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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

How Mike Trout improved his defense

You don’t get to be the best player alive if you aren’t always trying to get better, and this year, his focus was defense. For all the highlight-reel catches, Trout hasn’t actually been rated all that highly by defensive metrics over the past few years. It’s been the only minor flaw on an otherwise spotless resume.

“There are a lot of defensive metrics out there you want to get better on,” said Trout to MLB.com in February.

So far, so good: One-third of the way through the season, Trout’s defense looks better. It’s been rated better. In an admittedly small sample, Trout looks like he’s once again identified something he wants to fix and done exactly that.

Nice to see Mike Trout do some actual work for once.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 30, 2018 at 01:17 PM | 135 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, defense, mike trout

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 30, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5682356)
The Angels have played exactly 1/3 of their games, and at the moment Trout is on pace for 14.7 WAR. That would be the highest single-season total for anyone who wasn't a 19th century pitcher or Walter Johnson. He's on pace for 12.3 WAA, which would beat every season since four pitchers passed that mark in 1884.

Yeah, it's not likely to end up like that, but when your only peers are guys who started 70 games and pitched 625 innings, you're having an insanely good year.
   2. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 30, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5682396)
If it weren't for Trout people would be agog about Mookie Betts, but instead Mookie's already .8 WAR and .7 WAA behind Trout.
   3. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 30, 2018 at 02:54 PM (#5682440)
Yeah, Mookie's only on a pace for 10.2 WAA. Babe Ruth beat that twice! Mookie sucks.

(Mookie's theoretical 2018 would be tied for third all-time with Yaz's 1967 and Hornsby's 1924, behind Ruth's '23 and '21. And also behind two Walter Johnson seasons and the inevitable gaggle of 19th century pitching seasons.)
   4. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 30, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5682517)
Whatever, if defense is so important, then why don't they put it up on the scoreboard?
   5. AndrewJ Posted: May 30, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5682656)
Trout is likely to crack the top 100 all-time in WAR for position players in 2018, and surpass Willie McCovey and Dave Winfield, each of whom played 22 seasons. Trout's in his eighth season.

Assuming he doesn't flatline in his 30s like Pujols or Junior, Trout has a decent shot of 150+ WAR.
   6. Tim M Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:40 AM (#5682829)
I've always had a sort of "how can this possibly add up" feeling w/ Trout and his WAR. The other WAR monsters like Ruth and Bonds have these video-game stats that seem from a different species. Trout's career bests - 41 HR, .326/.442/.629, 116 BB.. certainly great but not from a video game.

So, his defense & baserunning must make up the difference. But his defensive stats as noted in TFA have ranged somewhat around average (better this year), granted he gets a bump for playing CF. His baserunning, certainly very good, his rookie 49 SB season is pretty outlandish, but his SB have ranged from 11-33 since then. And how many games can you win w/ baserunning anyway, short of a Rickey! type runner?

The fact that he's only 26 IS amazing, but that has nothing to do w/ his WAR so far. I dunno, it just seems that without the WAR stat, no one would ever guess how high he would rank in it.
   7. Baldrick Posted: May 31, 2018 at 02:30 AM (#5682841)
He's very very good at everything, and plays a high value defensive position, and does so in a relatively low offensive environment.

Bonds put up video game numbers from 2001-2004, at the height of sillyball, while playing fairly crappy corner OF defense. Compare the Bonds of the early 90s to Trout and the comparison makes a lot more sense.
   8. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 31, 2018 at 06:54 AM (#5682853)
I've always had a sort of "how can this possibly add up" feeling w/ Trout and his WAR. The other WAR monsters like Ruth and Bonds have these video-game stats that seem from a different species. Trout's career bests - 41 HR, .326/.442/.629, 116 BB.. certainly great but not from a video game.

Thank you for bringing this up. That's also how I feel, though I know it's not a popular opinion around here.

It seems that most Primates begin with the assumption that WAR is accurate, which leads to the conclusion that, "Wow, Mike Trout is even better than we thought! Even though his conventional stats are great but not historically so, WAR reveals that he is in fact the [second/third] best player of all time!"

But the skeptical side of me says that we know WAR is not exact (it can't be), and maybe the reason Trout looks so much better than his peers and historical greats is because he just happens to benefit from all of WAR's "fuzzy edges," and is somewhat overvalued as a result. In other words, maybe he comes in at the high end of the error bars for all of WAR's adjustments and approximations, for whatever reason. Or maybe there are mistakes in WAR that will get fixed in coming years (it's constantly a work in process, right?) that will retroactively adjust him down a little bit.

I'm quite comfortable with the idea that Mike Trout is the best player in baseball today. I'm not convinced, however, that what he is doing is utterly unprecedented.
   9. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 31, 2018 at 07:21 AM (#5682858)
Or, another possibility, maybe the things that WAR doesn't count will one day be discovered to be significant and will consequently make Trout (and others) look worse.

* Maybe strikeouts are worse than other outs (Trout strikes out a lot)
* Maybe second-half production is more valuable than first-half production (Trout's first-half OPS is 1.016, second-half OPS is .943, and September/October is by far his worst monthly split)
* Maybe clutch numbers mean something (Trout's "Late & Close" OPS is .858, 2 Outs RISP is .876, compared to .983 overall)
* Maybe park factors should be applied to individuals rather than aggregates (perhaps Trout benefits from hitting in Angels Stadium even though it hurts other hitters)

I'm not saying any of those are likely (or unlikely) but I do think that sabermetrics is still evolving and learning, and what we "know" today may not still be true 20 years from now.
   10. . . . . . . Posted: May 31, 2018 at 08:45 AM (#5682879)
Isn’t the answer obvious? Tie better flies and he catches them.
   11. puck Posted: May 31, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5682886)
Isn't that a bad thing for a trout?
   12. Sweatpants Posted: May 31, 2018 at 09:13 AM (#5682887)
The most curious thing about Trout's numbers to me was Angel Stadium rating as an extreme pitcher's park for a while, when it had never had that reputation. That no longer seems to be the case, though (which does raise the question of what happened there from 2010 through 2016 or so). This season Trout has a 1.119 OPS, which would be huge in any era.
   13. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 09:19 AM (#5682889)
1. Strikeouts are worse than other outs. But the difference is really small, like .01 of a run or something like that. So dock him a run or two if you want for leading the league in strikeouts a few years back if you want (though this tiny adjustment might already be incorporated in the batting runs formula, not sure). In any case, Trout his cut his strikeout rate while the league rate has exploded, and this year he actually has a below average K rate.

