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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Al Kaline compares Angels’ Mike Trout to Mickey Mantle

Kaline heard about Trout when he was a seismic prospect in the minors, and he really began to follow him about four weeks ago.

“He’s a strong guy, runs really well, power—he reminds me a little bit of a Mantle,” Kaline said. “You don’t see the combination of power and speed that he has.”

Mantle. There could perhaps be no higher compliment. When Kaline broke into the AL in 1953, the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle had started to assert himself as a switch-hitter with power who also had the speed to play the vast centerfield at Yankee Stadium.

“Power guys usually are bigger and slower,” Kaline said. “You don’t see too many guys with great power that can really have great speed. But obviously Trout has both. He looks like he’s a complete player. I know he’s an outstanding outfielder.”

...It was interesting to hear so many people at the All-Star Game who are saying the same things about Trout and Bryce Harper as the media have—comparing their potential rivalry to that of Mantle, Willie Mays and Duke Snider in the ‘50s. But it should also tell you something when the likes of Kaline are praising Trout and George Brett touted Harper. It’s not just hype, as many claim, these two are legitimate players who are playing the game right and should be a joy to watch for many, many years to come.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: July 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4184869)
I don't know, does Trout really have that kind of light-tower power, like Harper does? A friend of mine likes to call Trout Rich Man's Tim Raines, which is pretty damn high praise itself.
   2. winnipegwhip Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4184882)
He doesn't fulfil the legend of Mickey Mantle yet.

Did he get a BJ under the rightfield stands at Yankee Stadium last weekend? And how would Al Kaline know?
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4184883)
Light-tower power? No. Plus power, though, I think yes.

"Rich Man's Tim Raines" already happened, his name was Rickey Henderson. Trout's not an on-base freak like Henderson, but he seems to have more batting average and more power in his bat.

It's hard to think of Trout comparisons without defaulting to inner-circle Hall of Famers. His combination of skills and tools at age 20 has very few precedents.
   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4184893)
Yeah, you can get rich in a couple different ways; add crazy on-base skills and you get Henderson. Add power and you might get Trout.

Tools/skills-wise, might Trout be better compared to Willie Mays than Mickey Mantle, if comparing white guys to black guys was allowed?
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4184897)
Did he get a BJ under the rightfield stands at Yankee Stadium last weekend? And how would Al Kaline know?


I suppose there's one way.
   6. Steve N Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4184898)
A new age Mel Ott? Ott was in the majors younger and had higher BAs from the start but in a high offense era. A little speed.
   7. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4184902)
Yeah, the speed's where Ott falls off the rails. Ott had a little speed. Trout has warp speed.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4184903)
matt

ken griffey jr didn't have big time power until he got a bit older. early on his homers were long line drives.

it's the electricity of trout that's the distinguishing characteristic more than anything. it's what made mantle fun. cesar cedeno. ken griffey jr to some extent.

pete reiser is who i think of when i see trout. i was only following reiser in the papers but man he had everyone all wound up who was following nl baseball.
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4184907)
Give Griffey Jr. his father's speed and you'd have a good Trout comp. I think Griffey had more raw power, though, even when he was young.

It is amazing that we're talking about a 20-year-old in such terms, though. It's too bad we already played out the jokes with Matt Wieters.
   10. SandyRiver Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4184915)
Given the article, how about Kaline power/avg with Mantle speed?
   11. PreservedFish Posted: July 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4184918)
Fast Musial

edit> although Musial must have been fast, all those triples
   12. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 17, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4185083)
I posted this a couple weeks ago:

Mantle, age 20: .311/.394/.530/.924/162 OPS+/.219 ISO
Trout, age 20: .348/.403/.569/.972/170 OPS+/.221 ISO

It's not a crazy comparison.
   13. TomH Posted: July 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4185103)
funny, because the other day when I was thinking about who best to compare Harper and Trout to (predicted career), I came up with .. Al Kaline!
   14. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 17, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4185146)
Drawing tools from multiple players loses the effect of comparing, though. I'm a future Hall of Famer myself: I have Randy Johnson's hit tool, Richie Ashburn's power, Ernie Lombardi's speed, Frank Thomas's glove and Barry Bonds' arm.

