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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Schoenfeld: Mike Trout’s Hall of Fame Timeline

Only if Trout can replicate and not be an old fart at play.

One of the largest debates in Hall of Fame discussion is that of peak vs. longevity. We know neither Trout’s peak numbers, nor his longevity. His body is not one that alludes to an enduring career, and while pessimistic, it’s not far-fetched to think that Trout may already have reached his ceiling. Before we get into hypotheticals, let’s look at where his case stands as of today.

He has produced 24.7 rWAR, and is on pace to end the season with around 30.3 career rWAR. He will be far and away the best player of all time through his age 23 season. Primarily using Jay Jaffe’s JAWS score, which averages a player’s seven-year peak with his career WAR, Trout would lie well below the 57.2 JAWS rating of the average Hall of Fame center fielder. In fact, he would need to increase his JAWS rating nearly 26.9 points in order to be considered even an average Hall player. The Hall of Stats, which combines peak and longevity in terms of WAR and then weights it to a Hall of Fame average of 100, pegs Trout at 54% under the average Hall player in terms of rWAR. Obviously, Trout could not hang up his spikes in October and waltz right into Cooperstown.

However, his case becomes quite interesting when looking at the fact that the weighted average WAR of a Hall of Fame center fielder’s seven-year peak is 44. If he holds pace for the rest of 2014, Trout will have accrued about 70% of the average seven-year peak WAR of a HOF center fielder in only three years. The average career WAR of a Hall of Fame center fielder is 70.4. Trout will have accumulated nearly 45% of the average HOF CF’s career WAR by the time he is 23.

...Now let’s put on our best optimistic hats and say Mike Trout actually improves starting next year. Let’s say he posts four consecutive seasons of 11.0 rWAR. For some historical context, two players in the past 40 years have posted 11+ rWAR, Barry Bonds a few times in the 2000s and Joe Morgan in 1975. Using 2012-2018 as his seven-year peak, he would have a peak rWAR of 73.6, well above the average Hall of Fame CF’s 44. His career rWAR from 2011-2018 that time would be 74.3, just above the average 70.4 career WAR of the Hall of Fame CF. His JAWS rating would be 73.95, an astounding 16.75 points higher than the average HOF CF.

If Trout merely stays steady and produces four more years of 10.0 rWAR, his JAWS rating would still be just under 70, well above-average compared to the average 57.2 rating. If he tumbled one rung down to a consistent 8-win player, his JAWS rating would be 61.95.

Repoz Posted: June 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, sabermetrics

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   1. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 26, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4736195)
Amazing that his OPS and OPS+ have improved in each of the last three years (so far).
   2. GEB4000 Posted: June 26, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4736199)
It's a big leap to assume that a 10 WAR a year player is going to get better. There are a lot of players that started at a high level and never reached a higher level (see Ted Williams), and there are a lot of players whose performance went downhill after a quick start (see Cesar Cedeno). It would be a major accomplishment for Trout to keep playing at this high level for another 7 or 8 years.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: June 26, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4736203)
Has anyone played at this level and not been a HOFer?

If starting in 2015 Mike Trout began playing like, I dunno, Rondell White, would he be a HOFer?
   4. SoCalDemon Posted: June 26, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4736207)
There are a lot of players that started at a high level and never reached a higher level (see Ted Williams)


This is a weird example, as Ted Williams is absolutely a player that started off great and then got (way) better. His first two years he had OPS+s of 160 and 161, and then 235, 216, three years away over some sort of dispute, and then 215, 205, and 189 (and then 186 through the rest of his career; he was pretty good).
   5. SoCalDemon Posted: June 26, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4736210)
And if you go by WAR, his first two years he had 6.7 and 6.3, and then his next three years were at 10.6, 10.6, and 10.9.
   6. RJ in TO Posted: June 26, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4736225)
If starting in 2015 Mike Trout began playing like, I dunno, Rondell White, would he be a HOFer?


Rondell White put up just under 30 WAR in his career. Add that to what Trout is likely to have at the end of 2015, and you could probably make a case that he'd still be of Hall of Fame quality for his career, as he'd be sitting around 60 WAR.

He'd never make it in, because he'd be viewed as a huge disappointment, but the argument that he deserves enshrinement could be made.
   7. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: June 26, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4736238)
Or Mickey Mantle, age 20-22, WARs of 6.4, 5.3, 6.9, then 9.5, 11.2, 11.3 the next 3 years

   8. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: June 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4736244)
Has anyone played at this level and not been a HOFer?


No (excepting roids cases) The closest is joe Jackson, and his is a special case. Al Rosen had one sublime season, but the rest of his short career was no better than merely excellent. Trout is on pace for his 3rd 9 WAR season. The only non-HOFers with more than 1 are Jackson, Bonds, Griffey, Pujols, and ARod.

edit: maybe Utley. It's not a foregone conclusion that he won't make it, and his best is a touch worse than Trout so far.
   9. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4736325)
Has anyone played at this level and not been a HOFer?


