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Bryce Harper Not the Only Rookie Sensation

Charles E. Sutton | , WI Staff Writer | 6/17/2012, 9:30 p.m.

Many Experts Compare Mike Trout to Harper

Bryce Harper Is a phenomenal rookie player. However, there's another rookie who's performed as well, if not better, than Harper. Unless we are willing to look beyond our local baseball landscape and stare at the national picture, we'd tend to hardly notice him.

Meet Mike Trout. He is the speedy, 20-year-old center fielder and outstanding leadoff hitter for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the second youngest player in Major League Baseball.

Thus far, Trout's play has often grown in the shadow of Harper, who's 14 months younger. Unlike Harper, as a teenager, Trout was not depicted on national magazine covers, nor was he branded as having a trash-talking, brash attitude.

Trout is a player who surged from being a really good prospect, to an elite one at Millville High School in southern New Jersey. This constantly smiling, buzz-cut- sporting kid, was the 25th overall selection in the 2009 draft. He was named Baseball America's 2011 minor league player of the year over players such as Harper. Both Trout and Harper played together in last year's Arizona Fall League and befriended each other, two of baseball's shining future stars.

Neither Trout nor Harper has enough plate appearances to qualify among league-wide leaders. However, if Trout did through Friday's games, he would have ranked sixth in the majors in batting average (.333), eighth in on-base percentage (.393) and 18th in on-base plus slugging percentage (.922). He was tied for the American League lead in stolen bases (16). In 196 plate appearances, he had six home runs and drove in 26 runs.

Trout has provided a lift in the field and at the plate for a team that really needed it. Coincidentally, Trout and Harper both made their season debuts on April 28. The Angels were 34-31 entering Saturday's game, after opening the season 6-14.

Last season, the Angels promoted Trout because of great need, but he only hit .220 with a .281 on-base percentage and a .390 slugging percentage in 40 games and 135 plate appearances. He was sent back to the minors where he became one of the best minor league players. Today, like Harper, he's a potential all-star.

"I'm not doing what Trout's doing," Harper said. "... He's blowing my numbers away."

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