Mike Trout and the Greatest Age-21 Season of All Time

Last year, Mike Trout was 20-years-old, and he did things that no other 20-year-old in history had ever accomplished. He’s the only 20-year-old in baseball history to post a +10 WAR season, and it wasn’t just driven by his positive fielding numbers, as his 166 wRC+ was the best hitting performance any 20-year-old has ever posted. It was an historic season in many ways, but it was also the kind of season that didn’t look repeatable.

His BABIP was .383, and both his fielding and baserunning numbers were among the best in the game, but all of those variables are heavily influenced by speed, and speed peaks very early. During his run last year, I repeatedly noted that I thought Trout would probably settle in as more of a +6 to +7 WAR player, because his defense and baserunning would regress faster than his offense would improve.

And, really, his BABIP, his defense, and his baserunning have regressed somewhat. Trout’s UZR is just +0.5 despite spending about half of his games in left field, his BABIP is down to .357, and he’s only stolen 16 bases this year after swiping 49 last season. Trout noticeably bulked up over the off-season, and he doesn’t appear to be quite as fast as he was last year. He’s still a burner, but he’s probably not in the fastest player in baseball conversation anymore. So, in that sense, my expectations for Trout regressing have been vindicated.

Except, you know, his wRC+ has fallen from 166 last year all the way down to 163 this year. The BABIP correction has essentially been canceled out by an improvement in his contact rate, so he’s just not striking out as often as he was last year and the increase in balls in play has allowed him to maintain his offensive levels from last season. And, while his stolen base totals are down, he’s still taking a ton of extra bases, which shows up in his league leading +3.3 UBR, the part of our baserunning calculation that measures value from advancing my means other than stealing a base. Trout had a +5.0 UBR last year, so he’s actually on pace to get more value from his non-steal baserunning this season than he did in 2012.

Last year, Trout was the best 20-year-old in baseball history. This year, his performance is going to give him a shot at being the best 21-year-old in baseball history.

Here’s the all-time age-21 leaderboard, with just the top ten seasons by WAR highlighted below.

Season Name G PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
1917 Rogers Hornsby 145 589 0.327 0.385 0.484 0.416 162 18 0 9.4
1911 Joe Jackson 147 641 0.408 0.468 0.590 0.494 184 5 2 9.3
1953 Eddie Mathews 157 681 0.302 0.406 0.627 0.451 167 3 0 8.6
1929 Jimmie Foxx 149 638 0.354 0.463 0.625 0.480 177 4 -2 8.1
1980 Rickey Henderson 158 722 0.303 0.420 0.399 0.377 136 18 10 7.8
1972 Cesar Cedeno 139 625 0.320 0.385 0.537 0.413 163 2 4 7.8
2001 Albert Pujols 160 676 0.329 0.403 0.610 0.423 159 6 -1 7.2
1998 Andruw Jones 159 631 0.271 0.321 0.515 0.353 113 35 4 7.0
1991 Ken Griffey Jr. 153 633 0.327 0.399 0.527 0.399 148 7 1 6.9

(Fun side note: Trout’s 2013 season already ranks as the 42nd best age-21 season ever. By the All-Star break, there’s a good chance that his half season will have been more valuable than what guys like Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio did in their entire age-21 season.)

While Hornsby comes out on top, Shoeless Joe is in a virtual tie for the top spot and isn’t as dependent on the fielding part of the calculation, and fielding numbers from 100 years ago shouldn’t be taken too literally. Hornsby was probably a really good defender, but was he good enough to make up for 78 points of wOBA in 52 fewer plate appearances? I don’t know, and there’s no way to know, but either way, you could say that the best age-21 season of all time is probably in the +9.5 WAR range.

Well, after last night’s performance, Trout is now at +4.3 WAR in 73 games, and that’s with some demerits for his defensive performance. If he sustained this exact performance and played in 88 of the Angels remaining 89 games, he would finish with +9.5 WAR. In other words, Trout is on pace to have the best age-21 season in history even with the fielding metrics not being particularly in love with his first half performance in the field.

Of course, defensive metrics can have big swings in small samples, and the reality is that Trout is probably still a very good defensive outfielder, especially when being compared to other left fielders. We shouldn’t continue to project Trout to be rated as a league average defensive outfielder, so if we work in some positive regression for his fielding, he doesn’t even have to keep hitting at this level to get to +9.5 WAR. And yet, there’s signs that his offense might be getting even better.