What level?

career high in WAR is 10.8

Players who have had a 10.0 season and not made the HOF:

Barry Bonds
ARod
Sammy Sosa (2001)
Al Rosen (1953)
Rico Petrocelli (1969)

Rosen had a HOF peak, started too late and retired early
Rico was a good player, 39 career war despite age 32 cliff dive, but his 10 WAR season was an outlier/fluke

Drop it to 9.5 and you can add
Pujols
Larry Walker
Ken Griffey
Shoeless Joe
and Adrian Beltre

WAR through age 23
Ken Griffey
Alex Rodriguez
Andruw Jones
Mike Trout
Cesar Cedeno
Vada Pinson
Sherry Magee
Albert Pujols
Jason Heyward
Stuffy McInnis

Heyward and Jones are pumped up by DWAR
Cedeno and Pinson are the cautionary tales, Cedeno had seasons of 8.0 and 7.3 WAR by age 23, Pinson put up a 7.5 at age 22, both had good career but neither maintained their early suceess
   10. alilisd Posted: June 26, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4736380)
there are a lot of players whose performance went downhill after a quick start (see Cesar Cedeno).


Cedeno had six straight seasons of HOF, or near HOF, level performance. YMMV, but that's more than a quick start to me. He went downhill due to injuries, came back in 1980 to put up another great year, then succumbed to still more injuries.
   11. John Northey Posted: June 26, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4736382)
Andruw Jones is my first thought for 'worst case'. Ages 21/22/23 he had WAR's of 7.4/7.1/8.2. He dropped a bit, ranging from 3.2 to 6.7 from ages 24-29. Then he dropped to 3.0 at 30 and 1.8 total from 31 until he went to Japan for 2013/2014. He seemed a HOF lock at 29, near no hope right now. Just shy of 2000 hits, 434 HR, was amazing on defense for years but so ugly at the end that many forgot how good he once was. I suspect he'll make the HOF someday but not right away.

So, up through age 22 (Trout's current year) Jones had 17.9 WAR. From 23 to the end 44.9, or from 24 to the end (skipping his peak 3 years) you get 36.7 WAR. Add 36.7 to Trout's 25.0 (current) and you have just over 60 WAR and a cusp HOF'er (ala Jones). I figure that is close to the worst case for Trout right now. Best case you have an inner circle HOF'er.

A-Rod might be the best point of comparison. Bit of time in majors as a teen, full time at 20 and instant star. His best WAR was at 24 (10.4), but cracked 9 as late as age 31 with a steady decline after that. 116 WAR now and likely to get a few more years in so might reach 120. Would that be the optimistic projection or the expected? What is the big time optimist? Probably getting to the Johnson/Bonds/Cy Young area (160 lifetime) with a shot at the record 183.6 for Ruth. Just 6 have ever cracked 150 (Cobb and Mays also). Trout certainly has the needed fast start. 131 needed for top 10 all time.
   12. AROM Posted: June 26, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4736389)
The only ways Trout does not eventually make the HOF are:

1. He develops a gambling problem
2. He gets associated with steroids (unfortunately this could be a real risk, even if he's never caught. Just ask Jeff Bagwell. It helps to stay on the good side of the press. Don't get surly, even if your team is having a bad year and you've been asked the same stupid question for the 1000th time. Stay the happy, smiling, just happy to be on the field player. When you get married, stay married. Don't start bringing home shehulks who will tell everyone about your centaur portraits. If you have to live the bachelor life, it's OK, but make sure you remember the gift baskets.)
3. Career threatening injury
4. Robotic development and or alien invasion which renders 99% of humans as less than replacement level. In this game with Wookies throwing 200 MPH fastballs to Optimus Prime, who can hit the ball 5000 feet, Trout will continue as a merely average player.
   13. Blastin Posted: June 26, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4736567)
It's funny, because I understand, in my brain, that the era adjustment (plus suspect dWar) is what makes his numbers so relatively enormous. But the dumb little emotional part of me misses the gaudy number of bygone eras, where just edging up to a 1.000 OPS wouldn't have made you the best hitter by any stretch.

I know it's dumb. I'll see myself out.
   14. AROM Posted: June 26, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4736586)
Trout's suspect dWAR made his 2012 WAR total enormous. Last season he had negative defensive runs. For his career he's at +14 rfield. On a per season basis, that's pretty innocuous.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4736602)
Trout's suspect dWAR made his 2012 WAR total enormous. Last season he had negative defensive runs. For his career he's at +14 rfield. On a per season basis, that's pretty innocuous.