2. I did a regression analysis on final standings, and the coefficient for April wins is the same as September wins.

3. Clutch numbers certainly mean something.

4. How park factors are used is certainly worth revisiting. In Trout's case he does not benefit from his stadium. Slightly better OPS on the road for his career (.988 to .979). Most players hit better at home.
   14. Tim M Posted: May 31, 2018 at 09:29 AM (#5682896)
There's also the - and I know I'll get banned from the site for this - minor issue that over 7 seasons, for all his WAR, Trout hasn't done much W-ing. Made the playoffs once (swept in the first round), besides that pretty much .500. I'm with Cooper - no problem that he's the best in the game right now, also think WAR will have a lot more to say in future releases.
   15. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: May 31, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5682905)
But the skeptical side of me says that we know WAR is not exact (it can't be), and maybe the reason Trout looks so much better than his peers and historical greats is because he just happens to benefit from all of WAR's "fuzzy edges," and is somewhat overvalued as a result.
I could see this more if his overall WAR was benefiting hugely from dWAR (like, say, Beltre -- roughly 1.4 dWAR/season).

But Trout isn't-- ~0.4/season.

To the point about non-videogame numbers, I think we still haven't fully mentally adjusted to the current offensive era. Trout's rank among active players:

OBP: 2nd at .412 (behind only Votto, and they are the only two above .400. Only 3 others are above even .390)
SLG: 1st at .572 (Pujols is 2nd at .558, and only 2 others are at or above .550)
AVG: 7th at .306 (Altuve leads with .317)

I mean, that absolutely looks like an elite offensive player, before you even consider high SB%, low GDP, etc. Also add in being even just an above average defender at a premium position, and I can see it.

Don't get me wrong though, I get the skepticism, and I don't disagree that changes in evaluation methods could potentially revise him downward.
   16. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:01 AM (#5682916)
There's also the - and I know I'll get banned from the site for this - minor issue that over 7 seasons, for all his WAR, Trout hasn't done much W-ing. Made the playoffs once (swept in the first round), besides that pretty much .500.
"Trout's career, in contrast, has been a series of failures except for his averages..."
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5682917)
I'm not much of a WAR fan, but Trout looks pretty great no matter how you slice it. He's led the league in OPS+ each of the past three years while playing a premium defensive position, and while he doesn't steal as much as he used to, he also almost never gets thrown out. He's also never had anything remotely approaching an off year - his lowest career OPS+ is 168. Maybe his strongest single category is OBP - he's leading the AL for the third straight year, and his has been .442 over that stretch - which is only the most important single number in the game.

Look at it this way: in his MVP year, Kris Bryant went .292/.385/.554. Trout's career numbers are .306/.412/.572, and he doesn't play in Wrigley Field, plus he's a center fielder. He puts up better than an MVP performance every single year.
   18. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5682921)
Forget park effects, Trout has the best rate stats for the current decade (2011-2018). His raw OPS is .984. Next on the list are Votto, Cabrera, and Ortiz, then a big gap from #4 to #5. Over his career the defensive numbers have him about an average center fielder, but everyone else on the top 10 list is a 1B, DH, or corner outfielder, until you get down to #10 Nolan Arenado. Nolan is an elite defender at third, but his raw OPS is 100 points lower than Trout before you even consider the massive park difference.

How rare is it for someone playing a premium defensive spot to be the best hitter?

From 2001-2010, A-Rod was 4th behind Bonds, Pujols, and Manny.

From 1991-2000, Griffey was 7th, Piazza 8th

From 1981-1990, the top 3 OPS guys were third basemen - Schmidt, Boggs, and Brett. The rest of the top 10 were corner guys.

1970s - Fred Lynn #2 (barely over the 3000 PA requirement I set), Schmidt #4

1960s - Mantle #1, Mays #7

1950s - Mantle #2, Mays #3, Snider #5

1940s - DiMaggio #4

1930s - DiMaggio #5

1920s - Hornsby #2

1910s - Cobb #1, Speaker #3

1900s - Wagner #1, Lajoie #2

Mantle, Cobb, Wagner, Schmidt, and Trout are the only guys in the last 120 years to be the best hitter in baseball while playing a key defensive position.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5682924)
I do wonder what we'd make of Trout in the pre-WAR era. Obviously, he'd be a star and a stud, but I don't know if he would have made the immediate reputation leap to "inner circle HOF" quite like he has. His RBI numbers are good, not great. The Miguel Cabrera MVP debate would have been a quiet one, not a loud one, for example.
   20. dlf Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5682925)
Maybe park factors should be applied to individuals rather than aggregates (perhaps Trout benefits from hitting in Angels Stadium even though it hurts other hitters)


To me, using team-wide numbers, focusing on runs scored / allowed is perfect if you want to decide how many wins a player contributed to his actual team. The offensive context in which he performs is the looking glass that needs to be used to know actual value. Looking at component park factors broken down for left/right, impact on grounders, flys, balls in play, etc. is a step away from an analysis of value. But when I'm trying to put players into historical context, I want to remove their unique context -- that real wins resulted from Wade Boggs slapping doubles off the Wall and real losses resulted from Joe DiMaggio's balls dying in death valley is something I don't want to consider when placing them in the pantheon. WAR is answering, roughly, the former, but a modified approach is needed to answer the latter.

The most curious thing about Trout's numbers to me was Angel Stadium rating as an extreme pitcher's park for a while, when it had never had that reputation.


I had the same reaction. Was there any significant remodeling done around that time or major changes to the other AL parks? Particularly unusual weather patterns?

Edit: to be clear, this only is a question of exactly where, among the all-time inner circle greats, we rank Trout's peak, not a debate over whether or not he belongs among them. Since I timeline more than many, and focus on prime more than career, I've already got him well within the top 10 in CF and, if I think about it, could possibly have him as high as 3rd already.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:13 AM (#5682927)
18 is a good comment.
   22. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5682930)
The reason people go nuts over Trout from a historical perspective is that he started playing like an MVP at such a young age (20) and has maintained that level for every year since (save for last years thumb injury). Normally, players need a year or two to ramp up. So, he has a ridiculous amount of career value for a 26 year old. His best years are not as good as most of the inner-circle greats (yet?), but "through age X" he's done quite a few things that haven't been done before.

   23. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5682936)
I do wonder what we'd make of Trout in the pre-WAR era. Obviously, he'd be a star and a stud, but I don't know if he would have made the immediate reputation leap to "inner circle HOF" quite like he has. His RBI numbers are good, not great. The Miguel Cabrera MVP debate would have been a quiet one, not a loud one, for example.


Guess it would have depended on where he played. War meant something very different in the 1940s, however it seems like Joe DiMaggio's all around game got him more support for being the best player than Williams' hitting did. And Joe won the MVP award the year Ted hit .400. Williams also finished 2nd to Yankee Joes (Gordon, DiMaggio) in each of his triple crown seasons.

That me be due to Yankee worship, or sportswriters hating Ted Williams more than irreverence before the triple crown. I think if writers in 1940 had the sense of triple crown reverence that their counterparts in 2012 had, the voting would not have been close enough for one or two writers to swing the election with a spite vote against Ted.
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5682937)
I do wonder what we'd make of Trout in the pre-WAR era. Obviously, he'd be a star and a stud, but I don't know if he would have made the immediate reputation leap to "inner circle HOF" quite like he has. His RBI numbers are good, not great.


