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Is Mike Trout the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of all Time)?
Mike Trout Records & Projections
Mike Trout WAR WATCH: How many Hall-of-Famers will he pass this year?


Is it time to start calling Mike Trout baseball's "WAR Lord" ... the "God of WAR" ... or perhaps "The GOAT"? After all, Trout seems to have a realistic chance to break Babe Ruth's all-time record for WAR and thus become the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) and the BOAT (Best of All Time). If you're looking for Mike Trout nicknames please click the hyperlink. If you're more interested in baseball history and stats, please continue reading, as there is some truly fascinating stuff on this page ...

Mike Trout, as FiveThirtyEight put it, is "outrageously consistent at being outrageously great." Sports Illustrated recently published an article about the "unprecedented greatness" of Mike Trout. Why such accolades?

Mike Trout was the GOAT at Age 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24!

As Neil Paine pointed out, "Through every single age in which he played a full season, Mike Trout has been the all-time career leader in [cumulative] WAR for position players. It was true through age 20, age 21, age 22, age 23 and — after posting 10.6 WAR in 2016, a performance that basically matched his previous single-season peak — age 24. No player has ever started his career on this kind of tear — not Ruth, not Cobb, not Mantle, nobody!"

In other words, nearly 20,000 men have played major league baseball and not a single one of them was as good as Trout at any age he has reached so far!

How good is Mike Trout, really? Here are just a few of the baseball immortals whose career WAR Trout passed in a third of the playing time: Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner, Pie Traynor, "Wee" Willie Keeler, Joe Medwick, Harmon Killebrew, Yogi Berra, Jim Rice, Lou Brock, Max Carey, Nellie Fox, Bill Dickey, Gabby Hartnett, Enos Slaughter, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Willie Stargell, Luis Aparicio, Sam Rice, Kiki Cuyler and Chuck Klein. And it's hard to find hall-of-famers that Trout hasn't passed in half the playing time, so far. Only a select group of the all-time greats averaged five WAR per season for their careers (see the hyperlink below). By the end of 2018, barring injury, Trout will be averaging around ten WAR per season. So it's no surprise that he's been zooming past HOFers at warp speed. Only Babe Ruth finished his career averaging over ten WAR per 162 games.

In the following discussions about WAR, please keep in mind that for a single season the all-star level is five WAR, while MVP level is eight. Anything over eight WAR is "beyond elite" (especially when maintained for a number of years, as measured by WAR7 and WAR per season).

Babe Ruth is the all-time leader in WAR per 162 games. Mike Trout is second by a considerable margin over third place, he's still working on his age 26 season, and he continues to improve. In 2018 Trout has been on pace for 12 to 15 WAR. The only position players with 12 or more WAR in a single season are Babe Ruth (three times), Rogers Hornsby (once) and Carl Yastrzemski (once). Thus Trout is breathing rarified air. The all-time leaders in WAR per 162 games are Ruth (around 10.10 not including pitching), Trout (9.88 and rising), Rogers Hornsby (9.34), Ted Williams (9.22), Barry Bonds (8.92), Lou Gehrig (8.71), Willie Mays (8.12), Honus Wagner (8.01), Ty Cobb (7.97), Tris Speaker (7.79), Joe DiMaggio (7.75), Mickey Mantle (7.58), Shoeless Joe Jackson (7.36), Mike Schmidt (7.18), Jimmie Foxx (7.12), Hank Greenberg (7.10), and Hank Aaron (7.03). These are superstars who played at an MVP level for their entire careers, or close to it. To see an expanded list please click here: Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR per Season.