I've mentioned it before, but since you are on this thread, is there any reason to think that there is something wrong going on with his park factors?
   16. AROM Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4736626)
Over the last 3 years, Angels + their opponents have scored 8.61 runs per game in Angel Stadium. On the road, they have scored 9.47 runs. To me, that seems consistent with an average batting park factor of 95 (94,95,96 from 2012-2014).
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4736636)
Over the last 3 years, Angels + their opponents have scored 8.61 runs per game in Angel Stadium. On the road, they have scored 9.47 runs. To me, that seems consistent with an average batting park factor of 95 (94,95,96 from 2012-2014).


Thanks, it just seems like a weird rapid change, we've discussed there might be some weather patterns really hammering the west coast stadiums that is making all their stadiums pitcher stadiums, add in a couple of new hitter parks and it's not out of the realm of a legitimate change, but it's just fairly sudden that it makes me question it a bit more.
   18. Booey Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4736673)
Blastin #13 -

It's not dumb. I miss the 90's/early 2000's too. Part of that is my age - teens and early 20's back then - but I also think it was a golden age for greatness and a much more entertaining style of play. I know a lot of people complained about too many homers, but is replacing them with strikeouts really a better option? I'd understand if fans wanted more (non-HR) base hits and more stolen bases instead, but low averages and tons of K's doesn't seem like the change people were hoping for. YMMV, of course.
   19. thetailor Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4736678)
We know neither Trout’s peak numbers, nor his longevity. His body is not one that alludes to an enduring career...
Is there something wrong with Mike Trout's body that I am not aware of?
   20. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4736681)
Camden Yards is suddenly playing like a pitchers park this year. That's probably just an early season fluke, but it's certainly possible that the weather is playing some role.
   21. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4736683)
It's not dumb. I miss the 90's/early 2000's too. Part of that is my age - teens and early 20's back then - but I also think it was a golden age for greatness and a much more entertaining style of play. I know a lot of people complained about too many homers, but is replacing them with strikeouts really a better option? I'd understand if fans wanted more (non-HR) base hits and more stolen bases instead, but low averages and tons of K's doesn't seem like the change people were hoping for. YMMV, of course.

Absolutely. I think we have the worst of all possible worlds right now: A low scoring environment, a take and rake approach by the hitters, a lot of strikeouts, and a lot of fantastic relievers. So you have lengthy ABs that often end in Ks, multiple pitching changes, few balls in play, and few runs. Blah.

At least in the 60s you had more balls in play and starters throwing more innings.
   22. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4736684)
We know neither Trout’s peak numbers, nor his longevity. His body is not one that alludes to an enduring career...Is there something wrong with Mike Trout's body that I am not aware of?


Yeah, that's a weird line. Dude's built like a brick house.
   23. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4736686)
Andruw Jones is my first thought for 'worst case'.


Jones was never, at any point, in Trout's zip code as a hitter.

Best years by oWAR, age 23 and earlier, not in the HOF:
Mike Trout 9.7
Dick Allen 8.8
Mike Trout 8.6
Albert Pujols 8.5
Alex Rodriguez 8.5
Shoeless Joe Jackson 8.5
Ken Griffey 8.1
Alex Rodriguez 7.7
Cesar Cedeno 7.6
Jose Canseco 7.5
Jim Wynn 7.4
Dick Allen 7.2
Hanley Ramirez 7.1
Gary Sheffield 7
Juan Gonzalez 6.8

So maybe you could add a number 5 to AROM's list, "Turns into a latter day Dick Allen"
   24. AROM Posted: June 26, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4736716)
Yeah, that's a weird line. Dude's built like a brick house.


I'm guessing it means something along the lines of Trout being so perfect that there isn't room for improvement. Some promising young hitters look good at the plate and you think in a few years, once they fill out, will start hitting for power.

If Trout still has yet to fill out, then he is going to be one monster of a physical specimen. That may be good for conquering, crushing the baseball, seeing it driven before him, hearing the lamentations of the women, and sitting on the throne of Aquilonia. But if he does so, he probably won't be much of a center fielder anymore.

Edit: And if Trout does conquer Aquilonia, before battle he will pray to Cron.
   25. Booey Posted: June 26, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4736739)
I think we have the worst of all possible worlds right now: A low scoring environment, a take and rake approach by the hitters, a lot of strikeouts, and a lot of fantastic relievers. So you have lengthy ABs that often end in Ks, multiple pitching changes, few balls in play, and few runs. Blah.


Yep. For entertainments sake, the best players should be putting up big numbers. I actually don't care if the gaudy stats are in favor of hitters (1990's), or pitchers (1960's), but they way things are now we're not really seeing much of either. Despite low offensive levels, the obsession with pitch counts and the increased reliance on relievers has left starting pitching totals low too - wins, innings, even strikeouts. A 17 K game by a starter is cool and grabs your attention. A 17 K game split between 4 pitchers is much less cool and goes almost completely unnoticed (by me at least) when scanning the boxscores. Maybe I'm just greedy, but if I can't see 60 homer and 150 rbi seasons, then I should at least get to enjoy 25 win and 300 inning/strikeout seasons instead. Now we're stuck with 36 homer and 110 rbi seasons on one side and 17 win, 230 inning seasons on the other. Ugh.

