"I really don't compare myself to a lot of people," Angels outfielder Mike Trout said, smiling at the inevitable comparison between what he went through last summer and what Puig is experiencing now. "When I came up, I was just having fun. And just the way he plays the game -- it looks like he's having fun all the time, and he's helping his team win."
It's hard not to find comparisons between Trout and Puig, because of their skill-sets and because of what they've meant to their much-hyped Southern California teams.
When Trout was called up on April 28 of last year, at age 20, the Angels were 7-14 and nine games out of first place. For the rest of the first half, they went 41-24, gaining five games in the standings, and Trout posted a .341/.397/.562 slash line while en route to an All-Star nod.
When Puig was called up on June 3 of this year, at age 22, the Dodgers were 24-32 and 7 1/2 games out of first place. Since then, they've gone 16-12, gaining four games in the standings, and Puig has posted a .430/.455/.719 slash line with everyone debating whether he should be an All-Star.
"He's everything you like to see in a young player coming up -- being aggressive, playing with no fear and having fun," Trout said. "I think the biggest thing is he's fearless. He just plays 100 percent, no holding back. He's turning that team around."
The big difference, as Angels manager Mike Scioscia previously referenced when saying he doesn't believe Puig should be an All-Star this year, is Trout had 290 plate appearances in the first half of 2012. Puig will finish with no more than 170.
Asked to compare the two, one scout said: "Trout has a much better feel and understanding for the game. Puig has more unbridled passion, but he makes his share of mistakes."
"Just the excitement I think he brings to the game," Trout said of what sticks out about Puig. "When he's up to bat, you never know what's going to happen."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.