If I had to pick the one player in history whose tools most closely resemble Trout's... I might have to go with Willie Mays. Trout's chance of having a career as good as Mays' is about 0.05%, but it's a similar skill set, I think.
   15. Dan Posted: July 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4185275)
Personally I think Trout compares with Mays and Harper compares more with Mantle, if we're looking to make the HOFer comparisons. It's a comparison I've made before, and nothing has really happened to change my opinion since then.
   16. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 17, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4185281)
Right now, ZiPS wants to compare Trout to Vada Pinson. (Stats-wise, obviously they're different sized players)
   17. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4185304)
I'll be content if Starlin Castro gets to be Duke Snider. Or Brett Jackson. Or Tony Campana. :-)

Slightly more realistic might be the older Austin Jackson who's still chugging along at 322/405/533.

Cool, Trout currently has the highest OPS+ of any 20-year-old ever, 3 points ahead of Cobb.

(By the way, still awesome for 19 but Harper is down to a 116 OPS+. Johnny Lush was better at 18! :-) Also it's pretty much an identical line to Mantle at 19)

HW brought up Cedeno who I'm always happy to reminisce about.

19:

CC 310/340/451 114
MM 267/349/443 117
MT ======
BH 273/346/451 116
KG 264/329/420 108

20:

CC 264/293/398 97
MM 311/394/530 162
MT 348/403/569 170
KG 300/366/481 136

21:

CC 320/385/537 162
MM 295/398/497 144
KG 327/399/527 155

22:

CC 320/376/537 152
MM 300/408/525 158
KG 308/361/535 149

That's the Cedeno I remember as the most talented player I've ever seen.* And he was adding in 50 steals a year at ages 21-22. It's also a reminder to those of you who only focus on his late career of what a GREAT player the young Ken Griffey was (and he was adding good defense in those days too).

Now, unlike HW, I wasn't around for Mel Ott's debut so I can't speak of him. :-)

* I was only 8 in his age 20 year so I wasn't exactly a seasoned judge of such things (e.g Kessinger was my favorite Cub). On the other hand, I only got to see him a few times a year when they played the Cubs and it was over 40 years ago and I still consider him the most talented player I've seen so you get how big the impression was.
   18. Astros Offensive Juggernaut Posted: July 17, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4185333)
Mantle, age 20: .311/.394/.530/.924/162 OPS+/.219 ISO
Trout, age 20: .348/.403/.569/.972/170 OPS+/.221 ISO

Kaline, age 20: .340/.421/.546/.967/162 OPS+/.206 ISO

However, Kaline never really topped his age 20 season. Will Trout take the Mantle path to the elite or the Kaline path?
   19. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 17, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4185393)
Trout hit an oppo bomb to deep right-center in Comerica today. Up to .353/.407/.583. No SBs yet though :(.

He's better than Mantle.
   20. Rob_Wood Posted: July 17, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4185543)
Vada Pinson is a pretty good comp
   21. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: July 17, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4185584)
His combination of skills and tools at age 20 has very few precedents.

Cesar Cedeno (from above) is not a bad comp.
   22. Mefisto Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM (#4185659)
An awkward question: were Cedeno and Pinson truly their listed ages? In both cases their career track would be more normal if they were a couple of years older than listed.
   23. Daryn. Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4185661)
Trout = Mantle? Damning with faint praise.
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4185666)

Is Kaline really that modest that he's willing to boost this guy beyond his own early-age stud, 3000-hit HOF career and evoke Mantle?

I think that he is, which would be cool.


   25. Matt Welch Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4185667)
Now hitting .355, after going 4-6 with 3 runs & the second-longest opposite field home run in the bigs this year.
   26. robinred Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4185676)
I have tickets to the Rangers/Angels game on Friday night and am really looking forward to it.
   27. shoewizard Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:39 PM (#4185679)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, Younger than 20, (requiring PA<=1000, onbase_plus_slugging_plus>=120, HR>=10, SB>=10, SO>BB and At least 400 plate appearances), sorted by greatest Home Runs

I took out Orlando Cepeda who was in this group too.

Player           HR  PA OPSSB  SO BB   G  AB   R   H 2B 3B RBI GDP   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Alex Rodriguez   41 885  136 22 166 68 211 797 160 259 60  3 144  15 .325 .377 .562 .940
Vada Pinson      21 816  124 23 116 66 181 744 151 231 54  9  92  10 .310 .368 .492 .860
Jason Heyward    18 623  131 11 128 91 142 520  83 144 29  5  72  13 .277 .393 .456 .849
Mike Trout       17 445  145 34  90 36 108 399  81 123 25  3  58   3 .308 .366 .514 .880 
   28. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:41 PM (#4185682)
Mantle. There could perhaps be no higher compliment.