I know baseball is cyclical, but I hope this current cycle passes through quickly.

End rant.
   26. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 26, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4736749)
Oh, and the fielders are fantastic, which is mostly a good thing, but also means that more and more balls in play end up as outs.
   27. Hank G. Posted: June 26, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4736752)
It's a big leap to assume that a 10 WAR a year player is going to get better. There are a lot of players that started at a high level and never reached a higher level (see Ted Williams), and there are a lot of players whose performance went downhill after a quick start (see Cesar Cedeno).


The problem with using Williams as an example is that he did get better, and he lost so many prime years to military service.

I would think that Al Kaline would be the poster boy for starting at a high level and never getting better. His best three consecutive years (by rWAR) were at age 20-22, and he only had one season (age 26) that was (marginally) better than his age 20 season. Of course, Kaline was still a no-doubt HOFer, and Trout has started at a higher level than Kaline did, so even if he were to follow a Kaline-like career path, he would end up inner-circle HOF.


   28. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: June 26, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4736802)
David Wright is a good example of one who arrived in the majors a fully formed all star who never really got better. Not at Trout's level, obviously, but those examples aren't exactly easy to come by.
   29. thetailor Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4736820)
I think we have the worst of all possible worlds right now: A low scoring environment, a take and rake approach by the hitters, a lot of strikeouts, and a lot of fantastic relievers. So you have lengthy ABs that often end in Ks, multiple pitching changes, few balls in play, and few runs. Blah.
Plus an explosion of season-ending elbow injuries. Those are not fun either.

It really is a perfect storm of terrible. I still love baseball - now as much as ever - but I can see the objective things that make it less pleasant right now.
   30. McCoy Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4736824)
Alex Rodriguez would have been another poster boy for the never really got better camp if it wasn't for steroids. Guy puts up a 161 OPS+ in his first full season. Then falls back a bit until he starts taking roids and he starts equalling then surpassing his initial great season.
   31. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4736829)
David Wright is a good example of one who arrived in the majors a fully formed all star who never really got better.


Longoria too. Guy's been both a fantastic player and a disappointment.
   32. The Good Face Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4736830)
Yeah, that's a weird line. Dude's built like a brick house.

I'm guessing it means something along the lines of Trout being so perfect that there isn't room for improvement. Some promising young hitters look good at the plate and you think in a few years, once they fill out, will start hitting for power.


I interpreted it as saying, "Trout is so thick and heavy at such a young age, that he's likely to gain weight and lose speed/athleticism as he enters his 30s." I dunno. It's hard to imagine a guy who weighs 230 at age 22 being much of a CF at 34, but hardly anybody is much of a CF at 34. A 260lb Mike Trout who plays an adequate LF and doesn't run much would still be a heck of a player.
   33. Curse of the Andino Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4736840)
Nick Markakis looked like he'd be a superstar for Baltimore 'til he hit 24. He was hurt, but even taking away last year, he's been kind of meh since.
   34. alilisd Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4736846)
It's not dumb. I miss the 90's/early 2000's too.


Chicks dig the long ball! ;-)
   35. alilisd Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4736849)
Yeah, that's a weird line. Dude's built like a brick house.


I'm guessing it means something along the lines of Trout being so perfect that there isn't room for improvement.


I was taking it as a Mantle comparison. Super muscular and powerful such that he could be prone to muscle injuries. I know Mantle's biggest, most notorious injury was the knee, which was simply unlucky, but he was also known as being so explosive that he was hurting himself swinging and running, too; no?
   36. alilisd Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4736851)
And if Trout does conquer Aquilonia, before battle he will pray to Cron.


Dude! CroM!
   37. AROM Posted: June 26, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4736887)
He has never prayed to Crom before, he has no tongue for it. He may pray to his new teammate, the rookie 1b/dh.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: June 26, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4736898)
Is Trout already at his peak? Of course he almost certainly is, at least from a WAR perspective. Sure, he might "fluke" his way into an 11+ WAR season -- i.e. set a career high one year -- but nobody post-war has been a consistently better player than Trout and only a handful have consistently produced at his level (Bonds, Mays, Mantle).

Another who never really got better was Musial. Of course he never really got worse until the very end. He had a very low (for him) OPS+ at 26 and his career high 200 at 27 but otherwise from 22-33 he posted an OPS+ of about 173 +/- 10. WAR's a bit more volatile but still pretty stable ... you have the 4.5 WAR "valley" and the 11 WAR peak but otherwise 8s and 9s until 33.

