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Thursday, May 18, 2017

How Mike Trout Is Hitting Better Than Ever – The Ringer

Trout has achieved his historic consistency through a remarkable ability to evolve. Throw him high fastballs designed to elude his low-ball swing, and he’ll eventually become one of the best hitters against that pitch. Tell him his arm is weak, and he’ll work on throwing until his arm is no longer a liability. Point out that he’s stopped stealing bases, and after combining for 27 in two years, he’ll swipe 30 in a single season. We’ve seen Trout stand out as an all-around stud capable of combining best-in-class baserunning and defense and back-to-back top-five finishes in the batting-title race. We’ve seen him excel as more of a strikeout-prone, home-run-happy slugger who once finished tied for fourth in baseball in dingers. We’ve seen him lead the majors in walks. However he’s gotten there, Trout has always ended up about 70 percent better than a league-average hitter.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 18, 2017 at 10:54 AM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, mike trout

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   1. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 18, 2017 at 12:48 PM (#5458500)
Mike Trout is Willie Mays 2.0.
   2. Man o' Schwar Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5458524)
Mike Trout makes me happy. I'm not an Angels fan (I don't dislike them, I nothing them), but I always check their box scores and highlights to see what he did. It's exciting, and I hope that 15 years from now I get to reflect back on having been around for the entire career of a truly inner circle HoFer.

(Of course, while I'm hoping for things I'm also hoping he spends the last 12 years or so of his career in a Cub uniform. But that's just being greedy.)
   3. Cargo Cultist Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:06 PM (#5458526)
He is more like Ron Santo 2.0.

He plays for the Angels. He's a great player, but it's all wasted because of that one cold hard fact.

I can't wait until he's a Dodger.
   4. Booey Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5458585)
He is more like Ron Santo 2.0.


???

Santo was underrated, but I don't think he was ever considered the best player in baseball for even a single season, let alone 5 (and now possibly 6) straight. That's ARod/Pujols territory at the very least, and possibly even Mays/Bonds.
   5. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:42 PM (#5458592)
This is his sixth full season...wow.
   6. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5458601)
Very dumb way of considering his projections. Assume he maintains his 2012-2016 performance for 20 seasons;

652 homers
3632 hits
568 stolen bases
3076 strike outs
692 doubles
150 triples
190 HBP
3151 games

Other than the strike outs none of those is a record or really even meaningfully close to one. That assumes he plays like this until he's 40 which would be remarkable. I don't really have much to observe here, just that it highlights how tough it is to set a record. For what it's worth he would finish with 191 WAR which WOULD be a record.
   7. zack Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:59 PM (#5458612)
I think Trout is a hit-by-bus HOFer even though he's not qualified yet.
   8. DavidFoss Posted: May 18, 2017 at 02:00 PM (#5458616)
Santo was underrated, but I don't think he was ever considered the best player in baseball for even a single season, let alone 5

Very close. bb-ref WAR 1964-68:

1. Willie Mays 41.8
2. Ron Santo 41.6
3. Roberto Clemente 39.5
4. Hank Aaron 37.8
5. Carl Yastrzemski 37.2

Santo was slightly higher from 63-67 (41.9) but Mays was further ahead (46.1)

I agree with your point, though. Trout's only 5-year window is 47.8 and he shows no sign of slowing down.
   9. zack Posted: May 18, 2017 at 02:12 PM (#5458634)
Wait I'm wrong about the HOF. A bus wouldn't stop Trout, the only thing that will prevent him from 10 years would be if he were assumed bodily into heaven.
   10. Batman Posted: May 18, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5458653)
I thought the headline was calling Trout a ringer, like he should be playing in a higher league and the Angels were cheating by playing him in this one.
   11. Hysterical & Useless Posted: May 18, 2017 at 02:30 PM (#5458662)
Not an Angels fan, but I hope spends his entire career with them, and that he remains among the elite. I like it when players can be identified with one team. Sure, I'd love to have all the greats on my team, but for the game as a whole each team should have important career guys. [The occasional late-career sentimental return, eg Aaron to Milwaukee, Willie to NY, is unimportant enough to their career totals to be okay.]

1. Willie Mays 41.8
2. Ron Santo 41.6


Mays was 5 years older at the beginning of that stretch than Santo was at the end. Just shaking my head at how awesome Willie was. And I was a big fan of Santo.
   12. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 18, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5458688)
He is more like Ron Santo 2.0...but it's all wasted


I mean, specifically, in the "He is not getting a chance to play in the postseason" context, sure. But that's a pretty narrow comparison to Santo, because Santo was of course, under-appreciated, and kept out of the HOF for much too long. Trout is/will be neither of those things.