Here’s Trout’s offensive performances by month since his callup to the Majors last year:

Month Contact% BB% K%
May, 2012 87% 9% 23%
June, 2012 80% 7% 18%
July, 2012 85% 11% 19%
August, 2012 78% 10% 24%
September, 2012 78% 15% 26%
April, 2013 78% 10% 20%
May, 2013 86% 11% 20%
June, 2013 92% 14% 11%

As good as Trout was last year, he was that great while only making contact 82% of the time, and those contact issues carried over in April. His contact improved in May without being reflected in his strikeout rate, but in June, he’s hitting everything he swings at and the result is a dramatic drop-off in strikeouts. Basically, Trout is showing signs of dramatic improvement in the the one area you could kind of point to as a deficiency. A strikeout-free version of Mike Trout is essentially the perfect baseball player.

While changes in contact rate can be identified in smaller samples than in other outcome based metrics, we’re still dealing with just a few weeks of data here, but Trout should be expected to improve facets of his game given that he’s still at a point in his career where most players are working their way through A-ball. Even if the improvement is more incremental than a huge leap, an uptick in his contact rate is going to help offset BABIP swings. If he really can start making contact in the 85-90% range on a regular basis, with the rest of his skillset, then he’s a true talent +8 or +9 WAR player.

So, yeah, Mike Trout is pretty good at this baseball thing. Both ZIPS and Steamer project Trout for +4.1 WAR over the remainder of the year, which means he would finish at +8.4 WAR, which would be the fourth highest total for any player in their age-21 season. Expecting him to play 88 of the next 89 games and sustain this pace might be too much to ask. On the other hand, we’ve all been expecting Trout to stop playing at an all-time-great level for a while now, and when parts of his game get worse, he just makes up for it by getting better at other things.

I’ll always remember how amazing Albert Pujols’ 2001 debut was. Really, it was just a stunning season from a guy who spent the previous year in low-A ball. To just show up as a 21-year-old rookie and post a 159 wRC+ was incredible. Mike Trout, right now, is basically having Albert Pujols’ rookie season if Albert Pujols was also a great baserunner.

I think I’m going to stop putting a ceiling on what Mike Trout can do. The best 20-year-old ever might end the year as the best 21-year-old ever. We should appreciate what we’re seeing. No one has ever seen this before.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


139 Responses to “Mike Trout and the Greatest Age-21 Season of All Time”

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  1. Jacob Smith says:

    Also worth pointing out: Andruw Jones age 21 season, and the value of defense.

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    • TKDC says:

      And the number doesn’t seem off compared to the eye test for young Andruw, either.

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    • jimbo says:

      At least he is not comparing him to Cabrera!! Cabrera the modern day Babe Ruth Or Hank Aaron!! Trout, Machado and Harper are all great talents. Trouts dwar -1.2 shows that his 4 great catches last year might not be repeatable. He is also going to strike out 150 times this year … his current pace 120 … 3 weeks ago 150 pace. He is a good player … but to early to compare to the GREATS!

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      • Baltar says:

        And it’s too late to compare Cabrera to the GREATS!
        Do you even know who Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron were?

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        • jimbo says:

          Well … Hank Aaron was one of the greatest hitters in MLB history. He played 23 years hitting 733 hrs and 2202 rbi. Career batting line ba .305 obp .375 slg .555 ops .928.

          Cabrera is in his 11th year. Current batting line
          ba .368 obp .460 slg .642 ops 1.102.
          Career batting line ba .321 obp .398 slg .565 ops .963
          with 341 hrs and 1197 rbi.
          He has won 2 batting tiles, the triple crown and has played in 3 world series. ENOUGH SAID!!!

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      • Logic says:

        this is a troll situation right?

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  2. Bryan Grosnick says:

    It’s also interesting to me that Mike Trout could, potentially have more “value” if he weren’t being used in left field, and were instead being used in center field. Not only is there an argument that could be made that he would be racking up more personal value in a position he is more used to playing (as in, the drop-off between his performance in LF and CF is likely very small), but there’s also the issue of positional adjustments.