Now, let's look for confirmation elsewhere. According to Jay Jaffe's Hall of Fame Monitor, using WAR7 to compare players by their seven most productive seasons, Mike Trout has already passed 16 of the 20 centerfielders enshrined in the HOF, and amazingly he did it before completing his seventh full season. Trout recently blasted past Duke Snider, Ken Griffey Jr. and Joltin' Joe DiMaggio. Now the only centerfielders competitive with the still-improving Trout are four immortals mentioned above: Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle and Tris Speaker. But they can't improve their standings, while Trout can. And so, barring a serious injury, Trout seems destined to pass Speaker and Mantle in WAR7 by the time he has seven full seasons under his belt. It also seems possible — perhaps even likely — that Trout will surpass all four in career WAR. Furthermore, because center is the "highest output" position according to total WAR, if Trout passes center's "Fab Four" there will only be two more position players left ahead of him: Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth. And they should both have asterisks beside their names: Bonds because he cheated to the extent that his freakin' head and feet grew larger, Ruth because he had a baseball field tailored to help him hit homers by the bushel (i.e., the famous "house that Ruth built"). On the other hand, Trout seems to be clean and is hitting in a pitcher's park. But in any case, how has Trout done so much, so soon? As we shall see, it's because he's the Secretariat of the baseball derby. Trump charged out of the gates as a yearling and has kept gaining speed, leaving all competitors in his dust.

But how can we be sure? Let's do the "stat math" ... but first, let's consider what three of his peers recently said about Mike Trout:

When Jack Buck asked Bryce Harper if he thought Mike Trout is the best player in the game, Harper responded: "If you don't, then you're not watching." In other words, DUH!

"Mike Trout's the best player in baseball," according to Reds first baseman Joey Votto. "He's the best at everything. His only weakness — not even a weakness — his only average to above-average tool is his arm, and that's me nitpicking [because] he's still throwing guys out. He still has an accurate arm. He's the best hitter in the game. He’s in the conversation for the best baserunner. He plays center field and might win his first Gold Glove this year. He’s just clearly been the best for a long time; there's never been a stretch of time where you've had doubts about that. There was a little bit of time where I thought I could be the best hitter in the game. And then he came along and let me know, 'I'm so sorry about that!'"

NOTE: Joey Votto is in the all-time top 20 for OPS+ at 157, ahead of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Mel Ott, Honus Wagner, Frank Robinson, Manny Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols. Thus, Votto would have a strong claim to be the best hitter of his generation ... except that Trout is in the stratosphere at 174 and still climbing. Trout is currently nestled two ticks above Mickey Mantle at 172 and just one tick below Rogers Hornsby at 175 in the OPS+ standings. So what Votto said above makes perfect sense. Unless you can challenge Mantle and Hornsby, you're not in Mike Trout territory, although Votto is above all his other contemporaries.

"He has been the best player since he's been in the majors, and he's never not been the best player," says Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. "Probably why he's so good is that he's up there with the best in every part of the game. The thing that makes him even better is I don't know if he's had any slumps. He's always the best player. Even at his worst, he's still one of the best."

NOTE: Greinke is correct, because Trout has never gone more than two consecutive games without getting on base!

Okay, now on to the "stat math" ...

A season with five WAR or higher is all-star level. Only three players in MLB history have had six seasons with five WAR or higher by age 25. One is Mike Trout. The other two are Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle. They also rank 1-2-3 in cumulative WAR by age 24 and age 25.

In 2018, Mike Trout reached five WAR in a third of a season, after only 57 games. That's a staggering thought because Trout accomplished in 57 games what a typical MLB all-star achieves in a full season! Another way to view this is that Trout was worth three typical all-stars, according to WAR. After one-third of the 2018 season, Trout's WAR was double that of superstars like Jose Altuve, Freddie Freeman, Carlos Correa, J. D. Martinez, Joey Votto, Andrew Benintendi and George Springer. He had three times the WAR of studs like Manny Machado, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Buster Posey, Kris Bryant, Eric Hosmer and Matt Kemp. Hell, he had four times the WAR of Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorious. The only player within hailing distance of Trout was Mookie Betts, who was having a season for the ages.

NOTE: After I wrote this, Jose Ramirez caught fire, passed Betts, and was challenging Trout at mid-season. But Ramirez is just a year younger than Trout and has only a third of his career WAR. Also, Trout was battling a finger injury that caused his power numbers to drop, limited his base-stealing, and kept him from playing center for several games. After the all-star break a healthy Trout caught fire again, had .4 fWAR in a single game, and in a six-game stretch registered an insane .679 OBP with three homers and five steals, further widening his lead over Ramirez.

