Why Mike Trout Is Criminally Underappreciated

Photo: Ben Margot/AP

In recent weeks, many baseball fans, reporters, and writers have proven themselves delusional to the fact that Mike Trout is the best player in the game of baseball. Irrational Yankees supporters are convinced that their fan favorite D.J. LeMahieu is the probable AL MVP. Here are just a few tweets that convey exactly what I’m talking about…

In this piece, I’m hoping to settle this debate (which shouldn’t even be a debate) once and for all. If the season were to end today, Mike Trout would undoubtedly win the American League MVP. Here is where Trout currently stands amongst his American League “competitors” (minimum 250 plate appearance for rate statistics)…

Trout Rank
30 HR1st
74 R2nd
75 RBI1st
.361 ISO2nd
.306 AVG9th
.456 OBP1st
.668 SLG1st
.451 wOBA1st
191 wRC+1st
6.5 fWAR1st

In other words, Mike Trout ranks atop the American League in seven out of those ten categories, and for two of the three stats he’s not first in (runs scored and isolated slugging), he’s second.

As we mentioned earlier, D.J. LeMahieu’s name has illogically been brought up in the same conversation as Mike Trout in regards to the AL MVP race. In comparison, here is where LeMahieu ranks among American League batters…

LeMahieu Rank
12 HRT-62nd
65 RT-5th
64 RBIT-4th
.177 ISO67th
.330 AVG1st
.376 OBPT-13th
.507 SLG24th
.372 wOBA13th
191 wRC+T-14th
3.2 fWART-9th

In Contrast, LeMahieu is first in the American League in only one of the ten categories (batting average), and he ranks outside the top ten in six of the remaining nine. Trout on the other hand was in the top ten in every single category. In fact, he was in the top two 90% of the time (LeMahieu only 10%).

Mike Trout leads the majors (among hitters with at least 250 plate appearances) in on-base percentage, weighted on-base average, weighted runs created plus, and FanGraphs wins above replacement. Ultimately, one could very well argue that Trout has been the best player this season taking into account both leagues.

Also, I feel that Mike Trout’s overall success and accomplishments are under-appreciated and overlooked by an exorbitantly large number of fans from all around the league. Here’s where Mike Trout ranks among position players since his first full season — 2012 (minimum 3,000 plate appearance for rate statistics)…

Trout Rank
265 HR3rd
847 R1st
707 RBI4th
193 SB7th
.277 ISO2nd
.308 AVG3rd
.423 OBP2nd
.586 SLG1st
1.009 OPS1st
.423 wOBA1st
176 wRC+1st
70.7 fWAR1st

Full list of highest fWAR among position players since 2012:

  1. Mike Trout (70.7)
  2. Buster Posey (46.7)
  3. Josh Donaldson (39.4)
  4. Andrew McCutchen (37.6)
  5. Paul Goldschmidt (36.3)
  6. Joey Votto (34.7)
  7. Robinson Cano (33.6)
  8. Mookie Betts (33.6)
  9. Freddie Freeman (32.8)
  10. Manny Machado (32.7)

Mike Trout has been worth 24.0 more fWAR than Buster Posey, who has accumulated the second most fWAR since the commencement of the 2012 campaign.

Here are five additional reasons why Trout is the best player in baseball…

  • Mike Trout is one of eight hitters (minimum 4,000 plate appearances) in MLB history with an OPS of 1.000 or above (the others: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, and Rogers Hornsby).
  • The only position player with a higher fWAR/600 PA than Mike Trout is Babe Ruth.

Babe Ruth10616168.49.5
Mike Trout507471.48.4
Rogers Hornsby9475130.38.3
Ted Williams9791130.48.0
Barry Bonds12606164.47.8
Lou Gehrig9660116.37.2
Willie Mays12493149.97.2
Honus Wagner11739138.17.1
Ty Cobb13072149.36.9
Mickey Mantle9909112.36.8
Tris Speaker11988130.66.5
Joe DiMaggio767183.16.5
Joe Jackson569060.56.4
Mike Schmidt10062106.56.4
Buster Posey495652.46.3
  • Mike Trout is the youngest player to ever be worth at least 10.0 bWAR in a single season (20 years old).
  • Mike Trout is one of eight hitters in MLB history to have at least three seasons of being worth at least 10.0 bWAR (the others: Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Rogers Hornsby, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, and Barry Bonds).
  • Last year, Mike Trout became the fourth hitter in MLB history to hit 35 home runs or more, being intentionally walked at least 25 times, drive in 100 runs or more, and score at least 100 times in a single season (the others: Barry Bonds, Jeff Bagwell, and Vladimir Guerrero).

All in all, I ask that you give Angels’ superstar Mike Trout, a definite future Hall of Famer, the respect he deserves.

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