   13. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 18, 2017 at 03:22 PM (#5458739)
Other than the strike outs none of those is a record or really even meaningfully close to one.


His runs scored total would be 2,340, which would be a record. His total bases would be 6,528, which would be reasonably close.

But yeah, to set a record at something, you usually need an ultra-specific set of circumstances. I think Trout's a little bit like Mr. Burns. Remember this?.

Trout probably walks too much to set the hits record and too much to set the HR record without some Bonds like, ahem, help. But he's got too much HR power to set the doubles record. He's also got too much HR power to justify hitting leadoff, which you probably need to set the SB record*, and that power also simply robs him of opportunities to be on base

*I mean, he won't anyway, and you need a lot of things to break that record, and but for sheer opportunity's sake, you need to be on base a lot with no one on in front of you, and jokes about the Angels terrible lineup aside, that's really hard to do when you're hitting third and putting 40 balls a year over the fence

   14. AROM Posted: May 18, 2017 at 03:32 PM (#5458750)
*I mean, he won't anyway, and you need a lot of things to break that record, and but for sheer opportunity's sake, you need to be on base a lot with no one on in front of you, and jokes about the Angels terrible lineup aside, that's really hard to do when you're hitting third


He's so far removed from any chance at all for a SB record that I don't see why batting order is relevant. For the last 5 year's he's stolen 98 bases. When Rickey! was Trout's age he already had 3 seasons with 100+ steals.

If Trout were to average 9 WAR per year until 40 I think he would break the HR record. My guess is that an older Trout who remains the best player in the game would be doing it with lower average 40 and 50 homer seasons, instead of .320, 30 homer seasons.
   15. Baldrick Posted: May 18, 2017 at 03:37 PM (#5458759)
Other than the strike outs none of those is a record or really even meaningfully close to one. That assumes he plays like this until he's 40 which would be remarkable. I don't really have much to observe here, just that it highlights how tough it is to set a record. For what it's worth he would finish with 191 WAR which WOULD be a record.

FWIW, using the same method, he'd have 2320 runs scored, which would beat Rickey! for #1 on the list.

Edit: coke to Ithaca
   16. SandyRiver Posted: May 18, 2017 at 03:37 PM (#5458761)
His runs scored total would be 2,340, which would be a record. His total bases would be 6,528, which would be reasonably close.


He'd also be 17 EBH beyond Aaron's record. (And the arithmetic Nazi gets 6,580 TB.)
   17. Batman Posted: May 18, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5458781)
The Angels also had the pick immediately before the one they took Trout with, and they drafted Randal Grichuk. The last other team to pick before then was the White Sox and they took Jared Mitchell, who's currently hitting .195 for the York Revolution.
   18. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 18, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5458784)
He's so far removed from any chance at all for a SB record that I don't see why batting order is relevant. For the last 5 year's he's stolen 98 bases. When Rickey! was Trout's age he already had 3 seasons with 100+ steals.


Well, I did write "He won't do it anyway". I just meant, even if he had the skill set, I don't think a power-hitting, middle of the order hitter is a good bet to break a SB record.
   19. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: May 18, 2017 at 04:27 PM (#5458830)
Just looking at his body type I think he'll be in LF and stealing 15 bases a year tops before age 30. That said I also think he will be hanging up OPS totals of over .900 for the next 15 years.
   20. Bote Man Posted: May 18, 2017 at 04:28 PM (#5458832)
Those of you who enjoy East Coast Bias will have your chance to watch Mike Trout live and in person as the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim which is near the Great City of Los Angeles visit Citi Field to take on the Mets this weekend.
   21. bfan Posted: May 18, 2017 at 04:34 PM (#5458845)
I kind of hope he eases up on the SB, as those efforts must increase the risk of injury, and how valuable is a season of 30 SB with 7 CS steals, anyway?

For all of Mike Trout's greatness, he was still 2nd in career WAR for guys in MLB with the last name of "Trout" until early this year.
   22. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: May 18, 2017 at 04:37 PM (#5458850)
I think Trout is a hit-by-bus HOFer even though he's not qualified yet.


I think I would have voted for Trout after 2015. I definitely would have voted for him after last season.
   23. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: May 18, 2017 at 04:43 PM (#5458861)
Mike Trout is Willie Mays 2.0.


Mays was an amazing hitter, but Trout is much better. Trout is an excellent defender and baserunner, but he can't touch Mays.