This is giving WAR way too much credit. It's not like the only choice is between using WAR and evaluating players strictly on RBI numbers.

Trout's current run reminds me of Joe Morgan from 1972-76, when Morgan was very good at everything, but exceptional only at OBP. He was probably undervalued by the baseball writers, but he still managed to win two MVPs. By the end of that run, he was widely considered the best player in baseball.
   25. dlf Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5682942)
Wasting a little time playing around trying to think through where I'd place Trout in the all time CF list and came across something that was surprising at first: Joe DiMaggio had over 100 more triples than steals. I haven't checked everyone, but I think he is the all time leader in that odd category with Musial close, but not quite there.
   26. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:41 AM (#5682945)
To a pre-sabermetrics observer, Trout's weakest stat is probably the RBI. He did lead the league once, but 111 is not a wow kind of number, and only reached 100 on the nose in one other season. Meanwhile, mostly thanks to batting behind Trout, the shell of Albert Pujols as had 100+ 4 times while teammates with Trout, including a high of 119.

There is a precedent for that RBI profile as well, Mickey Mantle. Through Trout's current age Mickey also had only 2 100 RBI seasons, leading the league with 130 and barely crossing the line with 102. He finished his career with 4 100 RBI seasons. It is my impression that observers at the time did not let this get in the way of considering Mickey's greatness.
   27. PreservedFish Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5682952)
Seems like the RBI fetish grew slowly and peaked in the 80s.
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5682954)
There is a precedent for that RBI profile as well, Mickey Mantle. Through Trout's current age Mickey also had only 2 100 RBI seasons, leading the league with 130 and barely crossing the line with 102. He finished his career with 4 100 RBI seasons. It is my impression that observers at the time did not let this get in the way of considering Mickey's greatness.


Willie Mays is almost exactly the same: Through Trout's age, he had had 100 RBIs twice, and had never led the league (he never would). But Willie was already a legend.
   29. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5682963)
Seems like the RBI fetish grew slowly and peaked in the 80s.


1970s examples - Jeff Burroughs 1974 and Don Baylor 1979. The peak had to be 1987 with Bell and Dawson.
   30. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5682967)
I think the fear with Trout (barring a career-altering injury) is that he regresses a bit this year and then just keeps on keeping on as he has been, until a decline in his 30s. This makes him rich man's Al Kaline. That's incredibly valuable, but without the sort of singular achievements that you associate with Mays, Cobb, and the like.
   31. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5682968)
This is crazy talk that pre-WAR Trout wouldn't have been considered so great.

He has basically been Willie Mays 2.0, who many feel is the best player ever.
   32. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5682969)
I think he is the all time leader in that odd category with Musial close, but not quite there.

I just checked and he is:

Dimaggio +101
Musial +99
Bottomley +93
PWaner +87
Clemente +83
Charley Jones* +82
Slaughter +77
Medwick +71

*incomplete SB data
   33. Hysterical & Useless Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5682973)
Angel Stadium rating as an extreme pitcher's park for a while, when it had never had that reputation.


I had the same reaction. Was there any significant remodeling done around that time or major changes to the other AL parks?


Park factors are influenced not just by remodeling but also by the weather; differences in temperature, wind strength & direction, and humidity will have significant effects on the flight of batted balls. Further, since park factor is determined relative to other parks in the league, significant changes affecting other parks will change every other park's rating.

Wrigley Field played as essentially neutral from the 20s through the 50s, sometimes even favoring pitchers. In the 60s, as new (generally larger)multi-purpose stadia were being built, it became very much a hitters park. With the advent of the (frequently smaller) "retro" parks (and the major outlier in Colorado), Wrigley moved back toward the neutral range, occasionally even favoring pitchers. [Though so far this year it's pretty strongly pro-hitter.]

So yeah, park factors can look wonky, but they're based on the numbers that actually happened, so I'd guess they provide a pretty good approximation of the truth. Or at least better than what we used to get, ie just looking at raw numbers.
   34. PreservedFish Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5682974)
Mays was a superlative fielder. I think he's got that on Trout.
   35. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5682982)
Mays was a superlative fielder. I think he's got that on Trout.

I agree.

But in a pre-WAR era, I think Trout's defense would be considered superlative due to the highlight reel catches. Seems that only modern metrics are what tell us he isn't a great fielder.

   36. dlf Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5682987)
#32 - Thanks David!
   37. PreservedFish Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5682989)
But in a pre-WAR era, I think Trout's defense would be considered superlative due to the highlight reel catches. Seems that only modern metrics are what tell us he isn't a great fielder.


I think his body type is a prejudice to overcome. Very thick, muscly guy for a CF.
   38. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5682996)
I think his body type is a prejudice to overcome. Very thick, muscly guy for a CF.

Mays' bat with Mantle's glove with the impression I had. Mays has a thirteen (!) year stretch from 1954-66 which reminds me of Trout offensively. Posting 170 OPS+ seasons with regularity while only winning the MVP twice. Mays' best seasons are a win better than Trout's because of the glove and Mays did it for twice as long. Mays just doesn't show up on the "by age X" lists that Trout dominates because of Korea.
   39. eric Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5683013)
I think he is the all time leader in that odd category with Musial close, but not quite there.

I just checked and he is:

Dimaggio +101
Musial +99
Bottomley +93
PWaner +87
Clemente +83
Charley Jones* +82
Slaughter +77
Medwick +71

*incomplete SB data


Yes, thanks, David. I was reading that and thinking that should have been a dugout trivia question to fill all those in.
   40. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5683031)
Yes, thanks, David. I was reading that and thinking that should have been a dugout trivia question to fill all those in.

Some fun names in the next tier. Vosmik, Gehrig, Simmons, Suhr, JStone, Combs, Averill, Terry, Travis, Mize, Groat, LWaner, SWest, Ripper Collins, Ted, Doc Cramer, Finney, Heath, Manush. I keep thinking I should stop typing, but then I see another odd name. The 1930s was a golden era of station-to-station triples hitters.
   41. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5683042)
Park factors are influenced not just by remodeling but also by the weather; differences in temperature, wind strength & direction, and humidity will have significant effects on the flight of batted balls. Further, since park factor is determined relative to other parks in the league, significant changes affecting other parks will change every other park's rating.


Through about 1/3 of his age 26 season, Trout trails only Cobb and Mantle in career WAR through age 26. Even if you think the park factors are way off and you cut, say, 20% off of his rbat totals, he would drop all the way to 6th all-time in career WAR through age 26. He would drop behind Hornsby, Arod, and Foxx, and be close to Mel Ott. And he still has 2/3 of his age 26 season to go.

   42. Tim M Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5683052)
He has basically been Willie Mays 2.0, who many feel is the best player ever.


I don't know about that. Mays would likely win a poll of "greatest defensive OF ever". Not sure if he's literally the greatest, but he has the stats for a good argument, top 10 in all the various Range Factor and Zone Runs etc most every year, w/ a fair bit of black ink. Trout, 2 times makes the leaderboards, never led in anything.