Aaron was also freakishly consistent although you can certainly argue that he didn't reach his plateau until 23 or even 25.

As to Trout becoming a "disappointment" ... I think he's nearly in already. This is where losing the two MVPs hurts him but, unless he immediately turns into Rondell White, 5 years of being the best player in the game (probably by a wide margin) plus 5 years of average production will get him in on a peak argument I think ... perhaps especially because such a dramatic decline would almost surely have to be injury-related and the voters seem quite forgiving about such things (Dean, Koufax, Puckett). If somebody like Mattingly can stay on the full time because he was (incorrectly) perceived as the best player in the game for 5 years or so then someone near Trout's level will have a great chance.

Trout might not be able to match Pujols' incredible run but Pujols was a bus guy no later than his 2nd MVP in 2008, assuming he could make it ten years.

Caveats for roids, gambling, walking out on his team, being caught with Prince Fielder's nude photo in his locker, etc.
   39. bjhanke Posted: June 27, 2014 at 02:12 AM (#4737222)
I took the body thing as being Bill James' old observation that players who have "old players' skills" when young, tend to peak early and have short careers. Most of the guys who have that performance profile are, shall we say,not slender. But also, very few of them play CF. - Brock Hanke
   40. Hank G. Posted: June 27, 2014 at 02:34 AM (#4737224)
I was taking it as a Mantle comparison.


Watching Trout is like watching a young, sober Mantle. Admittedly, I’m extrapolating the sober part.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:35 AM (#4737234)
I took the body thing as being Bill James' old observation that players who have "old players' skills" when young, tend to peak early and have short careers.

But as you sorta note, that's not Trout. He's playing CF at an average or better level; he's not stealing as much as he did at 20 but he's on pace for 20 this year (with no CS yet), had 33 last year, etc. And his career BA is 313.

If he was hitting 280/400/550 while playing LF and putting up -5 a year in steals and DP, then he'd be a young guy with old player skills. Instead he's a young guy with Mantle/Mays skills -- that's the ultimate in young man skills.

Anyway, even the young like old players last through their early 30s and if Trout does that before any substantial decline, he'll have 70+ WAR by the time he goes over the cliff.

I don't want to jinx the guy but few great players went over the cliff that early. Griffey is one who did and he had 76 WAR through age 30. Banks didn't get a full season until 23 and didn't become Banks until 24 and was in decline by 30 and he managed 55 WAR. Cedeno didn't reach Trout's heights, was essentially done at 29 and still had 50 WAR through 30. Trout's in the middle of his age 22 season and is already halfway to Cedeno's age 30 total. From age 23-30, Rondell White put up 22 WAR in just 3700 PA and Cedeno put up 30 in 4200. From 23-30, Kaline added 42 WAR. For HoFers through age 23, Trout today would be in the top 10 between Foxx and Musial.

Clearly having an MVP or two before he gets hit by the bus would help.
   42. BrianBrianson Posted: June 27, 2014 at 05:08 AM (#4737237)
It's foolish to talk about Mike Trout having old man skills or young man skills.

Mike Trout has all the skills.
   43. SandyRiver Posted: June 27, 2014 at 08:31 AM (#4737264)
Another who never really got better was Musial. Of course he never really got worse until the very end. He had a very low (for him) OPS+ at 26 and his career high 200 at 27 but otherwise from 22-33 he posted an OPS+ of about 173 +/- 10. WAR's a bit more volatile but still pretty stable ... you have the 4.5 WAR "valley" and the 11 WAR peak but otherwise 8s and 9s until 33.


It all counts, but his age 26 year was also his appendicitis year, and he was batting about .200 thru mid June. (And from there thru the end of the following year he batted closer to .400.) 1948 stands out like a redwood among tall pines, all huge but one much huge-er.

Same era, another great start with much lesser finish was Pete Reiser, 7+ WAR for his age 22 season but a near-fatal attraction for OF walls that greatly diminished his skills and shortened his career.
   44. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4737299)
Has anyone played at this level and not been a HOFer?


I know he didn't have comparable WAR numbers but of course Strawberry massively flamed out.

Griffey did too, to a large extent.

Strawberry put up 40 WAR in his 20s, then 2 WAR in his 30s.

Griffey had 76 WAR through age 30, then 8 WAR thereafter.
   45. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4737302)
Nomar is another one. 41 of 44 WAR through age 29.

Also, nobody's talking about it, but as a 1B/DH, Joe Mauer has turned into a bad baseball player. With four years and $92 million to go.
   46. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4737310)
Also, nobody's talking about it, but as a 1B/DH, Joe Mauer has turned into a bad baseball player.