Mays. I higher compliment would be to be compared to Willie Mays.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4185711)
requiring PA<=1000

Why that restriction?Or were you intentionally dropping the handful who were full-time starters before age 20? SO>BB is also weird but it doesn't exclude anybody.

If you drop those restrictions, you add Ott, Griffey, Mantle and Kaline all of whom had more than 1000 PA (Mantle barely).
   30. KJOK Posted: July 17, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4185720)
Trout = DiMaggio
Harper = Ted Williams

?!?!

Of course the odds are still long that they'll both live up to that.

Both do have more speed than their comparables.
   31. Depressoteric Posted: July 18, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4185726)
Trout hit an oppo bomb to deep right-center in Comerica today. Up to .353/.407/.583. No SBs yet though :(.

He's better than Mantle.
Harper hit a game-tying RBI triple in the 11th inning of an electrifying Nats victory today.

He's better than Trout! ;)
   32. AROM Posted: July 18, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4185731)
Now hitting .355, after going 4-6 with 3 runs & the second-longest opposite field home run in the bigs this year.


Let me guess who has the longest- Trumbo?
   33. shock Posted: July 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4185739)
Let me guess who has the longest- Trumbo?


Cabrera
   34. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 18, 2012 at 07:12 AM (#4185781)
Mantle. There could perhaps be no higher compliment.

Mays. I higher compliment would be to be compared to Willie Mays.


Maybe you have to be of a certain age to get this distinction, but there's a reason that the phee-nom-i-est phenoms are always compared to Mantle and not Mays. It's about eye-popping raw baseball talent rather than polished baseball skill. That's probably unfair to everyone involved -- Mays had plenty of natural ability and it's not as if Mantle never took BP or shagged flies. But the young Mantle was faster than any player anyone had ever seen and hit the ball harder than any player anyone had ever seen. That's why he's the go-to comparison and compliment. It's not a diss on Mays.

That, plus it's tough to compare young players to a guy who missed his age 21 and 22 seasons. And not many put up an age 23 or 24 season that compares with Willie freaking Mays'.

Finally, Trout is physically similar to Mantle (and much bigger than Mays).
   35. Russ Posted: July 18, 2012 at 07:22 AM (#4185785)
I love that players are more content in the current version of the game to balance power and speed. So many excellent fast young players who can rake right now: McCutchen, Trout, Harper, Kipnis, Desmond just off the top of my head. There seems to be a shift away from the big lumbering hitter and shift back to guys who can hit and fly. I feel like having those kinds of players as the stars really improves the aesthetic of the game.
   36. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 18, 2012 at 07:32 AM (#4185790)
There seems to be a shift away from the big lumbering hitter and shift back to guys who can hit and fly.


I think the only shift is in what we notice. There have always been both kinds of players. The recently passed emphasis on big lumbering sluggers was more in the attention they received than in their representation.
   37. Shredder Posted: July 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4185885)
I don't know what is considered "light tower power", but he hit one last night in Detroit that was as long as any home run I've seen Trumbo hit. It was up on the concourse in right center field at Comerica. It didn't look that impressive off the bat, but it just kept going and going.

ETA: as has apparently been mentioned.
   38. AROM Posted: July 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4185889)
Hittracker has Trumbo's homer at 430 feet. Trout's was 442. The others didn't clear 400.
   39. Steve N Posted: July 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4186025)
"But the young Mantle was faster than any player anyone had ever seen"

I'm pretty sure that Ashburn was times as the same speed to first base.
   40. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: July 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4186068)
"But the young Mantle was faster than any player anyone had ever seen"

That's because Cool Papa Bell was too fast for anyone to see
   41. SandyRiver Posted: July 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4186124)
The list below is from wiki.answers.com. The "other list" was from Baseball Digest in 1952, so I didn't bother with it, though it has Mantle's 3.1, and also his 3.5 from the right side, that list's quickest from the right.