As others suggest I think Mantle is the more accurate comparison, minus a bit of flash like the 1961 HR race and the triple crown and the 7 rings and all that.
   43. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5683057)
I don't know about that. Mays would likely win a poll of "greatest defensive OF ever". Not sure if he's literally the greatest, but he has the stats for a good argument, top 10 in all the various Range Factor and Zone Runs etc most every year, w/ a fair bit of black ink. Trout, 2 times makes the leaderboards, never led in anything.

But we're in a pretend world where WAR and other advanced metrics don't exist.
   44. DanG Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5683069)
Most WAR/pos first eight years:

Player         WARWAAOPS+   PA From   To   Age
Ted Williams   72.6 57.0  195 5345 1939 1949 20
-30
Albert Pujols  64.1 48.0  170 5382 2001 2008 21
-28
Mickey Mantle  61.4 46.9  176 4768 1951 1958 19
-26
Barry Bonds    60.2 44.3  155 4929 1986 1993 21
-28
Wade Boggs     60.2 44.3  150 5371 1982 1989 24
-31
Mike Trout     59.1 44.7  174 4313 2011 2018 19
-26
Willie Mays    58.8 41.5  158 4632 1951 1959 20
-28
Stan Musial    57.6 40.9  172 4753 1941 1949 20
-28
Rogers Hornsby 56.9 43.4  173 4280 1915 1922 19
-26
Hank Aaron     56.0 36.6  153 5201 1954 1961 20
-27
Ty Cobb        56.0 39.4  180 4339 1905 1912 18
-25 
   45. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:30 PM (#5683072)
But we're in a pretend world where WAR and other advanced metrics don't exist.

Trout doesn't have any Gold Gloves. If whatever channel is streaming highlights decides to make Trout their poster boy then they might be able to sway the public, but I don't think his highlights are going to be more amazing than Kiermaier's or Buxton's, are they?
   46. Tim M Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5683074)
But we're in a pretend world where WAR and other advanced metrics don't exist.


If you want crusty old baseball guys judging by their eyeballs, Mays has 12 GGs, and regularly gets called not just the best OF, but the best defensive player of all time.
   47. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: May 31, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5683076)
How rare is it for someone playing a premium defensive spot to be the best hitter?

So we're calling the three positions in the middle of the spectrum "premium" now?
   48. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 31, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5683105)
His best years are not as good as most of the inner-circle greats (yet?), but "through age X" he's done quite a few things that haven't been done before.

Trout is a great player, but he isn't dominating the Thru Age-25 Leaderboard - the only category he leads is strikeouts. Of course, being anywhere on those lists is quite an accomplishment, even if you think that WAR puts Trout closer to the greatest of all time than warranted.
   49. dlf Posted: May 31, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5683122)
but he isn't dominating the Thru Age-25 Leaderboard


I know it isn't real as strikeouts weren't tracked for most of his time, but I do love seeing the name Chicken Wolf as the leader in AB/SO.
   50. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5683142)
I think he's more Mantle than Mays. If he can keep his OBP over .440 this year, it will be 3 years in a row doing that. Something Mays never did. Mays was over .400 a few times early in his career, generally when he hit .330-.340 with 70 walks or something like that. He had one season over 100 walks, when he was 40. Probably a case of losing bat speed and compensating by taking more pitches, he also struck out 100+ times for the only time in his career. Mays was a great hitter who put the ball in play, Trout and Mantle are/were great hitters who worked the count.

Defensive metrics are a mix of good and bad, this is similar to Mantle by the same ages. Mantle's defensive runs are into the negatives, but his bad years come when he was past 30. As far as highlight reels, Mays has one of the classics with his catch in the 1954 series. If we had Sportscenter and MLBTV, I'm sure we would have hundreds of Willie Mays highlight plays.

Mays was much more durable over his career than Mantle, and Trout looks pretty durable save for last year's freak injury. But Mantle up to age 30 was pretty durable himself. Mick averaged 145 games from 1952 (first full season) to 1960 (last of 154 G schedule). Mays averaged 152 from 1954 (return from military) to 1960. Trout has averaged 149 from 2013 to 2017. That looks like Mantle (adjusting for schedule), or 158 games 2013-2016 (if you think his 2017 injury was a freak thing and exclude it). In any case, they all look pretty dependable for those time frames.

Biggest reason to prefer a Mays comp over Mantle might be that he's not a switch hitter.

This is just a mark of Trout's greatness - we can argue about whether he's more like Mickey or more like Willie.
   51. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 02:36 PM (#5683196)
Trout is a great player, but he isn't dominating the Thru Age-25 Leaderboard -

I guess my memory is more WAR-centric.

Career WAR totals by age:
Age 20Ott 11.56Trout 11.01Cobb 9.53Kaline 9.02Harper 8.83Rodriguez 8.79Griffey 8.47 
Age 21
Trout 20.05Ott 17.87Cobb 15.69Griffey 15.57Kaline 15.55Rodriguez 14.44Hornsby 14.4
Age 22
Trout 27.66Cobb 25.57Williams 23.59Ott 23.47Rodriguez 22.95Griffey 21.38Kaline 21.08
Age 23
Trout 37.01Cobb 36.15Williams 34.21Ott 31.37Mantle 30.20Griffey 30.15Rodriguez 27.7
Age 24
Trout 47.48Cobb 46.87Mantle 41.45Rodriguez 38.06Griffey 37.07Ott 36.86Hornsby 36.10
Age 25
Cobb 56.04Trout 54.15Mantle 52.76Hornsby 46.90Rodriguez 46.40Foxx 45.21Ott 44.17
...
Age 26Cobb 63.41Mantle 61.44Trout59.13Hornsby 56.92Rodriguez 55.20Foxx 54.17Ott 51.29
...
Age 27Cobb 68.97Mantle 68.05Hornsby 63.65Rodriguez 63.58Foxx 62.5Griffey 59.15Trout59.13 


That's my recollection of what where Trout gets superlatives historically. This only happens with the age filter. If you go 'top N' without considering age, then he's not this high.
   52. eric Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:23 PM (#5683264)
That's my recollection of what where Trout gets superlatives historically. This only happens with the age filter. If you go 'top N' without considering age, then he's not this high.


Most WAR/pos first eight years:

Player         WAR/ WAA/ OPS+   PA From   To   Age
Ted Williams   72.6 57.0  195 5345 1939 1949 20-30
Albert Pujols  64.1 48.0  170 5382 2001 2008 21-28
Mickey Mantle  61.4 46.9  176 4768 1951 1958 19-26
Barry Bonds    60.2 44.3  155 4929 1986 1993 21-28
Wade Boggs     60.2 44.3  150 5371 1982 1989 24-31
Mike Trout     59.1 44.7  174 4313 2011 2018 19-26
Willie Mays    58.8 41.5  158 4632 1951 1959 20-28
Stan Musial    57.6 40.9  172 4753 1941 1949 20-28
Rogers Hornsby 56.9 43.4  173 4280 1915 1922 19-26
Hank Aaron     56.0 36.6  153 5201 1954 1961 20-27
Ty Cobb        56.0 39.4  180 4339 1905 1912 18-25 


A few things to notice:

1) Trout isn't done with his eighth season yet. He may pick up 4-10 more WAR this season.