    The positional adjustment between time at LF and CF isn’t insignificant. If one player puts up his kind of hitting numbers at CF instead of LF, that tends to rack up a higher WAR if defensive performance is roughly the same. It’s possible that if he were being utilized differently by the Angels, we’d look back at his numbers a little bit differently.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      I think there’s a key sentence in your second paragraph that isn’t true. “If defensive performance is the same”, then the WAR will be the same, because equal defensive performances in LF/CF don’t result in the same UZR. The only way his WAR would be higher in CF is if his UZR was the same in both spots, but that’s not the same thing as defensive performance. Being a +10 fielder compared to other CFs is a better performance than being a +10 fielder compared to other LFs.

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      • guy who knows where the beds are says:

        Bryan, your bed is over there by the wall.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        I think it’s likely that Trout would suffer less than the typical -10 runs moving from LF to CF. Nothing really to back that up though..

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        • tehzachatak says:

          I think more important is maximization of resources, and one would assume that with Bourjos on the roster, ideal utilization IS Trout in LF and Bourjos in CF.

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    • dannyrainge says:

      Peter Bourjos is no joke.

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  3. thetruth says:

    real shame those numbers are being wasted on the biggest underperformers in recent memory

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    • Bab says:

      I see what you mean, but the production isn’t ‘wasted.’ Trout is keeping the Angels from making the transition from ‘bad’ to ‘really bad.’ That counts for quite a lot.

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      • Jim says:

        I think you need to remember the words of Gabe Paul: “There is no such thing as second place. Either you’re first or you’re nothing.”

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        • Scraps says:

          Gregg Popovich, yesterday:

          “It was a great series and we all felt that,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I don’t know if ‘enjoy’ is the right word, but in all honesty, even in defeat, I’m starting to enjoy what our group accomplished already, when you look back. And you need to do that, to put in perspective. So it’s no fun to lose, but we lost to a better team. And you can live with that as long as you’ve given your best, and I think we have.”

          And of course, there’s silver and bronze medals, which most athletes keep. Gabe Paul’s sentiments are popular, especially in America, but I side with Popovich’s attitude.

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        • Scraps says:

          Also, “mediocre” is very much worth shooting for, if the alternative is “bad”. “Bad” means fans stop showing up, and therefore money stops flowing in.

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        • Jason B says:

          Also ‘second place’ often means ‘wild card’, which has often translated to “World Champion” since the dawn of the Wild Card era.

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        • Baltar says:

          Well, if Gabe Paul said it, it must be true.
          By the way, who is Gabe Paul?

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        • Logic says:

          I think he invented guitars.

          +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • scraps says:

          (Yankees GM, 1970s)

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        • LK says:

          While I would tend to side with Popovich as well, I think the Angels aren’t performing well enough where you can start to find those silver linings.

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  4. Zach says:

    I would appreciate this more if he didn’t play for the Angels.

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    • Bab says:

      Just look at it in a roughly similar way to Barry Sanders playing for the Lions. You can appreciate it from that perspective.

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      • TerryMc says:

        I’ve pondered what it would have meant to grow up a Lions fan. On one hand, Barry Sanders, in my opinion the most exciting player to ever play is on “your” team. On the other hand, your team is the Lions.

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        • Bab says:

          In my opinion, if you have the greatest RB in history on your team, you watch that team, even if they suck as a whole. But others may disagree.

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        • aworks says:

          I grew up in Michigan as a Lions fan. Then I moved to California. Then Barry retired, prematurely. Then I gave up on the Lions. Still like their uniform colors, though.

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  5. PraiseTrout says:

    With Trout’s popularity and youth combination, I wonder if more younger(high school mostly) kids will start to value things like baserunning and taking walks a little more

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  6. sausagemcbiscuit says:

    With Bourjos in CF, does that hurt some of Trout’s defensive metrics considering how good Bourjos is? There’s likely balls that Trout could easily get to with his speed/range, but he defers to Bourjos on them.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Trout’s UZR in left field — the games when he’s been playing next to Bourjos — has been quite good. It’s the CF data that is dragging his total number down, and Bourjos wouldn’t have any affect on Trout’s fielding numbers on days when Trout is in CF.

      UZR is designed so that if one fielder makes a play, his teammate is not penalized for not making the play. He won’t get credit for a play made either, but it’s not docking him for not making that catch if Bourjos does make it.

