… Pujols and Trumbo followed, so let’s get it straight. The kid is Pete Rose with more power and speed. A special player that goes beyond good. He’s a once in a generation player who hasn’t begun to scratch the surface. He’ll be in the top 5 of players by the end of next year.

  6. ningenito78 - May 31, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Yeah agreed. The post about the Angels lineup being that much better than the Nats is uninformed at best.

  7. marshmallowsnake - May 31, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Seeing that his stat line for the same amount of plate appearances is better, he won’t be.

  8. robmar924 - May 31, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I’m just saying regardless of a tiny portion of a season worth of numbers, pitchers would rather pitch around Harper and face zimmerman and laroche than pujols and trumbo so Trout is seeing a few more good pitches per at bat. Thats not a knock on Trout it is just common sense.

    • madhatternalice - May 31, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      but….that’s decidedly not true. there’s absolutely no evidence to indicate that what you’re saying is a fact.

      oh wait, there is! intentional walks!

      Harper: 0
      Trout: 1

      hmm…

  9. unlost1 - May 31, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    ALREADY REALIZED this when Harper came up I ditched Trout off my fantasy baseball roster. Someone already snatched him that week.

  10. humanexcrement - May 31, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Alex Rodriguez will be in the hall of fame? I’ll bet my life he won’t. This is coming from a lifelong Yankee fan here: I can’t STAND that asshole. He’s an admitted PED user, and what irritates me the most about the guy is that he would have been a hall of famer without PEDs. Him and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are more deserving of being left out of the HOF than Pete Rose and Joe Jackson combined.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 31, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      Him and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are more deserving of being left out of the HOF than Pete Rose and Joe Jackson combined.

      Explain this, because it makes zero logical sense. Then again you ranted about Arod not making the HoF because he was an admitted PED user, but so was Aaron…

      • humanexcrement - May 31, 2012 at 3:16 PM

        What do you want me to explain? Why an admitted cheater doesn’t belong in the hall of fame? Why Roger Maris should still hold the record for single-season home runs, since every guy who broke it was a known steroid user? What do you want me to explain here? Are you saying admitted PED users SHOULD be in the hall of fame?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 31, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        Are you saying admitted PED users SHOULD be in the hall of fame?

        Yuuup, because there already are admitted PED users in the HoF. Hank Aaron is one of them.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 31, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        Also, you honestly think people taking PEDs, which, in one form or another, have been in the game with no repercussions for what, 30-40 years is worse than breaking the #1 rule in baseball?

    • humanexcrement - May 31, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      As a follow-up, Yankee fans: how many times have you read this in your local newspaper: Alex Rodriguez clubbed two monstrous home runs as the Yankees lost, 10-3???

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 31, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        Ah the old Arod only hits HRs in garbage time cliche. If you are really a Yanks fan, who was mainly responsible for getting the Yanks to the WS in ’09? Whose monster season was probably the sole reason the Yanks even made it to the playoffs in ’07?

        Btw, last time Arod hit two HRs, he hit the first one in the first inning with the Yanks up 1-0, and his second in the 3rd with the Yanks up 3-0.

      • jamessmyth621 - Jun 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

        As John Updike said in his famous Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu about criticism of a non-clutch Ted Williams: “…for Williams to have distributed all his hits so they did nobody else any good would constitute a feat of placement unparalleled in the annals of selfishness.”

  11. btwicey - May 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    They will be the faces of the MLB for the next 15 years

  12. undsputed - May 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Those are some nice statistics you posted there, but the Angels lineup in the month of April and the Angels in the month of May are two different things. Posting the year to date number for both is misleading since Trout wasn’t on the team until about May. I mean, look at Pujols performance alone in those two months.

    Meanwhile the Nationals were playing without their 2, 3, and 4 batters. Werth and Morse are still out now.

  13. zsmyers1980 - Jun 1, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Mike Trout = The next Tim Salmon, but better…

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