2) Most of those guys, and every single one above him, had full or nearly-full first seasons. Trout had, well, two cups of coffee in 2011 (40G, 135 PAs). This chart essentially compares Trout's first 6.4 seasons to other guys' 8. The guys with cup'o'coffee first years (Musial, Hornsby, Cobb) are all below him.

3) Guys who came into the league older basically meant you were getting the best eight seasons of their career (Boggs the most obvious example, Pujols, Splinter). If the question is "who will have the most WAR over their age 24-31 seasons, Boggs or Trout?" I'd pick Trout in a heart-beat--he just hasn't gotten there yet.

I'd like to see where Trout ranks on this list after this year (my guess is 2nd, or very close) and on a "first eight full seasons" list after next year--my guess is 1st, or very close.

With 4.8 more WAR this season he will tie Ted Williams by the "first seven full seasons" metric. (For what place, overall, I don't know, unfortunately.)
   53. Mefisto Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5683267)
I'm not that impressed by the "through age 25" stats as I might be. Ruth was a pitcher until then. Mays missed 2 seasons to the military. Williams missed 1 or 2 (depends on how you want to count given his birthdate). Honus Wagner played only a season and a half before age 25, and those were with the Louisville Colonels.

An early start is great, but I'm not sure it tells us that much.
   54. Baldrick Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5683273)
Someone with better bb-ref skills than me: what are the all-time the best 7-year consecutive peaks? Where does Trout rank in that?
   55. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5683285)
I don't think I could do that. I could easily do 7-year from age x to age y, but not an open ended search. Could be done in a database, but probably not in a PI search.

But it probably would not be too hard to find going player by player. You can exclude most players who never got 60 WAR in a career, and you can easily skip the Palmeiros or Winfields who got there with long careers.
   56. Mefisto Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5683291)
Not systematic, but Ruth is 70.9 and Mays 70.5. It'd be hard to compare Williams because of military service.

ETA: Did a quick search on some others -- Bonds, Cobb, Hornsby, Speaker -- and none of them were above the mid-60s.
   57. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:41 PM (#5683298)
Bonds 63.1
Ruth 72.3
Mays 69.4
Cobb 62.8

Trout would be 64.7 if he adds 6.0 WAR from here to season's end.
   58. Mefisto Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5683307)
I don't know why Rally has different numbers than I got. I have Ruth from 1926-32 and Mays from 1960-66.
   59. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:53 PM (#5683318)
I don't think I could do that. I could easily do 7-year from age x to age y, but not an open ended search. Could be done in a database, but probably not in a PI search.

I had a DB set up to do this last year, but my computer died. So, I'm back to running python scripts on a different machine. :-(

I checked and can't find anything I posted elsewhere... Ruth, Hornsby & Mays stick out in my memory, though.
   60. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:55 PM (#5683322)
I'm not that impressed by the "through age 25" stats as I might be.


He's 7th in adjusted OPS+, and of the people above him only Cobb and Mantle are even within 1000 total ABs. Cobb and Mantle each have more ABs. Jimmie Foxx if Jimmie Foxx was a somewhat above average CF and one of the best baserunners in the game is a good comp for Trout for his career so far.
   61. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:59 PM (#5683329)
I've always had a sort of "how can this possibly add up" feeling w/ Trout and his WAR. The other WAR monsters like Ruth and Bonds have these video-game stats that seem from a different species. Trout's career bests - 41 HR, .326/.442/.629, 116 BB.. certainly great but not from a video game.

As others have noted, Trout is not really putting up Ruth or peak Bonds numbers according to WAR. Bonds had seasons of 10.6, 11.8 and 11.9 WAR, while Ruth had 6 seasons better than Trout's best so far. Baseball history, on the other hand, has a number of guys who have put up 9-10 WAR seasons with non-video game numbers. Yaz, Morgan, Ripken, Yount, Carew, Rickey, Pujols, Banks, Carew, Schmidt, Griffey, Harper have all done it, and that is not a list on which Trout looks out of place.

The difference is that Trout has done it starting at such an early age, and that he has done it so consistently.

The way I look at it is Trout has basically been putting up offensive numbers that if he were a 1B / DH / corner outfielder would probably net him 7 WAR - an excellent, potentially MVP-caliber year. His baserunning is worth maybe another 0.5-1 win in any given year, and the fact that he plays CF is worth another 1-1.5 wins vs. those other positions. That brings him to ~9 WAR, and a good year of defensive numbers will get him above 10.

And if Trout ever does put up a full season with a 200+ OPS+, or has an unusually good year on the bases and in the field, you'll see numbers even better than that. (And if he does it all in the same year, you'll see what we're getting right now. But I expect that he'll regress to the mean a bit over the remainder of the season.)

The interesting thing to me is why Trout's RBI totals are so "low" -- while his "clutch" numbers aren't great, his OPS with runners on base is about the same as with the bases empty. But only about 40% of his PA are with men on, while that number is over 50% for David Ortiz, for example. I'm not sure what the average is for elite hitters but Trout's probably on the lower end.
   62. Baldrick Posted: May 31, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5683348)
Doing this manually, so no guarantees about accuracy, but guys that I found who were over 60 WAR in seven consecutive years:
Johnson (10-16): 80.8
Ruth (18-24): 70.6+2.7 = 73.3
Young (92-98): 72.1
Mays 60-66): 70.5
Williams (40-49): 65.8
Wagner (03-09): 65
Hornsby (21-27): 64.4
Mantle (55-61): 64.2
Bonds (98-04): 63.1
Cobb (09-15): 62.8
Gehrig (27-33): 62.0
Alexander (11-17): 61.0

Musial, Morgan, and Aaron are all right there at about 59. Ruth, of course, has an entire second 7-year stretch that clears 70 (26-32). He was pretty good.
   63. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5683358)
And if he does it all in the same year, you'll see what we're getting right now. But I expect that he'll regress to the mean a bit over the remainder of the season


Hey, players are supposed to peak around the age Trout is now. Maybe this is just his new normal.
   64. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5683366)
Mays also had another (minimally overlapping) 7 year stretch: 54-60, where he put up 63.1
   65. Rally Posted: May 31, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5683380)
I don't know why Rally has different numbers than I got. I have Ruth from 1926-32 and Mays from 1960-66.


I had Ruth 1921-27 at 72.3. I'm leaving off an 11.9 season in 1920 - but getting a 12.4 in 1927. And that's not even his best, as #62 shows including his pitching.

