The freaki­est link yet be­tween Harper, Trout

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - SCOTT ALLEN

Well, this won’t do any­thing to quiet those com­par­ing Bryce Harper and Mike Trout at ev­ery stage of their ca­reers. Hours be­fore Trout col­lected his 1,000th ca­reer hit on his 26th birth­day in the Los An­ge­les An­gels’ 6-2 Amer­i­can League base­ball loss to Bal­ti­more on Mon­day, Harper de­posited a fourth-in­ning curve­ball from Odrisamer De­s­paigne 400-plus feet into the right-field seats for his 150th ca­reer homer.

Two oft-linked su­per­stars reach­ing a pair of ar­bi­trary mile­stones on op­po­site coasts on the same day isn’t all that sur­pris­ing, but then there’s this strange co­in­ci­dence: Harper’s home run on Mon­day came at the age of 24 years, 295 days. Trout was the ex­act same age, give or take a few hours, when he hit his 150th home run on May 28 of last sea­son.

Harper is the 14th player in ma­jor league his­tory to hit 150 home runs be­fore his 25th birth­day, which is Oct. 16. His 150th home run came in his 759th reg­u­lar sea­son game, while Trout, who hit his 191st home run on Mon­day, reached 150 in 701 games. Among ac­tive play­ers, only Al­bert Pu­jols (24 years, 212 days) and Gian­carlo Stan­ton (24 years, 290 days) reached 150 home runs at a younger age.

Of the 10 non­ac­tive play­ers to reach 150 home runs be­fore their 25th birth­day, only Orlando Cepeda and Johnny Bench failed to hit 400 in their ca­reers. FanGraphs projects Harper to hit 12 more home runs this sea­son, which would give him 162 be­fore he turns a quar­ter­century. That would be the sev­en­th­most home runs be­fore age 25 all­time and two more than Trout.

MLB Net­work’s Mark DeRosa, who played for the Nats in Harper’s rookie sea­son, doesn’t ex­pect the com­par­isons be­tween Harper and Trout to stop any time soon. “The game’s gone young,” DeRosa said. “Su­per­stars: [Nolan] Are­nado, Aaron Judge, the emer­gence of him. Manny Machado, one of the best play­ers in the game. But I think the dust set­tles with these two boys. They’ll be for­ever linked. This is kind of who we look at, Mike Trout in the Amer­i­can League, Bryce Harper in the Na­tional League, and two dif­fer­ent paths, and two dif­fer­ent ways of go­ing about it.”

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