In Context: Mike Trout and the Teenage Homer Club

Friday night, Angel outfield prospect Mike Trout hit the second home run of his very short career. That Trout has any home runs at all at his age places him into a pretty exclusive club.

Though Trout is technically 20 years old — having celebrated his birthday on August 7th — he’s currently in his age-19 season (the cutoff being July 1st, or roughly halfway through the season).

Over the last 25 years, only 10 major leaguers have hit a home run before their respective age-20 seasons. Below is that list of players, including how many homers each one hit in his age-19 season and also each player’s career WAR per 650 plate appearances:

Obviously, these players didn’t go on to have (almost uniformly) excellent careers because they hit a home run at age 19. Rather, the mere fact that each was given the opportunity to play at that age is indicative of the sort of skills each possessed.

In either case, it’s excellent company that Trout is keeping at the moment.

Search made possible by BR’s Play Index.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


20 Responses to “In Context: Mike Trout and the Teenage Homer Club”

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  1. Joey P says:

    He turned 20 2 weeks ago!

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  2. Ajay says:

    Carson,

    According to his fangraphs page, Trout turned 20 on August 7th.

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  3. Ian R. says:

    As the other commenters mentioned, yeah, Trout is actually 20 right now. Fortunately for the article, he WAS 19 when he hit his first career home run on July 24th.

    The larger point still holds, though, given that this is still his age-19 season. Trout is in a pretty exclusive club.

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  4. Snoth says:

    Trout is the bloody man. Hopefully Reagins doesn’t trade his for Alfonso Soriano…

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  5. My echo and bunnymen says:

    Trying to make that high pick of Trout reasonable? ;)

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  6. Jesse says:

    y’know I look at this list and forgot how good Andrew Jones was/is.

    I say is, because he played 162 games and 479 PAs over the last two years. he has about a 360 wOBA and 125 wRC+, and is worth about 3.5 WAR/700 PA.

    Someone has to give him a 3/28 deal after this year no?

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    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      Andruw Jones has been amazing, both for the White Sox and Yankees in limited plate appearances as a 4th outfielder. I think he’ll get another 1 or maybe a low 2 year deal, but that injury bug tag isn’t going away anytime soon.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      It’s tough to mention his wOBA over the last 2 years and not mention that he’s a platoon player. He’s had 3X as many at bats against lefties than righties this year, and he hasn’t hit a lick against RHP. Last year, he faced more RHP than LHP but not to the extent that everyday players do.

      If someone needs a spot starter and a lefty masher, he could be fine on a 1-year deal. He can’t be signed for regular playing time though.

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  7. Anon says:

    I’ve run a number of these “power at a young age” types of searches using b-ref’s PI and it never ceases to amaze me how power at a young age greatly portends a very good career. I did some when Justin Upton came up as a teenager and not many teenagers have hit with power. Upton had 3 XBH in a game as a teenager – that had never been done in the b-ref searchable database and the last 6 or 7 guys to do it were all HOFers or near HOFers.

    Another one: Mark Reynolds had 44 HRs a couple years ago at age 25 – I don’t have it with me and I’,m not going to go re-create it now but go look at the list of guys who’ve hit 40+ HR at 25 or younger and it’s an impressive list. Very impressive. Lots of HOFers and MVPs. . . .

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  8. Mick says:

    Amazingly exclusive club, especially considering the timeframe includes the steroid era. If Harper gets the call around mid 2012 he could conceivably surpass Griffey’s total.

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  9. kwyjibo says:

    3 more for Andruw in the postseason (2 in the World Series!)

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  10. Bob Tufts says:

    I’m from the era whn Tony Conigliaro hit 24 HR’s as a 19 year old in 1964

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    • His early career — in terms of power, at least — is amazing. It’s hard to tell from the nerd numbers if he was a complete player, but he was an excellent power hitter for his age.

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  11. Mr Punch says:

    Conigliaro was a much better hitter, really, than his stats indicate. He had a National Guard commitment that broke up each season, plus he tended to get hit and hurt by pitches, and each time he was out of the lineup it would take him quite a while to get his swing right. In ’67, IIRC, he hit over .300 except for a 1-for-39 stretch we he came back from the Guard. (He led the AL in HR at 20 despite missing a month.) He could run and throw too. The best comparison I can offer is that he was a much better version of Rocco Baldelli, not as fast but a lot more power.

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