Mostly just goes to show how unique each truly elite all-time inner circle talent is. There is no Willie Mays 2.0, and there will never be a Mike Trout 2.0 either.
   24. TomH Posted: May 18, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5458870)
Another reason to compare him to Mays (or Speaker for that matter); Mays has very few "records", but Mays' RECORD is incredibly valuable and unique.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: May 18, 2017 at 06:22 PM (#5458949)
The "Santo" comp is really pre-Yanks ARod as he toiled in "obscurity" in Seattle and Texas. From 20-27, ARod had a 148 OPS+ (at SS of course), 340 HR, nearly 1000 RBI and Rs. That was good for 64 WAR, leading position players 4 times in those 8 years, along with a 2nd and a 3rd (and leading in oWAR 6 times). Like Trout he was often unfairly passed over for MVPs but still scored 1 along with 2 seconds and a third. He got 5 AS starts plus 2 more.

If it was ever really possible, Santo-like obscurity is no longer possible when you dominate the league the way Trout has and ARod did. You can still miss out on MVPs because of your teammates but you're still gonna finish 2nd or 3rd and get voted into the AS game. During his run, Santo never finished better than 4th in MVP with a 5th. He did make the AS team 6 of those 7 years, but only 3 as a starter. But he only led position player WAR once with 2 seconds so he was of course far short of ARod/Trout territory.

In the fanciful Trout projections, he would also end up second in career times on base, squeaking past Bonds but still well short of Rose (5929!). And yes, I think they would waive the 10-year rule for Trout if required. They'd have done it for Kershaw as well if he hadn't taken the field this year or ever again.
   26. Cargo Cultist Posted: May 18, 2017 at 07:53 PM (#5458999)
I saw Mays play from 1959 on; there was even a time when I lived in the hills overlooking The Stick and went to every Giant home game (and froze a lot). I have watched Trout play his entire career (thank you, mlbtv). Given my choice, I'd prefer Mays. Trout has talent; Willie Mays had every bit as much talent but won games, series, pennants, and a World Championship and he could carry his team. He was a gamer and a winner.

24× All-Star (1954–1973)
NL Champion (1954, 1962)
World Series champion (1954)
2× NL MVP (1954, 1965)
NL Rookie of the Year (1951)
12× Gold Glove Award (1957–1968)
Roberto Clemente Award (1971)
NL batting champion (1954)
4× NL home run leader (1955, 1962, 1964, 1965)
4× NL stolen base leader (1956–1959)
Hit 4 home runs in one game on April 30, 1961

Does anyone seriously think that Trout will be a 24-time All-Star?
   27. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: May 18, 2017 at 08:16 PM (#5459007)
Guys, Ron Santo is still playing, and his name is 'Chase Utley'.
   28. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: May 18, 2017 at 08:19 PM (#5459011)

Does anyone seriously think that Trout will be a 24-time All-Star?


If he gets a few years where he gets to be an All-Star twice a year, yeah, maybe.

Mays is perhaps the easier connection in our minds because Trout bats righthanded, but statistically (and, I suspect, defensively) Trout has been far more comparable to Mickey Mantle (his #1 comp for three years running) than Mays (who has never been among Trout's top ten comps). Or Griffey; Trout is Griffey with more walks. Or, perhaps less pithily put, Trout has been the caliber of superstar everyone in the 1990s thought Griffey was.
   29. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: May 18, 2017 at 08:21 PM (#5459014)
Does anyone seriously think that Trout will be a 24-time All-Star?

No, as he'd have to play until age 43 to get there. But Mays had the benefit of being an All-Star 2x/year from '59-'62. He was named to an All-Star team in "only" 20 seasons. Trout probably won't get to 20 either, but we all understand that it's unlikely Trout's career will end up equaling Mays'. That doesn't in any way mean that he hasn't played at a Mays-like level thus far.

As to the "winner" stuff, not buying it. Even ignoring all the oft-repeated arguments about how one player can't dominate baseball like other sports, the guy won one WS in his 22 year career, playing in leagues that had 16-20 teams. That doesn't seem so impressive to me.

edit: hat tip to PASTE
   30. Captain Supporter Posted: May 18, 2017 at 08:53 PM (#5459037)
I'd prefer Mays. Trout has talent; Willie Mays had every bit as much talent but won games, series, pennants, and a World Championship and he could carry his team. He was a gamer and a winner.


Willie Mays was downright awful (by his standards) in his six postseason series: .247/.323/.337 in 99 AB's with one (yes, one) home run. His World Series performance alone was even worse. He did not do a lot of carrying in those series. He was carried.
   31. eric Posted: May 18, 2017 at 09:37 PM (#5459065)
Mike Trout has four 9-WAR seasons through his age-24 season. That's as many as Barry Bonds had through his age-35 season. As many as Mays had through his age-30 season. As many as the Mick had his entire career.
   32. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: May 18, 2017 at 09:53 PM (#5459074)
As to the "winner" stuff, not buying it. Even ignoring all the oft-repeated arguments about how one player can't dominate baseball like other sports, the guy won one WS in his 22 year career, playing in leagues that had 16-20 teams. That doesn't seem so impressive to me.
A Willie Mays led team had the best record in baseball once - 1962. A Mike Trout led team has also had the best record in baseball once so far - 2014.
   33. zonk Posted: May 18, 2017 at 10:36 PM (#5459088)
I think any baseball fan of any duration eventually comes to recognize that in your life, you're going to see maybe four or five guys who are just so beyond their peers that you feel a little lucky to watch them ply their trade in real-time.