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  7. George says:

    Jeff Sullivan has pointed out that, in general, it’s in our nature to start taking good players for granted after their sheen as prospects wears off. Thanks for articles like this that help me appreciate what Mike Trout is doing.

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  8. Max says:

    what about Arod? he turned 21 in 1996, the year that he had 9.6 WAR

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  9. Scraps says:

    Dave Cameron, always rooting for the Angels.

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  10. Angelsjunky says:

    As an Angels fan of over three decades, Mike Trout is a wish come true; we’ve never had a true franchise player. I remember being jealous of the Mariners in the 90s when they got not only Ken Griffey Jr but then Alex Rodriguez – two true franchise players within a half decade of each other. The Angels had a few close-calls to a homegrown franchise player in Wally Joyner, then Tim Salmon, then Jim Edmonds, Darin Erstad, and Troy Glaus. But all fell short, some by quite a bit. In 1995 Salmon looked like he was breaking through to the superstar level, but then dropped back to merely a star. Edmonds looked excellent, but then was traded and ended up having five superstar years in St. Louis. Erstad also had that teaser in 2000, as did Glaus.

    So Mike Trout truly is the messiah for Angels fans. He makes even this crappy year worthwhile – if nothing else, we have Trout to watch. My only worry is that as an East Coast boy, and if the Angels continue to under-perform, he’ll be less likely to sign that 8-10 year contract we’re hoping for. I suppose worst-case scenario is that we’ll get his next four and a half (and possibly greatest) years, then a ridiculous prospect package during the 2017 season if it becomes clear he doesn’t want to stay. But I’m hoping that Dipoto makes him an offer he can’t refuse this offseason, something like 10/$200 million.

    One more thing. Watching the game last night I was struck by just how good Trout is – how he’s become a player that can adjust to the situation and get that single when needed, steal a base when needed, leg out a “hussle double” when needed, take a walk, hit his share of home runs, and make huge plays. He does everything in a way that is very, very rare – perhaps even unprecedented, or at least only from the likes of names such as Bonds, Mays, and Mantle – and the Seattle version of Griffey Jr. There is just a feeling of greatness about him, which I also get from Bryce Harper, I got from Griffey and Bonds – but I don’t get from players like Justin Upton or Andrew McCutchen or Matt Kemp – all very talented, but without that extra special quality. It is like they are, rather than humans playing baseball, baseball players being human. They were made for the game and the game for them.

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ih says:

      10/$200? He’s going to be staring at a 10/$300 deal in the face at the end of his arb years from someone.

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      • Angelsjunky says:

        10/$200MM would include arbitration years. Something like this:

        2014 (pre-arb): $3MM
        2015 (arb 1): $12MM
        2016 (arb 2): $15MM
        2017 (arb 3): $20MM
        2018-2023 (free agency): avg $25 million per year

        That’s $200MM over ten years, or Trout’s age 22-31 seasons.

        This sort of contract potentially benefits both the player and team:

        player – guarantees a lot of money at a very young age and protects against possible future injury and/or decline; brings some of the likely higher later salary into arbitration years, spreading it out more evenly

        team – keeps player under club control into early 30s (Trout would turn 32 at the end of year 10); avoids having to go to free agency and having to spend more and for longer into decline phase

        There’s some risk to both parties, especially the team, but overall I think it benefits both. I mean, if they’re willing to pay $250MM for age 32-41 of “Albertross” and $125MM for age 32-36 of “Hamildone” then I don’t see why they wouldn’t be willing to spend $200MM for age 22-31 of “Troutstanding.”

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Bob M says:

          Your total contract value looks low.

          Given how few players hit free agency that young, while they can still be expected to improve, he should be asking for at least A-Rod money on any long-term deal. That is an AAV of $28 million per year, and that includes the discount for pre-arbitration and arbitration seasons.

          If I were Trout’s agent, I would push for something more like the Prince Fielder plan. Sign away your arbitration seasons for about what you can reasonably expect for those seasons, and keep all your free agent years. That would mean a contract for something like the 4 years and $50 million you propose at the start of that deal.

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        • Izzy Hechkoff says:

          If Trout keeps on playing like this, he’ll be getting a lot more than 25 AAV from 2018-2023.

