ANAHEIM — When Andrelton Simmons was with the Atlanta Braves, Bryce Harper was a frequent opponent and Mike Trout was just a guy on TV in the other league.
Back then, Simmons said, he thought the two players were in a similar class.
“Then I saw Mike every day,” Simmons said, “and now it’s like, ‘No, this guy is better.’”
Comparisons between Trout and Harper have been frequent ever since they came to the big leagues as two of the top prospects in the sport. Although Trout got to the majors first for sporadic playing time in 2011, they both reached the majors for good on April 28, 2012, a coincidence that may one day be noted in Cooperstown.
Trout, 25, and Harper, 24, still share spots on the short list of the game’s elite. Although Trout’s consistency has clearly separated him from Harper, the two are still often mentioned in the same conversation.
And on Tuesday they’ll be on the same field.
With the Washington Nationals meeting the Angels in a two-game interleague series starting Tuesday, Trout and Harper will share a field for just the fourth and fifth times in the regular season. The Angels played three games in Washington in 2014. The Angels will return to Washington for two games in August.
“It’s always fun to play against guys like that,” Trout said.
Trout said he and Harper are only friendly acquaintances from their rare times together on the field, dating to their time as teenage teammates in the Arizona Fall League in 2011. Since they’ve been in the majors, their paths have crossed mostly at All-Star Games.
Even though they have little on-field history to form a rivalry in the vein of Tom Brady-Peyton Manning, Steph Curry-LeBron James or Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin, they will nonetheless be connected.
“I think throughout my career and his career, we will always be linked together because we came up together,” Trout said.
To the players who have seen them both up close, there are plenty of similarities.
“Both are in a…