I used to think Barry Bonds was at the top of my heap and probably would be "that guy" for my lifetime.

Mike Trout has already won two MVPs, deserved at least one more (if not two), posted two 10 WAR seasons and another 2 9 WAR seasons --- all before Bonds made his fist all-star game.

Being a Cubs fan now without purpose and deciding to wander the baseball landscape a bit - plus some other moving purposes, I did the MLB package for the first time this year. I like Angel games just to watch Trout... It sounds corny and it's not like I'm building Shriners hospitals in his honor - but I feel fortunate I get to watch him play in real time. I suppose a part of that is that the Mays, the Ruths, and the Wagners - we only see in grainy footage and it's a great thing that going forward - you'll damn near be able to actually watch every game Trout plays.

When you watch him play regularly, he's as relentless as the dawn.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: May 18, 2017 at 11:21 PM (#5459098)
When you watch him play regularly, he's as relentless as the dawn.

So rather than setting in the west, he would rise if he was in the east. More reason to sign with the Yanks.

Mike Trout has four 9-WAR seasons through his age-24 season. That's as many as Barry Bonds had through his age-35 season. As many as Mays had through his age-30 season. As many as the Mick had his entire career.

In small part compared with Mays and Mantle because he gets to play 162-game sasons. And in Mays's case because he missed nearly 2 years in the military.

From 20-24, Trout has 3423 PA and 47.7 WAR, 36.3 WAA
From 23-27 (his first full 5 seasons), Mays had 3316 PA and 45.8 WAR, 33.5 WAA.

Pro-rate the playing time, and Mays goes to 47.3 WAR. Note, the WAA gap is due to the league differentials being on the "wrong" side of the RAA vs RAR equation. Pro-rate the PT and Mays' Rrep goes to 126 vs. Trout's 119 and, for this sort of comparison, that difference really should be credited to Mays' RAA. Pro-rate and add those 7 runs and it's 357 RAA for Mays, 343 for Trout ... Trout makes up the difference on the RAA to WAA conversion which was just over 10 for Mays and under 10 for Trout.

Not to question that Trout was almost certainly better over the ages 20-24. Trout wins easily at age 20 and, while we'll never know how Mays would have done with a full age-21 season, he certainly wasn't off to a start that would have matched Trout's age-21 season. Age 22 is completely unknown for Mays and I'd say there's a good chance it would have matched, maybe beaten Trout's age 22 season, but not by much ... and of course a good chance he'd have fallent short.

But for "clean" data, all we've really got so far is ages 23-24.

MT: 1363 PA, 121 Rbat, 144 RAA, 15 WAA, 20 WAR, 1.8 dWAR
WM: 1311 PA, 119 Rbat, 152 RAA, 15 WAA, 20 WAR, 2.4 dWAR

There's really nothing to choose there except that in a 162-game world, Mays probably would have added another 14-16 games in those years -- trivial but 1/10th of a season which for these guys is an extra WAR/WAA. Mays also had 92 HR vs Trout's 70 and outslugged him by 93 points (or out-ISO'd him by about 70 points), presumably at least partly park effects. Trout led the league both years in OPS+ with 176 and 173; Mays led both years with 175 and 174.

Barring injury, we will see Trout make the AS game year after year after year. Whether that ends up being 16 times or 20 times or 22 times is untold by my crystal ball. He'll make them whether he deserves to or not.
   35. Shredder Posted: May 19, 2017 at 12:10 AM (#5459113)
Does anyone seriously think that Trout will be a 24-time All-Star?
Serious question: Would any player of Trout's ability really play long enough to be a 24 time all-star anymore? I'm coming at this from a salary perspective. Adjusted for inflation, Mays made about (conservatively) $8MM-$10MM. How much of Mays hanging on was due to him wanting to play vs. actually playing for a paycheck? On the day Trout signs his next contract (heck, maybe even already) he never needs to earn another dime. Maybe I'm way off base here. Mays has the aura of a guy who played as long as he could because he just loved baseball. But for a guy like Trout, at least one of the motivations to play as long as possible clearly doesn't exist anymore.
   36. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 19, 2017 at 12:19 AM (#5459116)
He was named to an All-Star team in "only" 20 seasons. Trout probably won't get to 20 either,


18 actually. Trout could get to 18.

edit: never mind. Misread
   37. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 19, 2017 at 12:34 AM (#5459120)
On the day Trout signs his next contract (heck, maybe even already) he never needs to earn another dime. Maybe I'm way off base here. Mays has the aura of a guy who played as long as he could because he just loved baseball. But for a guy like Trout, at least one of the motivations to play as long as possible clearly doesn't exist anymore.