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        • Angelsjunky says:

          You guys are missing the point of a big contract signed now. You can’t judge the numbers by what makes sense when Trout hits free agency. That $25MM only seems low if A) Trout continues playing as is, and B) if he didn’t sign a long-term contract until before 2018, when he would get $30MM+. Teams lock up their young players with club-friendly contracts, and players accept them because it is guaranteed money. This sort of contract would be appealing to Trout and his family because it protects against injury and any other eventualities.

          In other words, you look at Tulo and Braun for precedents for this sort of contract, not A-Rod and Pujols. 10/$200MM was a bit of an on-the-fly estimate but I think its about right. I suppose Trout might want to keep it to 8 years so he goes to free agency at age 30 and can still sign a second mega-contract.

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        • Jason B says:

          What Angelsjunky said. You can’t realistically predict super world class performance in perpetuity and base values on that. When you’re up at the 99th percentile you’re more likely to move back the curve than up it.

          But at the same time, as Dave said, maybe we overestimated the amount of regression coming.

          Or in other worlds, Mikey may be just plain amazing, rather than superduperstupendouslyamazing.

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      • Jon Woo says:

        You gotta consider inflation too. Pretty soon $1.0Million won’t buy a house.

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        • TheUncool says:

          It already doesn’t in very many parts of NYC (and not just Manhattan) and some other cities.

          In some parts of Brooklyn — almost suburbs to Manhattan — which may still be undergoing gentrification, even a fairly rundown, fixer-upper can easily exceed that and even reach the $2M mark in some instances…

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        • Ender says:

          Remember when winning a $10,000 (ten thousand dollars) sweepstakes was a big deal? That’s chump change now. In the 1980′s wouldn’t 10K practically buy you a small bedroom home?

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        • Baltar says:

          A $1 million house? I haven’t seen a house that cheap in SoCal for many years.

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      • Andy says:

        If Trout continues to play anything like he’s playing now, and the Angels sign him for only $200m, they should feel incredibly lucky. Seriously.

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    • Scraps says:

      And Randy Johnson! And Edgar Martinez! And . . . no championship. And the Angels did.

      Sigh.

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      • Angelsjunky says:

        Some great players on those mid-90s to early-00s Mariners teams. Don’t forget Jay Buhner, although I suppose he was a Yankees prospect and not in the same category as the other four mentioned.

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    • joser says:

      You’ll always have David Eckstein.

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    • Baltar says:

      I can’t speak for Mike Trout, but I would take a lot less to stay in Anaheim than go elsewhere.
      You can’t know how great Southern California is until you have to move from there to Cincinnati.

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  11. AnthonySoprano says:

    Well, after 16 games Puig has 1.3 WAR so he’s on a pace for 13 WAR …

    And Bryce Harper has a 167 wRC+ with a BABIP of .287 *sigh*

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    • Angelsjunky says:

      Its just too soon to tell with Puig. I expect he’ll be very good, maybe great, but I’m guessing he’s more Cespedes than Trout.

      As for Bryce, my big concern for him is not his talent – which is tremendous, and definitely in the same ballpark as Trout – but his health. Knee bursitis at 20-years old does not bode well. Bryce Harper could be the 21st century Hank Aaron, but he also could be the 21st century Darryl Strawberry (hopefully without the extracurricular activities, but in terms of “aborted greatness”).

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      • AnthonySoprano says:

        I’m pretty sure the bursitis will go away once he stops running into walls …

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        • Anon21 says:

          Yes, but will he stop running into walls? His comments after the incident suggest that he thinks running into walls is somehow his job.

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    • LK says:

      Did you miss the part where he referenced the projections? Puig is projected to finish with 1.9 WAR. This isn’t just about “on pace for.”

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  12. Transient Gadfly says:

    Can’t help but notice, speaking of, that this year’s version of Manny Machado is already showing up on the list of all time great 20 year old seasons.

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  13. Kogoruhn says:

    I’ve been watching to see if he can surpass Mel Ott’s 19.3 WAR through their age 21 seasons

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  14. LuckyStrikes says:

    Best age 20 and age 21 seasons and best all around player in the game. Yet, he won’t walk away with an MVP in either season…

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    • Mike says:

      RBI’s. Everyone knows you need RBI’s to win MVP awards.