He's had bad half year, but in 2012 & 2013 he put up OPS+s of 140 and 143
why don't you wait a year before declaring he's a bad ball player, though you are free to point out that Ryan Howard is OTOH a below average baseball player
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4737314)
I agree 70 games is too early re Mauer; I should have said that he has been bad thus far.
   48. Don Malcolm Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4737364)
I think that Repoz has asked (indirectly, of course, as is his way...) the truly important question:

Did Don Van Vliet have old player's skills or young player's skills?

The winning answer may be eligible for a tropical hot dog night.
   49. AROM Posted: June 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4737416)
Joe Mauer looked like Mauer yesterday. I got home in time to catch the end of the Angel's game and saw him turn a 6-1 9th inning lead into a 6-4 save situation.

But I don't watch many Twins games, and I see his line is 270/342/354. I wouldn't be worried, his stats right now look very similar to his injury troubled 2011 season. He came back from that to put up 2 full seasons of .320 batting and .400 OBP. Nothing wrong with that at any position.
   50. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4737423)
Joe Mauer looked like Mauer yesterday. I got home in time to catch the end of the Angel's game and saw him turn a 6-1 9th inning lead into a 6-4 save situation.
To be fair, he was hitting against the Angel bullpen.
   51. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4737424)
I know he didn't have comparable WAR numbers but of course Strawberry massively flamed out.

Griffey did too, to a large extent.

Strawberry put up 40 WAR in his 20s, then 2 WAR in his 30s.

Griffey had 76 WAR through age 30, then 8 WAR thereafter.


So, Mike Trout could become a drug addict, true... Is that likely to happen?

As far as Griffey, well, he is just not eligible yet. Definite HOFer. Also, spent his 20's playing on one of the hardest astroturf playing surfaces, and was infamous for not worrying about stretching before games. Is it shocking that he had the leg injuries he had once he got into his 30's? Is not taking care of himself something that people have been hearing about Mike Trout (honest question, i am in Cincinnati, and we don't hear much about the Angels here)?
   52. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4737426)
So, Mike Trout could become a drug addict, true... Is that likely to happen?


Not sure how serious this is but Strawberry was doing plenty of drugs through his 20s while putting up a Hall of Fame half-career.

Same with Gooden.

Caminiti was a drug addict and played well.

Josh Hamilton is presumably a recovered drug addict and playing well.

I see zero evidence that being a drug addict leads to a loss of baseball talent.

   53. Matt Welch Posted: June 27, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4737444)
As far as I can reckon, the only non-HOF, non-Bonds/Jackson-type players who've had 3+ seasons of 7.3 or more WAR are Jeff Bagwell (11.6* 7.7 7.5 7.4), Bobby Grich (8.3 8.0* 7.3 7.3), and Dick Allen (9.0* 8.8 7.5). I assume Chase Utley & Robinson Cano (3 such seasons each so far) will make the HoF; Todd Helton also has 3.

(* = adjusted for 162-game team seasons.)

Trout's on pace for 9.9 WAR this year, after 10.8 and 8.9. So no, nobody's ever played this well and not made the Hall of Fame.
   54. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4737445)
Not sure how serious this is but Strawberry was doing plenty of drugs through his 20s while putting up a Hall of Fame half-career.


Yeah, and then he only had 2 WAR in his 30's. As he became a circus sideshow in court for a myriad of problems, including his drug use. You don't think the decade of alcohol and drug abuse didn't catch up to him?

   55. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 27, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4737451)
Griffey is probably the worst case projection at this point barring a hit by a bus scenario. IOW, hall of famer, just not inner circle.
   56. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 27, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4737452)
I see zero evidence that being a drug addict leads to a loss of baseball talent.

Dave Parker :-)

Well with him it was a combination drug addict/weight gain.

   57. alilisd Posted: June 27, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4737458)
He has never prayed to Crom before, he has no tongue for it


You are forgiven.
   58. alilisd Posted: June 27, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4737459)
Watching Trout is like watching a young, sober Mantle.


Seems that way to me, but I was too young to have seen a young Mantle, except in brief clips. Still, it sure seems that way with all the similarities in performance and position. I love the Commerce Comet nickname, and it's been mirrored for Trout with the Millville Meteor moniker! Very cool!
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4737536)
Yeah, and then he only had 2 WAR in his 30's. As he became a circus sideshow in court for a myriad of problems, including his drug use. You don't think the decade of alcohol and drug abuse didn't catch up to him?


No, I don't.

How would this have happened, exactly? If you walk it through, what is the rationale?
   60. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4737563)
Let's start with this

Highlights from late 1993 season into 1994

* Sept. 4, 1993--Arrested for allegedly striking Charisse Simons, the 26-year-old woman he lived with.

* Sept. 21, 1993--No criminal charges are filed by Charisse Simons after the Sept. 4 incident.

* Sept 23, 1993--A day after saying he contemplated suicide because of accumulated problems, says he only flirted with the idea.