Looks like I missed the best stretch for Willie.
   66. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2018 at 04:43 PM (#5683387)
I got my python script to work. Position player value only (Sorry Ruth), Consecutive Years only (Sorry Ted).

player_ID,WAR,age1,age2
Ruth
,72.25,26,32
Mays
,70.52,29,35
Hornsby
,66.15,23,29
Wagner
,64.95,29,35
Mantle
,64.2,23,29
Bonds
,63.06,33,39
Collins
,62.91,22,28
Cobb
,62.8,22,28
Gehrig
,61.98,24,30
Pujols
,61.72,23,29 


... removed duplicates (manually) to make it easier to see
   67. Mefisto Posted: May 31, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5683392)
Ok, looks like I missed on Ruth.
   68. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 05:14 PM (#5683409)

Hey, players are supposed to peak around the age Trout is now. Maybe this is just his new normal.


I know this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I can believe his hitting numbers will hold up for the rest of the season, if not longer. But the 7 Rfield in 1/3 of a season isn't sustainable. And at some point he is going to get caught stealing (currently 12/12 for the year).
   69. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: May 31, 2018 at 06:55 PM (#5683444)
The interesting thing to me is why Trout's RBI totals are so "low"
He's batted primarily 2nd for most of his career, usually behind poor leadoff men. And like Mantle and Bonds he is walking a ton, which limits RBIs.

2012 - Batted lead off all 139 games
2013 - Batted 1st or 2nd in 112/157 games
2014 - Batted 2nd in all 157 games played, lead league in RBIs from 2nd position which is almost unheard of.
2015 - Split the season between batting in the 2nd and 3rd spot
2016 - Primarily batted 3rd with 31 games from the 2nd spot. 100 RBIs.
2017 - Split the season batting in the 2nd and 3rd spot.

In his career he has driven in runs in 16.8% of his ABs, noted RBI man Tony Perez drove in runs at a 16.9% pace.
   70. BDC Posted: May 31, 2018 at 07:40 PM (#5683463)
He's batted primarily 2nd for most of his career, usually behind poor leadoff men

Conversely, of course, Trout's Runs Scored totals are quite good :) He has led the league in R four times already; every player to lead the league more times is an inner-circle HOFer except for non-Tioga George Burns. Trout is 12th all-time (since 1893) in Runs Scored through age 26 – which includes this season, and this season is only a little over 1/3 through.

That distinction alone leads me to believe that Trout would be well-regarded in any media climate. Scoring runs is pretty primal.
   71. Walt Davis Posted: May 31, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5683546)
Another thing to remember is that Trout is consistently hitting over 300 in a pretty low BA era. Much like offensively he's Mays with added walks, he's also young Aaron with added walks (316/365/543 for 20-24). Through age 28, Aaron had led the league in HR once and RBI twice with one MVP but 3 more top 3 finishes (ages 22-25), and made the AS team every time. I don't know how quickly Aaron was moving up the GOAT charts but "better all-around game than the young Aaron" is something that gets recognized by everybody. Heck, just look at all the love given to Griffey in his 20s and Trout has clearly been better. He also looks reasonably like young Pujols who didn't lead the league in HR until 29 or RBI until 30 (but obviously better HR and RBI numbers than Trout) ... and, OK, writers knew he wasn't as good as Bonds and dumb writers sometimes confused him with Ryan Howard, but always at the top of MVP votes, perennial AS, etc. Truly great all-around-ness has generally been well recognized by the baseball media and public.

It might well be true that if not for WAR and OPS+, we wouldn't have recognized how consistently awesome he has been with the SBs, HRs, RBIs and even a couple of "bad" BA years looking like inconsistency. His 2012 line of 326/399/564 looks a LOT better than 2014's 287/377/561 ... but both come out to a 168 OPS+ in large part because 2014 was a stinker year league-wide. We would have noticed that 2014 was a "year of the pitcher" (which we did in the post-saber world too) but not to the extent we'd "excuse" a 40 point differential in BA. But the OPS+ is remarkably consistent, the WAR is always incredibly high and those probably do make his dominance more obvious.

And how about we look at this as a positive, not a negative. Willie Mays only won two MVPs in his career, 11 years apart. That's shameful. Congrats to the media and the public for (hopefully) being better able to recognize all-around greatness and consistency than the numbskulls of the past.

By the way, this year -- 18 HR, 35 RBI. For all-time seasons with RBI <= 2*HR, he's unlikely to catch Bonds 73/137 but he's got a shot at Bonds' 2nd-best 45/90 or 3rd place Gallo's 41/80. C'mon Angels, you can do it!
   72. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 31, 2018 at 09:54 PM (#5683578)
Echoing #69 and #70, Trout has batted 2nd a lot in his career, and now bats 2nd almost every night. If he'd come up anytime before about 2005, I'd hazard a guess he might never have batted 2nd in his career except maybe during his rookie season, and he'd have racked up substantially fewer runs and more RBI.

Trout did lead the league in RBI once, but he leads the league in runs every year, pretty much. Might be the other way around if he mostly batted 3rd or 4th. (Or maybe not, because he walks so much; allowing that he was injured a lot, Mantle only won one RBI title versus five runs titles--incidentally the same number of each Trout will likely have after this season.)
   73. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5683955)
How much WAR would Trout need to accumulate to be considered better than Mantle? Mays? Ruth? I can see Trout moving past Mantle in people's rankings pretty easily, but is it really possible for him to pass the legend of Mays or Ruth, let alone their actual outstanding accomplishments?
   74. . . . . . . Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5684012)
While it’s been referenced a couple of times in this thread, not enough attention is being paid: Trout only looks like an early career outlier because better players than him had their early careers interrupted by WWII or, in Ruth’s case, acceptance of a wholly novel playing style.

Per season, Trout isn’t close to Ruth and is a couple of wins behind Williams and Mays. He’s somewhere in the zone between clear HOFers, like Kaline, who Trout is better than, and the legendary handful of greats (Ruth / Cobb / Mays / Williams) that he’s clearly worse than. He’s sort of a Mantle/Musial tier player which is pretty damn good.
   75. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 01, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5684023)
Per season, Trout isn’t close to Ruth and is a couple of wins behind Williams and Mays. He’s somewhere in the zone between clear HOFers, like Kaline, who Trout is better than, and the legendary handful of greats (Ruth / Cobb / Mays / Williams) that he’s clearly worse than. He’s sort of a Mantle/Musial tier player which is pretty damn good.


So, somewhere between the 5th and 10th best offensive players of all-time? Yeah, that's not too bad. :-)

How much WAR would Trout need to accumulate to be considered better than Mantle? Mays? Ruth? I can see Trout moving past Mantle in people's rankings pretty easily, but is it really possible for him to pass the legend of Mays or Ruth, let alone their actual outstanding accomplishments?


Mantle was done as a great player at age 32, was better than average the next 4 years (though the numbers superficially look terrible because 1965-68) and then done. He finished with "only" 110 WAR. Ruth and Mays were great into their late 30s. Trout will probably need to play at close to his established level until he is 35 to even get into the conversation with those 2.