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      • pft says:

        If you adjust for batting order position he leads the league in RBI.

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        • x says:

          You really think the type of person who gives MVP votes based on RBI adjusts for batting order position?

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      • Dag Gummit says:

        Unless you’re Ichiro ca. 2001, that is.

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        • scraps says:

          or Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins, Barry Larkin, Terry Pendleton, Rickey Henderson, Kirk Gibson (yeah, he was an RBI guy, but he didn’t get his RBIs this year, finishing outside the top ten, with 76! Actually, Gibson never crossed the 100 RBI line), Willie McGee, Pete Rose, Zoilo Versalles, Elston Howard, Dick Groat, Nellie Fox, Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch, Roger Peckinpaugh, and especially Maury Wills.

          Sure, the MVP is mostly dominated by RBI guys. But Ichiro is not such an anomaly as that.

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    • TheUncool says:

      Yes, really a shame that…

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  15. the sauce says:

    Boy, Rickey sure could run, couldn’t he? I can’t decide who was more fun to watch: Rickey in his prime or Frankenstein’s Bonds.

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  16. Ron says:

    How much better did Trout do than another great young talented player Al Kaline in age 20 and 21 seasons?

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  17. rustydude says:

    Supposedly Trout made adjustments at the plate around May 1st, working on not striking out. The positive results showed up in his performance almost immediately. Trout’s best tool might be his head. If he can make adjustments, at will, he might stay at the top of this game for some time to come.

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    • Look at his 1st-2nd-3rd time facing a pitcher splits. They are amazing.

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    • Angelsjunky says:

      That’s just it – he seems to innately know baseball – which is why I’m not as worried as Dave that declining speed will change him from great to merely very good. I think he’ll find ways to remain great, if in slightly different ways.

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      • Preston says:

        I always thought that anybody who averaged over 5 WAR a season was “great”. Trout could regress quite a bit and still be great in my book. I guess everybody has their own standard, but the fact that Dave didn’t think he was going to be a 10 win player does not mean he’s demoting him to “very good”.

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        • Angelsjunky says:

          As far as I understand it the scale is something like:

          <0: dud
          0-1: scrub
          1-2: marginal regular
          2-4: quality regular
          4-5: borderline star/impact player
          5-7: true star ("all-star")
          7+: superstar, MVP candidate
          10+: "megastar," all-time great season

          So I'd say a player goes from "very good" to "great" somewhere in that 5-7 range. I suppose we could call 5-7 "excellent" and I think Dave WAS saying that Trout would fall from being "ridiculous" to merely "excellent." Nothing to be ashamed of about that, but I think what he underestimated – so far, at least – is Trout's uncanny baseball acumen, his ability to adjust as needed. But as far as I can tell its not in the nerdy Tony Gwynn way – watching hours of tape, working intentionally with micro-adjustments. I think Trout just does it naturally.

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        • chief00 says:

          @Angelsjunky: No trolling here, but your use of adjectives is inspiring. You’ve added colour to a good discussion about a great young player. I enjoyed your post. +1

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        • Gil says:

          I understand the scale is more like:

          <0: abominable
          0-1: distressing
          1-2: quotidian
          2-4: commendable
          4-5: borderline virtuoso
          5-7: true virtuoso
          7+: sempiternal-trascendance
          10+: "megastar"

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      • Shlum says:

        There are no innate ideas. Empiricism prevails.

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        • Preston says:

          Empirical knowledge is gained by studying something until you’ve gathered so much knowledge on it that you can form a conclusion. Innate knowledge comes from repeating an action so often that you can perform it without thinking. Whether a player innately knows how to hit or approaches it empirically is really just a different mindset on the part of the player. The end is achieved the same way, through repetition and hard work.

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        • Angelsjunky says:

          Innate ideas? No. Innate knowledge? I disagree. People are born with innate talent; you won’t convince me that the difference between Trout and Urkel is simply conditioning, circumstance and essentially “nurture.” Trout’s nature, in my view, is INNATELY more connected to baseball acumen than Steve Urkel’s.

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        • Roberto says:

          Empiricism is dependent on an idea from which to base research. Unless you’re hung up on the word “innate.”