How many people would walk away from an opportunity to make an additional $30-50M (or more?) by "working" another year at a "job" they enjoy? People in many fields that, IMHO, are less fun than professional baseball don't quit as soon as their finances are set for life, so it may not affect that many MLB players. The Top 5 on the MLB Career Earnings List, A-Rod, Jeter, Sabathia, Pujols, & Beltran all played past well past the point that they were set for life, and those who have retired only did so when they could no longer play at, or near, a star level. It might be different if you're playing in pain, but if Trout stays healthy, I'll be surprised if he walks away from the game while still playing well.
   38. Baldrick Posted: May 19, 2017 at 01:18 AM (#5459122)
Serious question: Would any player of Trout's ability really play long enough to be a 24 time all-star anymore? I'm coming at this from a salary perspective.

Rickey Henderson played well into his late 40s, spending several years in the independent leagues trying to work his way back onto a major league roster after having earned something like 50 million dollars in his career.

Some guys may retire early. Some will try to play until they're dragged away.
   39. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 19, 2017 at 01:36 AM (#5459123)
heck, maybe even already) he never needs to earn another dime.


What's this "maybe" you are referring to? By the age of 28 Mike Trout will have earned $145 million dollars. I don't think maybe plays into the conversion of needing to earn another dime. I think $145 mil is quite enough, thank you very much.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: May 19, 2017 at 02:15 AM (#5459126)
As noted, some guys just keep hanging on ... maybe because they love the game, maybe because their competitive nature won't let them admit that they are done and often because nobody really knows they are done done until that last season. On the more "structural" side, you've also got the fact that MLB sometimes expands or faces other issues that affect the talent level in the game. By the time Trout is 40, maybe we'll have 32 or 34 or 36 teams and there will be heaps of opportunities.

Hard to say when "big money FA" really kicked in but, from 1990 onwards, there have been 130 at least partial seasons from a position player aged 40 or more (i.e. 130 player-seasons, not 130 players ... wait a bit). This includes HoFers Biggio, Boggs, Bonds, Brett, Dawson, Fisk, Griffey, Gwynn, Rickey, Chipper, Molitor, Murray, Raines, Ozzie, Thomas and Winfield along with shoo-in Ichiro, very likely Ortiz, likely Thome. Lots of HoVG players and the occasional weirdo like Sandy Alomar, Brad, and Henry Blanco. Andres Galarraga was still out there at 43, Giambi at 43, Ibanez at 42.

Plus Trout may well end up with a Pujos/ARod/Cano style contract that takes him through age 40-41. It's obviously possible that his body will have broken down enough by then that he either walks away early or gets released early but I assume that, if at all healthy, he will continue to show up ever year of his contract and try.

What's this "maybe" you are referring to? By the age of 28 Mike Trout will have earned $145 million dollars. I don't think maybe plays into the conversion of needing to earn another dime. I think $145 mil is quite enough, thank you very much.

Sure, sounds like a lot but the IRS takes 1/3 and his agent takes 10% and then he buys hookers and blow for all of his friends and then he buys his mom a house and then his financial advisor rips him off and, next thing you know, he's only got $50 M left. Then he buys a $15 M estate, meets the next Bernie Madoff and gets divorced 7 times and now he's only got like $5 M plus a full MLB pension at 62 and health care to get him through the last 30 years of his life, the unfortunate bastard.

Really, your minimum goal for a comfortable retirement should be around $500 million ... and you'll be lucky if that isn't eaten up by the hyper-inflation that is just around the corner!
   41. Hank G. Posted: May 19, 2017 at 03:28 AM (#5459131)
I guess the thing I got out of this article is that if he put all the different things he’s done into a single season, he would be really good.
   42. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 19, 2017 at 05:34 AM (#5459135)
Mike Trout would be a free agent after this season had he not signed that dumb extension. Oh well.
   43. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: May 19, 2017 at 07:35 AM (#5459148)
I got to see him play in person for the first time in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and it was a revelation. He did everything, a couple of good catches, threw somebody out, homered...but the most awe-inspiring thing was watching him score from first on doubles a couple of times. It was like if John Cena was a sprinter. We had good seats right down front and the sound of Trout rounding third and heading home was unlike any other I've ever heard from a baserunner. Like a herd of something big. I'd be terrified facing that guy down if I was a catcher.
   44. Lassus Posted: May 19, 2017 at 08:09 AM (#5459155)
Those of you who enjoy East Coast Bias will have your chance to watch Mike Trout live and in person as the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim which is near the Great City of Los Angeles visit Citi Field to take on the Mets this weekend.