   76. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 01, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5684038)
Trout will probably need to play at close to his established level until he is 35 to even get into the conversation with those 2.


That's sort of what I was getting at though. This thread is primarily trying to find ways to ding Trout and elevate Mays and Ruth - so even if Trout continues what he is doing until he is 35, would anyone consider him better than Mays? Would WS wins help (and if so, why)? MVP's? Gold Gloves?
   77. DavidFoss Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5684093)
This thread is primarily trying to find ways to ding Trout and elevate Mays and Ruth - so even if Trout continues what he is doing until he is 35, would anyone consider him better than Mays? Would WS wins help (and if so, why)? MVP's? Gold Gloves?

Some of this is just acknowledging how long Ruth & Mays maintained their play and that Trout still has a long way to go before he matches the longevity of their peaks. It's always an extrapolation to assume that anyone can repeat a Trout-level season. Much less repeat it ten more times.

The other thing is that Trout would need to have a couple of years that match or surpass Ruth's and Mays' best seasons. So far, he's racked up a ton of value by age 26, but his best seasons are a notch below peak Mays or peak Ruth. As difficult as it is to repeat a Trout-level season, its even tougher to best it. This year is a good start, but its only June 1.

Everything is an extrapolation. I don't want to set the bar so high as to guarantee disappointment. It'll be fun to see how long he can keep this up.
   78. Baldrick Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5684100)
Per season, Trout isn’t close to Ruth and is a couple of wins behind Williams and Mays. He’s somewhere in the zone between clear HOFers, like Kaline, who Trout is better than, and the legendary handful of greats (Ruth / Cobb / Mays / Williams) that he’s clearly worse than. He’s sort of a Mantle/Musial tier player which is pretty damn good.

Based on what? Given the numbers discussed above, Trout's already in striking range of having one of the ten best 7-consecutive-year WAR peaks for position players in history. And he has 2/3 of a season left. And those are the only seven years of his career.

If he keeps up his current pace (unlikely), he could get pretty close to Mays but if he returns to a mere normal-Trout pace, he'll still end up right in the mix with Hornsby, Williams, Wagner, Bonds. That's some pretty ridiculous company. And this doesn't even try to account for the fact that Trout is playing in a much more competitive environment than all of those guys (except Bonds).

In the end, 'best player' conversations are more about fun than about reaching any definitive conclusions. But I think Trout absolutely belongs in the conversation even if there's still a looooong way to go.
   79. . . . . . . Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5684103)
So, somewhere between the 5th and 10th best offensive players of all-time? Yeah, that's not too bad. :-)


Sure, but he's not as good as the breathless media reporting would have you believe. He's not even the best player we've seen in our fan-lives (Bonds). Hell, it's not even obvious he'll end up with a higher 3-year peak than Mookie Betts.

He's going to be Musial-like in that he'll have a super long career without interruption, and Mantle-like in that he's a 5-tool CF.

   80. Rally Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5684108)
That's sort of what I was getting at though. This thread is primarily trying to find ways to ding Trout and elevate Mays and Ruth - so even if Trout continues what he is doing until he is 35, would anyone consider him better than Mays? Would WS wins help (and if so, why)? MVP's? Gold Gloves?


He's got a pretty good shot at passing Mantle since the Mick didn't age well. Impossible to know how things will turn out, but Trout seems to be a lot more mature than Mickey ever was, I think we can discount the odds of Trout drinking himself into an early decline.

To pass Mays he's got to keep playing at a high level until he's 40. To pass Ruth he's going to have to take some lessons from his rookie teammate and win some games on the mound.
   81. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5684109)
As a point of comparison according to BRef neutralized settings if he played in 1927 with his homefield being Yankee Stadium his OPS would be at 1.047 for his career.
   82. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5684145)

Sure, but he's not as good as the breathless media reporting would have you believe. He's not even the best player we've seen in our fan-lives (Bonds).

Bonds has been retired for over a decade; his last "Bondsian" season was 14 years ago. Even if Trout is "only" the best player since Bonds, that's still a pretty big deal.
   83. zack Posted: June 01, 2018 at 04:26 PM (#5684236)
He's not even the best player we've seen in our fan-lives (Bonds)

That's kind of weird to say when Trout has been much better than Bonds was at the same point in their careers. By the end of 'this' season (by age), Bonds had an MVP and a 2nd place finish. Trout has 2 MVPs, 3 2nds, a 4th place and will probably have at least another 2nd place. He had been BARRY BONDS for 2 years, since his age 24 season. Trout has been MIKE TROUT since he was 20. If you take only those two best seasons, BARRY BONDS had a 165 OPS+. Mike Trout's whole career, including his cup of coffee as a teenager, has a 174 OPS+.

Age 22-26, his full seasons to 'this' point, Bonds had 37.8 WAR (or 41 WAR. with partial first season). Trout 22-26 has 48 WAR (58 career), and that's with missing an entire season between the injury last year and the fact that this season is only 1/3 finished. Now one of those WAR totals is seriously inflated by almost unbelievable fielding numbers (rfield of 24, 8, 37!, 28, 19) and great baserunning (17 runs), but then he was probably a legitimately great fielder so we shouldn't hold that against...Bonds.

Now Bonds would take it to even another level for age 27 and beyond, but considering that Trout has an 1.100 OPS right now we don't know that he hasn't as well.
   84. JAHV Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:20 PM (#5684251)
Sure, but he's not as good as the breathless media reporting would have you believe. He's not even the best player we've seen in our fan-lives (Bonds). Hell, it's not even obvious he'll end up with a higher 3-year peak than Mookie Betts.


He's every bit as good as every superlative thrown his way. He's one of the best, most complete players we've seen, certainly through this point in his career. He's two wins ahead of Betts for that three year peak and the only reason it's even THAT close is because he spotted Betts 30 games with the fluke thumb injury last season.

I'm comfortable saying that at this point in his career, Trout might not be as good as Ruth, and maybe not Mays or Williams. That's about it. I don't get the desire to downgrade what he's done.
   85. eric Posted: June 01, 2018 at 08:40 PM (#5684334)
I'm comfortable saying that at this point in his career, Trout might not be as good as Ruth, and maybe not Mays or Williams. That's about it. I don't get the desire to downgrade what he's done.


Especially with time-lining. People point to his being 1-2 WAR behind the GOAT contenders on a per-season basis, but forget that the game was not nearly as competitive as it is now. The replacement-level player in 1923 was definitely not even close to the same as today.

But I'm a pretty severe time-liner. I think Bonds had an argument for GOAT before 2000. And I think Trout is already in the pantheon of GOAT contenders. He just has to keep it up for another 8+ years. And if he raises his game another notch and gets some 11-12 WAR seasons, that would just be firm nail in the coffin.