In the senior league the closest player to Trout in terms of consistent superiority is probably Nolan Arendo, but Arenado is older than Trout and has half his career WAR. Ditto for Freddie Freeman. Bryce Harper has played the same number of full seasons as Trout and has less than half his career WAR. Harper has had one Troutian season in seven tries, while Trout is seven for seven. Joey Votto now trails Trout in career WAR despite being eight years older. Paul Goldschmidt is 30 and has averaged around half Trout's WAR per season. And so it goes. It's hard not to conclude that Joey Votto and Zack Greinke are correct: Mike Trout is clearly the best baseball player in the world today.

Much was made about the Manny Machado trade to the Dodgers. One expert called it the biggest bat being dealt at mid-season, ever. Others compared it to the Manny Ramirez trade, also to the Dodgers. But according to WAR, Mike Trout is worth two Manny Machados and another starter. At the time Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers he had 2.5 WAR, while around that point in the 2018 season Trout had 7.5 WAR, so Trout would have been worth three Manny Ramirezes. Or we could trade Trout for both Mannys and a third all-star!

In reality, no one playing baseball today is all that close to Mike Trout for his era (2011-2018). By the end of 2018 he would have at least four or five MVP awards if he had played on better teams. Hell, he could easily have won six or seven if he was playing for the Yankees!

Here's another amazing stat: according to Fangraphs, by the middle of June 2018 ten teams were trailing Mike Trout in fWAR. So according to Fangraphs, Mike Trout was outperforming ten entire MLB rosters by himself. That's a freakin' third of major league teams!

According to WAR, Mike Trout could be traded for up to six of the following all-stars: Manny Machado, Buster Posey, Nelson Cruz, Matt Kemp, Kris Bryant, Michael Brantley, Yadier Molina and Salvador Perez.
According to WAR, Mike Trout could be traded for the the following Houston Astros: Carlos Correa, George Springer, Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis.
According to WAR, Mike Trout could be traded for the the following Boston Red Sox: Rick Porcello, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hanley Ramirez.
According to WAR, Mike Trout could be traded for the the following New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Adujar and Greg Bird.

Or how about this stat? According to Fangraphs' WRC+, a measure of the weighted runs created by a player, Trout's career average of 171 already ranks sixth all-time, trailing only Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby and Barry Bonds. But Trout's WRC+ is still rising and because he's only two points shy of Gehrig, Hornsby and Bonds, it seems likely that Trout will soon be in the top three. In any case, he's already surpassed Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Mize, Tris Speaker, Mel Ott, Dick Allen, Willie Mays, Frank Thomas, Hank Greenberg, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Manny Ramirez, and every other hitter who ever played in the majors who's not in the top six. Of course Trout's WRC+ may start to slip at some point in his career, but he may have a long period of time in which such stats continue to rise. Other players of his caliber have remained highly productive well into their thirties. Ruth's OPS+ was still 160 at age 39. Ted Williams' OPS+ was 190 at age 41. So it seems possible that Trout's stats could continue to climb throughout his prime, then not taper off dramatically for another decade.

Trout's BABIP (.355) would put him fourth in the Hall of Fame, behind only Cobb, Hornsby and Rod Carew.

Trout's slugging percentage (.572) would put him eighth in the Hall of Fame, and ahead of every centerfielder other than DiMaggio, who's just a few ticks ahead (.579).

Trout's on-base percentage (.414) would put him fifth among Hall of Fame centerfielders, behind only Cobb, Speaker, Mantle and Billy Hamilton. But Trout's OBP has been climbing and in 2018 reached a stratospheric .461, so his career OBP seems destined to keep going up. The only HOFers with career OBPs above .450 are Ted Williams, the Bambino, John McGraw and Billy Hamilton. It seems possible that Trout could join that select club, and pass all centerfielders in career OBP. But I doubt that anyone will ever challenge Teddy Ballgame's incomprehensible .482 record. He came damn close to getting on base every other at-bat for his entire career!

According to Fangraphs and Baseball Reference's Hall of Fame Stats, if the world stopped today this is how Mike Trout would rank among the HOF center fielders: #1 in OPS, OPS+, ISO, wRC+, wGDP and UBR; #2 in slugging, BABIP, WPA, WPA/LI, REW and RE24; #5 in OBP and BsR; #7 in wOBA. We project that by the end of the 2018 season, Trout will have passed 11 of the 17 HOF centerfielders in career WAR, doing in 7 seasons what they did in double to triple the time. We also predict that by the end of the 2019 season he will have passed the immortal Joe DiMaggio, and that by the end of the 2020 season he will have passed Ken Griffey Jr., doing in 9 seasons what Griffey did in 22. If the measuring stick is JAWS, then Trout will pass DiMaggio and Griffey even faster. That will leave only Mickey Mantle, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb and Willie Mays ahead of Trout in the centerfield ranks, and Trout will still be in his prime. So we expect him to pass the highest-ranking immortals as well.

