Ever since they were called up to the big leagues on the same day in April, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have been linked. And while both players have garnered their fair share of media attention, Trout's production has far surpassed that of the 19-year-old Harper.
Trout leads the American League in batting average and steals and ranks in the top three in on-base and slugging percentage. He's also tied for 13th with 24 home runs, though he wasn't called up until April 28. Trout's dazzling stats line has many wondering if he can become just the third rookie in either league — after the Red Sox' Fred Lynn in 1975 and the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 — to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season.
Though Trout has got to be the favorite at the moment, he still has some competition for the award. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera leads the AL in RBIs, ranks second in batting average and ranks in the top five in home runs, on-base and slugging percentage. Texas' Josh Hamilton has impressive power numbers, as his 34 homers and 102 RBIs both place him second in the league. He's not as complete a hitter as Trout or Cabrera, though, as he ranks just 26th in average and 21st in OBP.
Another advantage Trout has is his excellence in the field, punctuated by his catch of the year against the Orioles on June 27. Cabrera is a notoriously shaky fielder, and while Hamilton has a big arm in the outfield, he can't cover as much ground as the 21-year-old Trout.
Sox fans will get their first chance to catch Trout in person when the Angels visit Fenway Park to open a three-game set on Tuesday. Will they be seeing the 2012 MVP?