   86. Ziggy's screen name Posted: June 01, 2018 at 09:18 PM (#5684362)
I'm not that impressed by the "through age 25" stats as I might be. Ruth was a pitcher until then. Mays missed 2 seasons to the military. Williams missed 1 or 2 (depends on how you want to count given his birthdate). Honus Wagner played only a season and a half before age 25, and those were with the Louisville Colonels.



Alas, maybe he's only as good as Honus Wagner.


As for "not even the greatest player we've seen, b/c Bonds" bit, this is seriously misleading. It would be like the ancient Greeks dinging Aristotle because they're old enough to remember Plato.
   87. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: June 01, 2018 at 10:05 PM (#5684394)
Which I don't for a second doubt some ancient Greeks did.
   88. DanG Posted: June 01, 2018 at 10:37 PM (#5684406)
Most WAR/pos, past 75 years, age-20 season:

Player        WAR/pos WAA/pos Year  Tm
Mike Trout       10.5     8.4 2012 LAA
Alex Rodriguez    9.4     7.2 1996 SEA
Al Kaline         8.2     6.2 1955 DET
Manny Machado     6.7     4.4 2013 BAL
Frank Robinson    6.6     4.0 1956 CIN 

Most WAR/pos, past 75 years, age-21 season:

Player        WAR/pos WAA/pos Year  Tm
Mike Trout        9.0     6.8 2013 LAA
Rickey Henderson  8.8     6.7 1980 OAK
Eddie Mathews     8.3     5.8 1953 MLN
Cesar Cedeno      8.0     6.2 1972 HOU
Andruw Jones      7.4     5.5 1998 ATL 

Most WAR/pos, past 75 years, age-22 season:

Player        WAR/pos WAA/pos Year  Tm
Bryce Harper     10.0     8.0 2015 WSN
Dick Allen        8.8     6.2 1964 PHI
Alex Rodriguez    8.5     6.1 1998 SEA
Cal Ripken        8.2     6.0 1983 BAL
Eddie Mathews     8.0     5.8 1954 MLN
Jim Fregosi       7.9     6.1 1964 LAA
Mike Trout        7.6     5.3 2014 LAA 

Most WAR/pos, past 75 years, age-23 season:

Player        WAR/pos WAA/pos Year  Tm
Willie Mays      10.6     8.2 1954 NYG
Cal Ripken       10.0     7.8 1984 BAL
Mookie Betts      9.7     7.4 2016 BOS
Mickey Mantle     9.6     7.6 1955 NYY
Mike Trout        9.4     7.0 2015 LAA 

Most WAR/pos, past 75 years, age-24 season:

Player        WAR/pos WAA/pos Year  Tm
Mickey Mantle    11.3     9.3 1956 NYY
Mike Trout       10.5     8.1 2016 LAA
Alex Rodriguez   10.4     8.1 2000 SEA
Mike Schmidt      9.7     7.6 1974 PHI
Willie Mays       9.1     6.7 1955 NYG 

Most WAR/pos, past 75 years, age-20-24 seasons:

Player        WAR/pos WAA/pos   PA From   To
Mike Trout       47.0    35.6 3423 2012 2016
Mickey Mantle    40.0    30.5 3105 1952 1956
Alex Rodriguez   38.7    27.7 3307 1996 2000
Ken Griffey      33.8    23.2 3100 1990 1994
Al Kaline        32.8    23.1 3211 1955 1959 

   89. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:16 PM (#5684428)
Hell, it's not even obvious he'll end up with a higher 3-year peak than Mookie Betts.


See, this is why you are a no respected troll. Mookie Betts? He of the +31 and +32 rField numbers the last 2 years from a corner OF? Ridiculing such numbers is normally your stock in trade. Now, in this one instance, it's gospel. Even taking Mookie's numbers at face value, Trout has never had a season a "bad' as Betts's 2nd best

   90. SoSH U at work Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:49 PM (#5684442)
See, this is why you are a no respected troll. Mookie Betts? He of the +31 and +32 rField numbers the last 2 years from a corner OF? Ridiculing such numbers is normally your stock in trade. Now, in this one instance, it's gospel. Even taking Mookie's numbers at face value, Trout has never had a season a "bad' as Betts's 2nd best.


Should it happen, which is still extraordinarily unlikely, the only reason it's possible is because Trout missed about 1/4 of the season last year (though he still outWARed Mookie).

On another note, do you have the right dotted troll there?
   91. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:54 PM (#5684444)
On another note, do you have the right dotted troll there?


You're right, I don't. I lose track of the guys who sign in as ... or whatever. I have no idea who ...... is. But that's not my fault. It's the idiots who present that way.
   92. SoSH U at work Posted: June 02, 2018 at 12:02 AM (#5684446)
I have no idea who ...... is


It's dzop.

   93. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 02, 2018 at 12:27 AM (#5684453)
It's dzop.


I forget. Is he a troll? Doesn't matter, his comment speaks for itself.
   94. PreservedFish Posted: June 02, 2018 at 09:26 AM (#5684482)
He has a slight contrarian streak, but many of us do. He's not a troll. dzop's salient feature is that he somehow finds a way, in some 50% or more of comments, to explain how he is a member of the world's elite, and that none of the rest of us are.
   95. Stormy JE Posted: June 02, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5684514)
Sure, but he's not as good as the breathless media reporting would have you believe.
Was this the same breathless media that LOL-ed at Trout when he was up against Miggy (twice) and Donaldson in the MVP voting?
   96. . . . . . . Posted: June 02, 2018 at 01:25 PM (#5684523)
Trout’s injury history counts as much as Mantle’s did. Durability is a skill.

PF, I’d say that’s only 10% of my posts but they seem to really get under your skin.
   97. SoSH U at work Posted: June 02, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5684525)
Trout’s injury history counts as much as Mantle’s did. Durability is a skill.


Unless your baseline is Ripkenesque, Trout has that one too.
   98. PreservedFish Posted: June 02, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5684527)
PF, I’d say that’s only 10% of my posts but they seem to really get under your skin.

Ha. OK. We can agree on more than zero percent.
   99. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 02, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5684551)
Trout became a regular in 2012, and has played in 943 games since then. I looked for outfielders who played in 140 games in 2012 and have been regulars ever since, and totalled up their games played - I did this by hand, so I may have gotten a couple of things wrong:

McCutchen 980
A. Jones 972
J. Upton 964
Bruce 954
TROUT 943
Gordon 894
Granderson 877
Heyward 874
Harper 824
Fowler 823
Reddick 819
C. Gonzalez 795
Pence 793
Braun 774
Brantley 749
   100. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 02, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5684560)
Trout’s injury history counts as much as Mantle’s did. Durability is a skill.


Yet another ridiculous assertion. Trout was brought up on April 28, 2012, and proceeded to play in 139 of the remaining 142 games that season. He then played 157, 157, 159, and 159. Last year he played 47 of 53 before suffering a major injury, missed a month and a half, and then played every remaining game. This year he's played every game.
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