Holy Jesus. Buy a seat in the outfield, you might end up with one of his seven home runs.
   45. AROM Posted: May 19, 2017 at 08:30 AM (#5459159)
Serious question: Would any player of Trout's ability really play long enough to be a 24 time all-star anymore? I'm coming at this from a salary perspective. Adjusted for inflation, Mays made about (conservatively) $8MM-$10MM. How much of Mays hanging on was due to him wanting to play vs. actually playing for a paycheck? On the day Trout signs his next contract (heck, maybe even already) he never needs to earn another dime. Maybe I'm way off base here. Mays has the aura of a guy who played as long as he could because he just loved baseball. But for a guy like Trout, at least one of the motivations to play as long as possible clearly doesn't exist anymore.


Trout sure seems like a dude who just loves playing baseball. If he doesn't, then he's a great actor and could probably make even more money in Hollywood.

Sure seems like Trout has already earned enough money to last him the rest of his life even if he quit tomorrow - looks like he's made about 30 million so far (not counting endorsements). Now some people can make huge amounts of money and never save a dime, but Trout seems like he would be content to live with his parents in Millville.

Superstar players who play to age 40 are almost always financially set, having made more money in their careers than they can possibly spend. It's still pretty rare for a player to retire while they still have something to contribute.

Mussina, Rivera, Ortiz, Chipper were pretty good in their last seasons. They would have been welcomed back at full pay if they wanted to play one more year. Pretty much everyone else retires because they aren't very good anymore.
   46. AROM Posted: May 19, 2017 at 08:38 AM (#5459162)
Mike Trout would be a free agent after this season had he not signed that dumb extension. Oh well.


It will stave off talk of contracting the franchise until after 2020. They've got a short window to develop a farm system, sign some free agents who actually can play, or offer Trout enough money to keep him. As of now the 2021 season looks like this: No Trout, no Simmons, no Calhoun. Even Skaggs and Richards, if they are ever healthy again, will be free agents.

But 41 year old Pujols will still be there for 30 million.
   47. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 19, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5459188)
Ichiro has earned $166M in the US, and would die tomorrow if you made him quit baseball.
   48. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 19, 2017 at 09:34 AM (#5459190)
I actually suspect Mike Trout may be a 20-time all-star.

If you look at modern guys who had 14-19 like Jeter, Smith, and Gwynn, even Ripken, you see a common thread: It took them a few years to earn their first one.

Ripken was 22 and in his 2nd season
Jeter was 24 and in his 3rd
Gwynn was 24 and in his 3rd
Ozzie was 26 and in his 4th

Trout has started right away at 20 as a rookie. I could see talent alone carrying him to another 8-9, before he starts getting to the age where things have to break right for him in terms of say, injuries and poor starts, and then of course the name recognition (that carried Mays to a few of his at the end of his career)

I suspect being an OF will help him, since he is less susceptible to one/two other players sneaking up on him—like A-Rod not making it in 1999 not just because Jeter and Nomar were at their peaks, but because Omar Vizquel inexplicably was hitting .349 on June 20.
   49. eric Posted: May 19, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5459212)
Mike Trout has four 9-WAR seasons through his age-24 season. That's as many as Barry Bonds had through his age-35 season. As many as Mays had through his age-30 season. As many as the Mick had his entire career.

In small part compared with Mays and Mantle because he gets to play 162-game sasons. And in Mays's case because he missed nearly 2 years in the military.


The point I was making was just how good how early Trout is, and compared him to the players people were comparing him to in this thread. If we prorate Mays and Mantle's pre-1961 seasons then combined they pick up exactly one more 9 WAR season between them (Mickey, in 1958). There are a variety of reasons you wouldn't want to jump to too broad of conclusions based on the "number of 9-WAR seasons" metric (including, why 9? why not 8, or 10, or 7.328?) but I still feel it's illustrative and interesting that compared with three top-10 players of all-time, who entered MLB for good at 19, 20 and 21, Trout is very far ahead, and by quite a bit, using a measure of great seasons.
   50. SandyRiver Posted: May 19, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5459237)
Mussina, Rivera, Ortiz, Chipper were pretty good in their last seasons. They would have been welcomed back at full pay if they wanted to play one more year. Pretty much everyone else retires because they aren't very good anymore.


Big Papi was my favorite player 2004 thru last year, and though it's sad not to watch him crushing baseballs, I'm sort of glad he retired when he did. Anyone who saw him gimping out 400-foot singles late last season knew it was time. Had he come back, and with his feet/ankles continuing to deteriorate (seemed a certainty), it would not have been long before right fielders were throwing him out at first.