And as crazy as it sounds, Trout is still getting better by leaps and bounds. For instance, in 2017 his OPS+ was in the 200-215 range before his injury. In 2018, once again healthy, Trout was back in the 200-220 range. Those are crazy heights, Ruthian heights. In 2018, at the 74 game mark, Trout led all MLB in WAR, bWAR, fWAR, homers, at-bats per homer, walks, bases on balls per plate appearance, times on base, extra base hits, total bases, slugging percentage, OBP, OPS, runs, runs created, wRC, RAR, RC27, wRC+, wRAA, RE24, REW, WPA/LI, secondary average and stolen base efficiency (thirteen-for-fourteen); he was second in wOBA, ISOP and wSB; fourth in batting average; and twelfth in steals.

Trout has been on track for a 14 to 15 WAR season for most of 2018 (although he did slip a bit after injuring his finger). The only position player to have a 14 WAR season was Babe Ruth, and he did it just once with 14.1 WAR in 1923, the year he had his highest dWAR and won his only MVP award. Our estimate for Trout's WAR this season started at a sky-high 12, but he could force us to adjust it higher. So far Trout's slugging percentage, OBP, OPS and OPS+ are the highest of his career. He's been on track to hit around 50 homers with 40 doubles, 7 triples, 100 extra base hits, 400 total bases, 30 steals, 140 walks, 130 runs and 100 RBI. No one has ever done that before, and that's without much support from the batters hitting behind him. If Trout had Lou Gehrig following him in the lineup, as Babe Ruth did for most of his career, just think what he might be doing! The jaw drops and the mind boggles.

To illustrate Trout's lack of support compared to other hitting immortals, here's a quick chart of the all-time WAR Lords, with their peak seasons and the career high OPS+ of their best "supporters" during those periods. Hall of Fame supporters are bolded. I will go into more detail about supporting casts later on this page:

Babe Ruth (1920-1931) had Lou Gehrig (220), Tony Lazzeri (159), Earle Combs (158), Bill Dickey (158)
Barry Bonds (1990-2004) had Matt Williams (177), Will Clark (175), Ellis Burks (163), Jeff Kent (162), Bobby Bonilla (160), Andy Van Slyke (150)
Willie Mays (1954-1971) had Willie McCovey (209), Orlando Cepeda (165), Monte Irvin (147), Jim Ray Hart (151), Hank Thompson (146), Bobby Bonds (144)
Ty Cobb (1907-1926) had Harry Heilmann (194), Sam Crawford (167), Bobby Veach (159), Heinie Manush (154), Charlie Gehringer (149)
Rogers Hornsby (1921-1929) had Jim Bottomley (162), Chick Hafey (157), Ray Blades (141), Billy Southworth (140)
Mickey Mantle (1952-1964) had Roger Maris (167), Enos Slaughter (156), Elston Howard (153), Bill Skowron (145), Yogi Berra (142)
Ted Williams (1941-1957) had Jimmie Foxx (207), Joe Cronin (176), Bobby Doerr (165), Vern Stephens (159), Jackie Jensen (148)

Mike Trout has not been blessed with that kind of support. None of his teammates would make the list above. The highest OPS+ achieved by his supporting case was in his first full year, 2012, when Albert Pujols registered 138 and Torri Hunter had 129. Since then Pujols has been in a steady decline and the rest of the Angels have been terrible to slightly above average, with the best seasons being by Pujols (81-126), Kole Calhoun (83-123), Howie Kendrick (75-118), Josh Hamilton (79-115), C. J. Cron (69-115), Mark Trumbo (100-109), David Freese (56-109), Erick Aybar (68-107) and Andrelton Simmons (91-103). So far prospects look slightly better in 2018, with Simmons, Ohtani and Upton providing a bit more firepower. But it remains to be seen if any of them will finish the season with an OPS of 140 or higher. I, for one, am not holding my breath. However, this makes Trout's accomplishments all the more impressive. Has any great hitter ever done so much with so little support over such a long period of time?

