Zac Cordova/Justin Millar
I believe Bryce Harper will absolutely have more of an immediate impact than Mike Trout. Don’t get me wrong, both are Grade A Prospects, and both will undoubtedly have great careers at the major league level, The difference is that Harper has a better path carved out for extended playing time, while Trout could easily see his way back to the minors if he shows any signs of struggle. Proof of that is that within a week of his promotion, Harper has already claimed the 3 spot on the lineup of a first place team. The Nationals/Expos franchise have also team not reached the playoffs in 25 years. 25 YEARS!! Throwing in injuries to the Nationals two greatest sources of power in Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Morse, and Bryce Harper perhaps becomes the most important hitter in the Nationals lineup already, while the ceiling for Mike Trout this year is probably batting .300 with a lot of singles. If the Nationals are going to make the playoffs, Bryce Harper is going to have to keep hitting
There is no doubt that Harper is a fantastic prospect, I just simply think Mike Trout will out produce Harper in 2012. There are multiple reasons why I believe this. First, Trout is more advanced, although he is only about a year older than Harper. He has played in the majors before, putting up a 1.5 WAR after being called up late last season. Harper has played just 57 games above A ball, compared to Trout's 154 games. They have actually each played exactly 20 games at Triple-A. Harper struggled, hitting just .250 with 6 extra base hits, while Trout batted .403 with 10 extra base hits, not to mention 6 steals. Performance wise, Trout is the more advanced hitter compared to Harper and he has demonstrated that through his play in the minors.
There is also the factor of playing time. Harper may or may not be up for good. He was only called up due to injuries, and could be sent back down once those players return from the DL. Angels GM, Jerry Dipoto, has said Trout is up for good and will see regular playing time. Plus, Trout has the added bonus of hitting in a slightly better lineup than Harper does. If Pujols gets going, imagine how many run opportunities Trout could have hitting leadoff. Here is the projected WAR (wins above replacement) totals for Trout and Harper in 2012 based on ZIPS:
Bryce Harper: 1.6
Mike Trout: 3.3
Harper very well could end up having a better career than Mike Trout, but for the 2012 season I see Trout having a better year.
You can follow Justin Millar on twitter at @justinmillar1, or email him at Justinmillar1@gmail.com. Comment below to join the discussion.