If the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper is baseball’s new wild child, Mike Trout is like the mature older brother.
They have a relationship that stems from being teammates on the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League last October. Trout said the two young players, arguably the two best prospects in baseball, got to know one another and dined together several times.
Trout learned that Harper had gotten called up on the airplane as he flew to join the Angels in Cleveland. The outfielders both made their season debuts on April 28.
“I shot him a text and said, ‘Good luck. Congrats. You deserve it.’ “ Trout said recently. “It was kind of unexpected, but he’s a good kid. We got to bond a little bit in the fall league and he’s going to be fine up there.”
Harper, 19, is the only player in the major leagues that Trout, 20, can call “kid.” They are the two youngest players in the major leagues.
So far, Harper has hit with a higher average -- .308 to Trout’s .233 – but neither player has looked overmatched. Trout is batting .316 with two doubles and a home run in his past five games, his improvement helping fuel the Angels' offensive rebirth. They’re also being thrust into different high-pressure roles, Trout batting leadoff and Harper often hitting third.
Trout said he feels more comfortable playing the outfield in this, his third, stint in the majors and he’s trying to cultivate a patient approach given his spot in the lineup. His lifetime on-base percentage in the minor leagues was .425, though it hasn’t shown up with the Angels yet. He has walked just twice in eight games.
“Leading off is something I’ve been doing my whole life,” Trout said. “When I got called up, it made me a little more comfortable to be back where I normally would be. I’ve just got to get on base and score some runs.”