Here's another list:

All times from the left side

Mantle was clocked at 3.1 (fastest documented time in MLB)

Bo Jackson was timed at 3.2 (3.65 from the right side)

Deion Sanders was timed at 3.3

Ralph Garr was timed at 3.3 (unconfirmed 3.2)

Rick Manning was timed at 3.3 (ran a 9.8 100 yard dash in High School)

Miguel Dilone was timed at 3.3

Mickey Rivers was timed at 3.4

Willie Wilson was timed at 3.6 and 3.7

Ichiro was timed at 3.7 seconds

Reggie Jackson (in his early days) was sub 4.0 down the line. ( he stated 3.8)

No doubt about it, Mantle had wicked speed. The closest documented times to his were by Bo Jackson, who had one advantage...he didn't run in baggy pants like Mantle did. That WILL slow you down.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_was_the_fastest_time_by_a_MLB_player_running_to_first_base#ixzz20zfLChbC
   42. Mefisto Posted: July 18, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4186160)
I think that the legend of Mantle's speed has been substantially discredited at this point. The Yankees publicity staff was notorious for, um, enhancing the abilities of their prospects (like 550' homeruns). So although there are claims that Mantle had a 3.1 time to first, those claims are dubious. I mean really -- he was faster than Deion Sanders? Not bloody likely.

The Mick had good speed, but the Yankees hyped it.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: July 18, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4186170)
Bo Jackson was timed at 3.2 (3.65 from the right side)


When would Bo have gotten timed out of the lefthanded batter's box?
   44. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 18, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4186219)
You know, Andrew McCutchen's tools/skill set is remarkably similar to Hank Aaron's. Close to the same size, righthanded, can play center but would be better in a corner, not blazing fast but can swipe some bases, small/skinny-looking guy who nevertheless has freakish wrist strength and the quickest bat in the league.
   45. SandyRiver Posted: July 18, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4186309)
I think that the legend of Mantle's speed has been substantially discredited at this point. The Yankees publicity staff was notorious for, um, enhancing the abilities of their prospects (like 550' homeruns). So although there are claims that Mantle had a 3.1 time to first, those claims are dubious. I mean really -- he was faster than Deion Sanders? Not bloody likely.

The Mick had good speed, but the Yankees hyped it.


Any evidence beyond a general feeling of Yankee overhypism? (And Allan Roth's stretchable tape measure on some of Mick's HRs.)
   46. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4186333)
(And Allan Roth's stretchable tape measure on some of Mick's HRs.)

that was Red Patterson--Roth was with the Dodgers
   47. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4186334)
I'm surprised no one is saying this, but Trout, at this point, is significantly better than Bryce Harper, isn't he? I mean that not just in current abilities but in projecting his future as well. The fact that Harper is a year younger is a significant advantage for him, but Mike Trout is leading the league in OPS+ (which doesn't count his 30-out-of-33 record in stolen bases) and has much more defensive value.

Harper at 19 is a very exciting young talent; Trout at 20 is one of the best players in the game.
   48. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4186351)
Harper at 19 is a very exciting young talent; Trout at 20 is one of the best players in the game.

Of course, Trout was just an exciting young talent last year. Who knows what Harper can do.

But I agree with your general point. Trout is going to have a significant edge in the field and on the bases and given the way he is hitting, it's hard to see Harper catching up to him with his bat, even if he hits 50 HRs next year.
   49. Mefisto Posted: July 18, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4186361)
By the nature of the subject, it's not possible to have evidence of a non-event. The Yankees say they timed Mantle at a speed which is implausible. There is evidence that Patterson exaggerated (I'm being polite) the length of Mantle's most famous HR. Mantle was challenged to a footrace by other players and always declined. The burden of proof is on those claiming something extraordinary.
   50. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4186380)
I'm surprised no one is saying this, but Trout, at this point, is significantly better than Bryce Harper, isn't he?

Well, Harper at 19 is better than Trout was at 19, although Trout is setting a pretty high bar for the age 20 season. This may take a few seasons to sort out.
   51. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 18, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4186426)
It is amazing that we're talking about a 20-year-old in such terms, though. It's too bad we already played out the jokes with Matt Wieters.

I actually think it's pretty cool that the godlike mega-prospect meme played out the way it did with Wieters. It was fun for a while, and having exhausted that particular well of humor so recently, I think it affords us the opportunity to enjoy talents like Harper and Trout with a little more sincerity. YMMV.

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