WASHINGTON -- The comparisons between the Angels' Mike Trout and the Nationals' Bryce Harper come naturally. A lot of people make them, but Harper isn't one of them.
"Not at all, because I know I'm a damn good player, and he is, too," Harper said before the Nationals opened their three-game series against the Angels on Monday. "We're going to roll through baseball over the next 20 years, hopefully, and make people turn their heads."
Trout certainly has. Harper's former teammate in the Arizona Fall League and fellow 2012 Rookie of the Year Award winner has cemented himself as one of the game's top players, batting .323/.414/.563 with 62 home runs and 84 stolen bases over the past three years. He's earned back-to-back runner-up finishes in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting.
Harper, more than a year younger, has experienced a somewhat bumpier road but still provided production rare for such a young hitter. Since arriving in 2012, he's batted .273/.353/.477 with 43 homers and 30 steals, in 80 fewer games than Trout.
Is it even fair to draw a comparison between the two?
"I really don't care," Harper said. "I couldn't care less about opinions. Everybody's got one. If they like him, they like him. If they like me, they like me. If they like both of us, then they know the game. And if they don't, then they're crazy."
The relationship between the two is not tense. It developed when they shared an outfield with the Scottsdale Scorpions during the 2011 Arizona Fall League and has continued since with occasional text messages. When Harper crushed a home run into the third deck at Nationals Park earlier this season, Trout said he sent him a joking text asking if he got jammed on the pitch.
"He's a great player, a great person, has a great family," said Harper, who visited briefly with Trout on the field hours before Monday night's game. "He's one of the best players, if not the best player in baseball. He's a lot of fun to watch."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.