An Ode To Mike Trout

Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout turns 26 today, and it’s amazing to think about how underappreciated he is across the MLB community.

Sports Illustrated

The best player in baseball plays home games in Anaheim, California. He doesn’t play ’em in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, or anywhere else. Yes, guys like Harper, Bryant, Seager, Judge, and many others are elite at their crafts, but Trout is on a level above everyone else, and people seem to forget that.

However, Trout isn’t the biggest “star” in baseball. Since 2015, Mike Trout has been mentioned in 9,252 articles in United States media, which seems high, but guys like Kershaw (14,993), Harper (11,928), and Bryant (10,228) among others all top him. Trout lacks the thing that sets him apart— Kershaw’s curveball, Harper’s personality and flow, and Bryant’s power in a huge market. He’s just a random guy who happens to be one of the greatest baseball players the world has ever seen.

Except for one thing — consistency. Mike Trout is one of the most consistent players in baseball history. He never stops being quietly incredible.

The statistical tool wRC+ measures hitting production, and is park and league neutralized — 100 being average. Here is a graph showing Mike Trout’s wRC+ over his last 20 games, after every game of his career.

Notice how he very rarely has dropped below even the 100 mark since 2012. Those are his slumps. Mike Trout at his worst is, well, league average.

Let’s check out other superstars.

Here’s Bryce Harper:

And Kris Bryant:

And Nolan Arenado:

And Paul Goldschmidt:

See how all of those guys, like normal players, have slumps? Mike Trout is basically immune to them.

Another thing about Trout… he’s still getting better.

Trout, who has already had a marvelous career, is posting career highs in BB%, batting average, OBP, SLG, ISO, and wRC+. He is among the top 10 in fWAR despite playing 40 games less than everyone else due to injury.

Here’s this fun graph comparing Mike Trout to some of the best to have played the game. Trout is light blue. Notice how he’s outpacing everyone else:

via fangraphs.com

When scouts compared him to legends when he was a prospect… they weren’t actually crazy.

Some more Mike Trout tidbits:

He is the second player in MLB history to have six seasons with 20 homers and 10 stolen bases through age 25 (Alex Rodriguez is the other).

He leads all hitters in fWAR since 2008, despite not making his debut until 2011.

He leads all center fielders in fWAR since 2003; again, he didn’t debut until 2011 and is only 26!

He ranks behind only Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, and Barry Bonds in terms of all time career wRC+.

He ranks only behind Ty Cobb for most fWAR through a player’s age-25 season (he still has the rest of the year to pass him).

Mike Trout accumulated 47.1 fWAR in the five year stretch from 2012–2016; only ten other players in MLB history have had that great of a peak at any point in their careers.

The only player in baseball with more homers and more stolen bases than Trout in 2017 is Paul Goldschmidt. Mike Trout hasn’t even played in 60 percent of the Angels’ games this season.

Also, last thing: if Trout gets a hit Monday, he will have reached the 1,000 hit mark on his 26th birthday. That’s pretty cool.

So I hope everyone takes a minute to think about how great of a player Mike Trout is today, because he doesn’t get appreciated as much as a living, playing legend as he should.

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