#34: Your work shows me that early Mays/early Trout are about as close in value as two high-end players could ever be, even if they got there thru somewhat different strengths.
   51. DavidFoss Posted: May 19, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5459241)
The point I was making was just how good how early Trout is

Indeed, that's been the way Trout has stuck out historically. Usually, it takes a player a couple of years to ramp up to inner-circle quality of play but Trout had the best 20-year-old season of all-time (by bb-ref WAR) and the second-best 21-year-old season of all-time (Hornsby) and he has maintained that level of play since. Trout has been dominating the 'thru age X' lists so far. He's only a third of the way to Willie Mays career wise so everything is still very much an extrapolation at this point but it's fun seeing how long he can keep it up.
   52. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: May 19, 2017 at 11:08 AM (#5459250)
It will stave off talk of contracting the franchise until after 2020. They've got a short window to develop a farm system, sign some free agents who actually can play, or offer Trout enough money to keep him. As of now the 2021 season looks like this: No Trout, no Simmons, no Calhoun. Even Skaggs and Richards, if they are ever healthy again, will be free agents.

But 41 year old Pujols will still be there for 30 million.


That's a damn sad revelation, AROM. Thanks...
   53. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 19, 2017 at 11:38 AM (#5459268)
Very dumb way of considering his projections. Assume he maintains his 2012-2016 performance for 20 seasons;

652 homers
3632 hits
568 stolen bases
3076 strike outs
692 doubles
150 triples
190 HBP
3151 games

Other than the strike outs none of those is a record or really even meaningfully close to one
On the other hand:

Thru age-24, Trout had 168 HR; career record holder Barry Bonds had 84.
Trout had 917 hits; Pete Rose had 518.
Trout had 175 doubles; Tris Speaker had 135.
Trout played 811 games; Rose played 455
Trout had 48 HBP; Hughie Jennings had 22 (and #2 (and much more modern player) Craig Biggio had 9).
   54. AROM Posted: May 19, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5459274)
Big Papi was my favorite player 2004 thru last year, and though it's sad not to watch him crushing baseballs, I'm sort of glad he retired when he did. Anyone who saw him gimping out 400-foot singles late last season knew it was time. Had he come back, and with his feet/ankles continuing to deteriorate (seemed a certainty), it would not have been long before right fielders were throwing him out at first.


I think Mussina is in that boat as well. He won 20 games, but his fastball was slipping quickly, from 88.6 in 2006 to 87.1 to 86.4. I think he realized he was fortunate to have the results he did, that they were unlikely to continue.

Jones was still good in his last year but a few notches below where he had been. Rivera of course would have had another 40 save, 2.00 ERA season or five if he had stuck around.
   55. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 19, 2017 at 02:55 PM (#5459476)
I think Mussina is in that boat as well. He won 20 games, but his fastball was slipping quickly, from 88.6 in 2006 to 87.1 to 86.4. I think he realized he was fortunate to have the results he did, that they were unlikely to continue.


If I recall, Mussina's issue was more that he felt if he came back, he'd owe it to himself to try for 300 wins, and that would be a three year task. Given how good the 2009 Yankees were though, he might have pulled it off in two

I think his win total in '08, was a pure fluke, but who knows if he could have figured out a way to adjust for the decline in his fastball velocity. He posted the best walk rate of his career in 2008, and the best GB/FB ratio. He was not generating any swings and misses, but his K rate actually rose significantly from 2007 to 2008 despite the drop in swinging strikes. I think he probably could have settled somewhere around league average for a few years.
   56. BDC Posted: May 19, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5459481)
Thinking about players who arrived in the majors as fully-formed stars led me to search for the top ten all-time (position players) in WAR accumulated over their first two major-league seasons:

Player           WAR/pos   Age   G
Kris Bryant         13.6 23
-24 306
Frank Robinson      13.4 20
-21 302
Ted Williams        13.0 20
-21 293
Joe DiMaggio        12.8 21
-22 289
Paul Waner          12.2 23
-24 299
Albert Pujols       12.1 21
-22 318
Johnny Pesky        12.0 23
-27 300
Evan Longoria       11.8 22
-23 279
Wade Boggs          11.7 24
-25 257
Mike Trout          11.5 19
-20 179 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/19/2017.

With these guys you always ask "why weren't they in the majors sooner," as of course a lot of people were asking in real time about Kris Bryant :)

A few were PCL stars at young ages back in the day when that was a very strong league (Williams, DiMaggio, Waner). Pesky is unusual in that his first two seasons were 1942 and 1946. Boggs was a late bloomer. The others just put it all together in a huge hurry.