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        • Locke says:

          Trolololol

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        • Nathan says:

          “Trout’s nature, in my view, is INNATELY more connected to baseball acumen than Steve Urkel’s.”

          In large part because Steve Urkel is a fictional character.

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  18. Phantom Stranger says:

    Trout’s reads and routes don’t look nearly as smooth in left as they do in center. He seems to have a poor understanding at the current moment of how balls curve differently coming at a leftfielder. I also think he bulked up too much in the offseason, his speed is definitely down from last year. He should have a couple of more caught stealings that the umps gave him the benefit of the doubt on. I have no complaints about his bat, it’s as good as ever.

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  19. Kevin says:

    I think Trout just ran out of gas last year near the end. Those first few months were pretty fun to watch, especially as I got to see him twice when he came to Detroit, made some absurd leaping catch, and then the next inning smacked the bricks in right-center at Comerica.

    I don’t see him winning battles titles or slugging stuff, but I also don’t see him in the future with any real holes in his game. He will be the perfect well rounded athlete who has value just because he does everything the way it is supposed to be done.

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  20. Brian says:

    can anyone tell me why he would bulk up? what was he trying to accomplish? he could already hit the ball 450ft…

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    • Loving Cup says:

      I was bigger at 21 than I was at 20. Let’s not forgot that the kid is still growing.

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    • PraiseTrout says:

      He didn’t really overly bulk up. He added maybe a couple pounds, just for the grind of the long season. Last year he started like ~20 pounds under his normal weight due to valley fever. This year he wanted to be more cautious.

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  21. Daniel says:

    “the part of our baserunning calculation that measures value from advancing my means other than stealing a base.”

    Do you mean “by means other than?”

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  22. Dirck says:

    During the winter,in a 16 team dynasty points league ,I traded David Price ,Alex Gordon,Chase Headley, and Lorenzo Cain for Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole . I think it was a great deal for me .

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  23. Anon says:

    Why is Albert’s age 23 season listed on the leaderboard?

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  24. Bryce Harper says:

    Clown article bro.

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    • scraps says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, that’s rich. Ha! (Wipes tears from his eyes.) Ahh, ah, yeah… funny.

      Do you have another?

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  25. pft says:

    One of the 4 best hitters in baseball batting 2nd. His manager is a moron.

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  26. Frank from NJ says:

    Wil Myers – FG is the only site on the face of the earth that has William…

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  27. maqman says:

    Pangraphs and Buckingham Palace.

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  28. msg333 says:

    According to Baseball Reference Mike Trout is the 4th worst defender in the American League (-1.2 dWAR). Why is there such a discrepancy between the defensive metrics for the two respective sites?

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    • Angelsjunky says:

      That’s a good question and, I think, one of the things that tends to make WAR, at least the defensive component, look bad. WAR for pitchers can vary widely as well. For instance, compare Cliff Lee’s WAR from the two sites for 2008 – 2013:

      BR: 6.9, 5.4, 5.8, 8.6, 4.5, 4.0
      FG: 7.1, 6.5, 7.0, 6.4, 4.9, 3.1

      They’re pretty close for ’08 and ’12, but at least a win apart for every other year – and in 2011 a full 2.2 wins apart. What gives?

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  29. Feeding the Abscess says:

    Trout’s getting far more doubles and triples than he did last season, and he’s getting more infield hits, too. His speed hasn’t gone anywhere.

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  30. Prince_Miggy_Mart says:

    WAR has to be taken with a grain of salt. All of these metrics and you end up with Andy Dirks as the best LF in the AL and Trout as average. I only trust the batting part.

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  31. rustydude says:

    Well, at 9.2 WAR with 4 weeks of games yet to be played, I think we can close the book on this. That is, unless we’re force fed that grain of salt. Then again, if we look only at hitting, his current 180 WRC+ ain’t bad either.

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    • rustydude says:

      Just noticed, 9.2 on 9/2. Is Mike Trout trolling the sabremetric crowd with his on field performance? Not the first time I’ve thought that considering he stuck the landing at a perfect 10.0 last season. And no, I’m not serious.

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  32. baseballFan says:

    Sabremetrics, what a great way for a bunch of nerds to circle jerk. I hope that all of you know multiple languages and play at least one musical instrument very well, then your waste of time finger blasting each other over this ridiculous over analysis won’t be so pathetic.

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