OF Bryce Harper, 19, drafted No. 1 overall by the Washington Nationals in 2010.
OF Mike Trout, 20, drafted No. 25 overall by the Los Angeles Angels in 2009.
137 PA, .288 AVG, 5 HRs, 2 SB, .922 OPS, 0.81 BB/K
Harper has done a little bit of everything for the Nationals—hitting for power and average, cutting down on strikeouts from his minor league days and getting on base at an impressive .380 rate. Harper also is fourth in the NL with four triples, and his walkoff hit Tuesday was the first by a teenager since Gary Sheffield in 1988.
152 PA, .338 AVG, 5 HRs, 9 SB, .947 OPS, .4 BB/K
A baseball star in a safety’s body (6-foot-1, 210 pounds), Trout’s mix of power and speed have been on display since his 2012 debut (he played in 40 games for the Angels in 2011). While the Angels wouldn’t mind seeing him draw a few more walks out of the leadoff spot (just 13 so far), his .947 OPS leaves little more to be desired.
: Three errors, Ultimate Zone Rating of -5.5 (via FanGraphs)
Harper’s three errors ties him for fifth most among NL outfielders. It’s important to keep in mind that he’s still the league’s youngest player, but his early lack of range (warning: small sample size alert) is a concern.
One error, UZR of 6.5 (via FanGraphs)
As one of the fastest players in baseball, Trout’s extraordinary range makes him a future defensive star. His lone error came in one of 12 innings played in right field.
: The Nationals already were a team on a mission when they called Harper up from Triple-A, but the lift he’s provided for a snake-bitten lineup has helped keep them atop the competitive NL East. Living up to other-worldly expectations can be tough for a teenager once dubbed “The Chosen One,” but from stealing home on Cole Hamels to clutch late-game hitting, Harper has been the total package.
On the day Trout was called up, the Angels were 7-14. Since then, L.A. is 22-14, now just 4 1/2 games back of Texas in the AL West standings. A lot factors into that improvement, beginning with Albert Pujols’ awakening, but Trout’s impact at the top of the order cannot be overstated. However, Trout has the advantage of having previous big-league experience, and he wasn’t nearly as productive in 2011. That takes a small amount of shine off his accomplishments when comparing him to Harper.
: Wins Above Replacement of 0.8 (112th in MLB) via baseball-reference.com
It’s impossible to fault his effort, grit and accomplishments through 40 days; however …
: Wins Above Replacement of 2.0 (30th in MLB) via baseball-reference.com
He should be an All-Star starter this summer, though Trout (and Harper, for that matter) is a write-in only candidate because ballots were finalized before he was called up. A WAR of 2.0—in a partial season, no less—is off the charts.