* November, 1993--During the destructive L.A. brush fires, says during a radio interview: "Let it burn. I don't live there any more."

* March 3, 1994--Investigated by the IRS and U.S. Attorney's Office for allegedly failing to file tax returns for in excess of $300,000 of income derived from autograph and memorabilia shows.

* April 3, 1994--Fails to show up for the Dodgers' final exhibition game against the Angels at Anaheim Stadium and is not located until that night.

* April 4, 1994--Announces that he has a substance abuse problem, and is put on the disabled list by the Dodgers.

* April 8, 1994--Enters an unidentified treatment center to begin a 28-day stay, after which he continues to receive treatment as an outpatient.

* May 25, 1994--Reaches a monetary settlement with the Dodgers, who put him on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.


Does this look like someone who has their life together? Who's career wasn't affected by his drug use and alcohol.

After suffering through 2 years of back issues, Straw was still only 31 at the end of 1993, and had 290 homeruns (which appears to be 26th all-time through age 31 and 1993). He still had time to get back on track and resume a HOF level career.

He eventually signed with the Giants after being put on waivers by the Dodgers. Played only 29 games in 1994. Was then suspended by the league for his substance abuse and missed most of the 1995 season, signing with the Yankees late. After that, he stayed mostly clean, but, suffered some more injuries and had to fight cancer.

Maybe he continued to have his Hall of Fame talent, but, to say that his abuse didn't affect his career seems wrong. If he doesn't have those issues, maybe he stays with the Dodgers in 1994, maybe the Yankees don't release him at the end of 1995, only to resign him after he spends a good portion of 1996 tearing it up for the St. Paul Saints.
   61. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4737586)
Also, just to bring this back to Mike Trout, if Trout gets to 9.9 war this season, he'll have more career WAR through age 22 than Strawberry did through age 27. They're not even really comparable players. Strawberry in his 20's was pretty comparable to someone like Orlando Cepeda, Mike Trout is Mickey Mantle.
   62. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4737616)
* Sept. 4, 1993--Arrested for allegedly striking Charisse Simons, the 26-year-old woman he lived with.

* Sept. 21, 1993--No criminal charges are filed by Charisse Simons after the Sept. 4 incident.

* Sept 23, 1993--A day after saying he contemplated suicide because of accumulated problems, says he only flirted with the idea.

* November, 1993--During the destructive L.A. brush fires, says during a radio interview: "Let it burn. I don't live there any more."

* March 3, 1994--Investigated by the IRS and U.S. Attorney's Office for allegedly failing to file tax returns for in excess of $300,000 of income derived from autograph and memorabilia shows.

* April 3, 1994--Fails to show up for the Dodgers' final exhibition game against the Angels at Anaheim Stadium and is not located until that night.

* April 4, 1994--Announces that he has a substance abuse problem, and is put on the disabled list by the Dodgers.

* April 8, 1994--Enters an unidentified treatment center to begin a 28-day stay, after which he continues to receive treatment as an outpatient.

* May 25, 1994--Reaches a monetary settlement with the Dodgers, who put him on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.


I see exactly one relevant issue there: missing actual games on the field.

The psychological stuff may or may not be relevant. Nobody has a damned clue.
   63. Ziggy Posted: June 27, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4737671)
"Mike Trout is Mickey Mantle."

What makes Trout so exciting is that this isn't true. So far (yes, only so far, and maybe not in the end, but SO FAR), Trout is BETTER than Mickey Mantle.
   64. alilisd Posted: June 28, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4737986)
Well, not better. Trout is peak Mantle and Mays, but younger than they were. He's done it at 20, 21, and 22, while it took them until 23 to get there. Hopefully he can keep it up until he's 35 like Mays.
   65. Mendo Posted: June 28, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4738562)
He has never prayed to Crom before, he has no tongue for it. He may pray to his new teammate, the rookie 1b/dh.


I would assume Cron prays to Mike Trout.
   66. Mefisto Posted: June 28, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4738567)
Hell, Chuck Norris prays to Mike Trout.
   67. OCF Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4738629)
How about Reggie Jackson for the "started fast, didn't get better" list? He was 23 years old and in his second full year in the majors when he had 40 HR by the end of July and a light-tower monster shot in the ASG. Even though he ended that season with "only" 47 HR, it was a 9.2 WAR year. His second best year, a 7.8, was at age 27. After that, he was a good player (lots of 3-4 WAR years) for a long time but never back to that superstar level.
   68. Matt Welch Posted: June 29, 2014 at 07:06 AM (#4738686)
He's done it at 20, 21, and 22, while it took them until 23 to get there.

In fairness, Mays *might* have gotten there at 22, had he not been serving in the military.
   69. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:19 AM (#4738693)
Has anyone played at this level and not been a HOFer?

