Who’s Doing It Better: Mike Trout vs. Bryce Harper
There’s no doubt that these two represent the top of the class in major league baseball and fittingly one represents the AL while the other resides in the NL. Both of these guys get it done at the plate and in the field, but which one is the king of the MLB? Let’s break it down and find out.
First, it’s important to note that Mike Trout has been around a smidge longer than Harper, debuting in 2011 and appearing in 40 games. That said, each entered the league at 19 years young and Trout has been more durable than Harper who has only played more than 140 games once in 4 full seasons while Trout has only missed that mark once. This is a stat that doesn’t get enough credit, after all, if you’re not playing, you’re not contributing.
Let’s take a look at their averages first. Trout has a substantial 19 point lead in batting average, hitting .304 in 2700 at bats to Harper’s .285 in 2050. By the way, that 650 at bat advantage Trout has represents more than a season’s worth of time despite only getting 40 game head start — that’s what durability can do for you. The category you might expect Harper to overtake Trout would be On Base Percentage, however, Harper’s prowess there has only come on recently, and so he trails Trout, .387 to .398. It doesn’t get any better for Harper when we move on to slugging, either, in fact that’s where Trout has the largest lead: .557 to .515.
Clearly, Mike Trout has been the better man at the plate in the averages and we’ve established he has dominated in terms of at bats… so does Harper even have a shot in the counting stats? In a word: No. Trout bests him from hits to home runs and everything in between. The only place Harper has the advantage is plate discipline if you look at the 162 game average. Harper is average a handful more walks and nearly 20 fewer strikeouts per 162 games.
I won’t get too technical on you in the fielding department, but we can get a good taste for how each performs by simply looking at fielding percentage. Both players have been featured solely in the outfield, but once again Trout holds a distinct lead: .993 to .979. Trout has committed just 13 errors in 1,785 chances versus Harper’s 24 in 600 fewer chances. However, looking at outfield assists, this is where Harper shines. Bryce has gunned down 41 runners on the basepaths compared to Trout’s 18.
As a whole, it’s pretty clear that Mike Trout has dominated this match-up early on in these superstars’ careers.