And there's Mike Trout at #10, younger than any of the rest, even though he only played 40 games in his initial season.
   57. DavidFoss Posted: May 19, 2017 at 05:06 PM (#5459643)
And there's Mike Trout at #10, younger than any of the rest, even though he only played 40 games in his initial season.

Mel Ott has him beat by age 20 barely. But he won a tryout at age 16 and McGraw had spent four years easing him into a starting role.

name_common            WAR  
-------------------  ------
Mel Ott                11.45
Mike Trout             11.43
Ty Cobb                 9.53
Al Kaline               9.00
Bryce Harper            8.87
Alex Rodriguez          8.79
Ken Griffey             8.44 


Trout has the lead at every other age until the current one (25). He needs ~4 more WAR this year to pass Mantle & Cobb.

name_common              WAR  
--------------------  -------
Ty Cobb                 55.84
Mickey Mantle           52.7
Mike Trout              51.2
Rogers Hornsby          46.9
Alex Rodriguez          46.34
Jimmie Foxx             45.21 

   58. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 19, 2017 at 07:23 PM (#5459737)

What Trout needs in order to break some records is an increase in the offensive environment, a move to Colorado or something equivalent. And to play until he's 43 or something like that.
   59. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: May 20, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5459983)
I think his win total in '08, was a pure fluke, but who knows if he could have figured out a way to adjust for the decline in his fastball velocity.


Mussina's win total in '08 was somewhat flukish, but also was in part a result of his figuring out a way to adjust for the decline in his fastball velocity. Whether his fastball velocity would have continued to decline and whether he could have continued to adjust are open questions. But yeah, if he'd felt that he was two years away from 300 wins instead of three, he probably would have stuck around for us to find out.
   60. Howie Menckel Posted: May 20, 2017 at 11:05 AM (#5459988)
Pujols vs Trout best-to-worst OPS+ in full seasons (current in paren

AP 192 189 187 178 173 173 168 157 157 151 148 138 128 118 113
MT 179 176 173 168 168

a 229 so far this year for Trout, but even if he scores a 200, as a hitter he's not matching the Pujols tallies (yet)
   61. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2017 at 07:12 PM (#5460158)
Yeah, #60 is the "depressing" part -- Trout is historically great but not a extra-double-super-historically-great hitter. Here's Frank Thomas:

FT 212 181 180 179 178 177 177 174 163 (that 212 was 1994 so probably would have come back some)

Let's not even start with Bonds or Williams.

Trout may of course end up having Aaron/Mays/Williams style consistency and still be putting up a 175 OPS+ at 38 and on his way to one of the all-time best hitting careers ... aided by the fact that almost nobody was this good at these ages.

But even for ages 20-24, he's only tied with Williams for first in Rbat ... but he's got 800 more PA so Williams was the better hitter. He's about 25-30 ahead of Cobb and Foxx but in 250-350 more PA which is just about enough to even them up. He's 60 ahead of Pujols but has 700 more PA, again just about enough to even them up.

But if we give up the age restriction then, strictly as a hitter, his 296 Rbat in about 3500 PA is less insanely great. From ages 23-27, Gehrig had 377 and Ruth had 373 (in just 2700 PA). Foxx and Mantle are 330+ and, more modern, Thomas and Pujols had 310 and 309.

If you shift it out to 25-29. Ruth had nearly 500, Hornsby is over 400, Gehrig is just short. Thomas was at 313, Pujols at 299. From 27-31, 5 guys are over 300, Bonds shows up at 299 and even Giambi had 288. Ted Williams would of course have shown up more often but for the war.

Obviously it's possible that Trout will move into that 310 territory or beyond, even more possibly he'll still be around 290-300, at those ages and remain as good a hitter as we've seen at those ages in most of our lifetimes. He even has as good a shot as imaginable at Ruth's age 20-29 record of 606 Rbat (Trout would have 1500-2000 PA on him). Barring a missed season, he's got a very good shot to end up in the Gehrig, Mantle, Foxx mix for 3rd and has a good shot of passing Pujols' 536 (again, Trout would have a full season on him).

As hitters, Pujols and Trout really are quite good comps at these ages ... Thomas isn't bad but walked a bit more. Trout has a one-year head start on Pujols and two on Thomas so he'll likely win any counting stat comparisons of their young years but he'd have to take a permanent step up to be a better hitter than they were.

Obviously in WAR terms, his speed gives him a clear edge over those two -- Rpos, Rbase, Rdp add about 1.3-1.4 wins per year relative to Pujols at those ages. For that, the only real post-war comps are Mays and Mantle. (Griffey, good as he was, was only this level of hitter in his very peak seasons.)

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