Trout is currently on pace for roughly 10.3 WAR this year, which would give him an even 30 over the past 3 seasons.

Position players with 30 WAR in a 3-season span (or longer spans averaging 10 WAR per year):
Rogers Hornsby, 1920-22 (30.4)
Ty Cobb, 1909-12 (40.7)
Mickey Mantle, 1955-58 (40.7)
Ted Williams, 1941-48 (50.4, obviously missing 3 years from the middle)
Barry Bonds, 2000-04 (51.1)
Willie Mays, 1960-66 (70.6)
Babe Ruth, 1919-32 (140.6)

So yeah, 30 WAR in 3 years is a good sign. Obviously Trout hasn't done it yet, but I wouldn't be inclined to bet against him either.
   70. bfan Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:35 AM (#4738696)
Oh, and the fielders are fantastic, which is mostly a good thing, but also means that more and more balls in play end up as outs.


Agreed, and this is a big factor for 2 reasons. 1 obviously is the point you mention. The 2nd is that teams used to tolerate a masher in LF, that would be a 3,4 or 5 hitter in the batting order, but who couldn't field a lick, or could catch a ball but did not have good range. Greg Luzinski comes to mind (220 pounds my a**), but I am sure there are many others (Willie Horton; Ryan Klesko; Frank Howard). Today, Greg Luzinski is a DH, 1B, or has no MLB career, while teams trot out fast and wiry corner outfielders with limited hitting skills, who cannot drive the ball, and are happy to slap singles and steal an occasional base. Kids don't even get out of the minors now if their bats don't play at a 1B level, if they are not fast. I am sure team's metrics show that this is the right choice, but it does deaden the game, from an offensive perspective.

I wonder why teams can't mitigate a slower LF by keeping their very fast, great glove CFs, and telling that CF to go get everything in the air to center and left.
   71. OCF Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4738699)
I wonder why teams can't mitigate a slower LF by keeping their very fast, great glove CFs, and telling that CF to go get everything in the air to center and left.

That certainly describes a game I remember seeing in the Astrodome when I was in college. Bob Watson was playing left field line while Cesar Cedeno was playing center and left.
   72. bfan Posted: June 29, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4738706)
That certainly describes a game I remember seeing in the Astrodome when I was in college. Bob Watson was playing left field line while Cesar Cedeno was playing center and left.


There you go; perfect example. or maybe Garry Mathews and Luzinski (can't remember if they played at the same time)?
   73. Mefisto Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4738727)
Bob Watson was playing left field line while Cesar Cedeno was playing center and left.


There's a famous story about Mays and Don Mueller, who "played" right field for the Giants in the early '50s. The two didn't get along. One day Mueller asked Mays, mockingly, "Hey Willie, is it true you're the best center fielder ever?". Mays replied, "best right fielder too."
   74. alilisd Posted: June 29, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4738850)
Possibly, Matt, but even Mays didn't do it at 20 and 21 when he had the opportunity.
   75. AndrewJ Posted: June 29, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4738862)
He has produced 24.7 rWAR, and is on pace to end the season with around 30.3 career rWAR. He will be far and away the best player of all time through his age 23 season. Primarily using Jay Jaffe’s JAWS score, which averages a player’s seven-year peak with his career WAR, Trout would lie well below the 57.2 JAWS rating of the average Hall of Fame center fielder. In fact, he would need to increase his JAWS rating nearly 26.9 points in order to be considered even an average Hall player.

So Trout theoretically could rank with an average HOF player after just seven seasons. That's hardly an insult. (He already has a higher career WAR total after 400 major league games than HOFer Lloyd Waner, who played nearly 2000 games.)

How about Reggie Jackson for the "started fast, didn't get better" list? He was 23 years old and in his second full year in the majors when he had 40 HR by the end of July and a light-tower monster shot in the ASG.

POINT OF CLARIFICATION: Reggie's huge first-half season was in 1969. The mammoth ASG homer was in '71.
   76. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 29, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4738893)
BTW, because this is a Mike Trout thread, a quick note:

In mid-May, I recall there was a thread on BBTF involving some concern by a writer that Trout was having an off-year, and Trout was like, "It'll be all good."

After May 19th, Trout was hitting .263/.358/.509 - a hell of a player, but not quite "Mike Trout".

Since May 20th:
31 games, .386/.468/.763. 21 BBs, 23 Ks. 10 HRs in his last 114 ABs. He is averaging an extra-base hit every five at bats. He's also stolen five bases without being caught.

"It's all good."
   77. Canker Soriano Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4739080)
He strikes out too much. That lack of productive outs is what keeps him from being a really useful player, like Brandon Phillips.

(Seriously, how much fun is this guy to watch? I'm only happy that the Cubs didn't have a pick above #25 in that draft, so that I don't have to sit and wonder what Eastern European knock-off Mr. Potatohead they drafted instead of him.)

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