In the meantime, here is what Mike Trout has done, starting with his first full season:

2012 — Led all MLB in WAR (Pujols 138 OPS+, Hunter 129 OPS+)
2013 — Led all MLB in WAR (Pujols 116 OPS+, Kendrick 118 OPS+)
2014 — Led all MLB hitters in WAR (Pujols 126 OPS+, Calhoun 123 OPS+)
2015 — Led the AL in WAR (Pujols 118 OPS+, Freese 109 OPS+)
2016 — Led all MLB in WAR (Pujols 113 OPS+, Calhoun 116 OPS+)
2017 — Finished tenth in WAR despite missing a third of the season and having no support (Pujols 81 OPS+, Simmons 103 OPS+)
2018 — Currently leads all MLB in WAR and just about every major offensive stat (his teammates' OPS+ is yet to be determined)

Mookie Betts is playing on a 2018 Boston Red Sox team with five hitters with an OPS+ of 120 or higher, including J. D. Martinez at 170.
Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor are playing on a 2018 Cleveland Indians team with eight hitters with an OPS+ of 100 or higher, and four over 120.
Jose Altuve is playing on a 2018 Houston Astros team with seven players with an OPS+ of 110 or higher.
Aaron Judge is playing on a 2018 New York Yankees team with eight hitters with an OPS+ of 100 or higher, and seven over 115.
Mike Trout is playing on a 2018 Los Angeles Angels team with two other starters with an OPS+ of 100 or higher, and six below 90.

Trout has been setting the baseball world on fire with precious little help from the hitters batting behind him.
Lacking support, is it possible that Mike Trout could still be better than Babe Ruth having his best season? Yes, because if Trout hits 40+ homers, he is a much better base-runner and defender than Ruth. He would be rivaling Ruth power-wise, while outperforming him in other areas of the game. And he would be doing it against much better competition — including African-American, Hispanic and international players — while not having a murderer's row hitting around him. And Ruth didn't face pitchers who threw 95 to 100 mph. In Ruth's era the best pitchers were typically throwing 300+ innings while striking out 100 to 150 batters. So they obviously weren't bringing much heat. Walter Johnson is the only pitcher Ruth faced who is in the top 20 for career strikeouts. But even the immortal "Big Train" is only 460th with a plebian average of 5.3 strikeouts-per-nine-innings. Modern pitching is much harder to hit, speed-wise, and relievers with fresh arms keep the heat coming for nine innings. I shudder to think what the chiseled Trout would do to ye olde slowballers, if he went back in time to Ruth's era. Also, as I mentioned previously, Trout is hitting in a pitcher's park, while Ruth had a customized launching pad. The playing field is hardly level and yet Trout is still challenging Ruth's long reign as baseball's WAR Lord.

How good is Mike Trout? Despite standing 6-2 and weighing 235 pounds, he is MLB's most efficient base stealer at 95% (20 steals in 21 attempts). For his career Trout's been successful 85% of the time, so 2018 is no fluke and he continues to improve. And he's legitimately fast, since his average sprint speed of 29.2 feet per second is the same as Dee Gordon's.

Trout is currently number nine in career OPS, immediately ahead of Mark McGwire, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial. That's heady company, to say the least. But at his 2018 pace, if he can maintain it, Trout's only competitors would be Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. They accumulated most of their OPS after age 26, with Gehrig staying productive until age 35, Ruth until 39, and Williams until 41. So Trout could conceivably have up to 14 years to raise his OPS.

Trout's slugging percentage has also been rising: .629 in 2017 and .621 currently in 2018 (although it was higher both seasons before injuries). If he maintains that level, Trout will be soaring in the stratosphere with the same three immortals: Ruth, Williams and Gehrig.


How good is Mike Trout? He was already leading all MLB in WAR by a substantial margin. Then during the first two games of a critical series with the division-leading Seattle Mariners, Trout hit four homers and robbed Nelson Cruz of a home run with a circus catch in centerfield. Trout is now the only player to have consecutive multi-homer games at Safeco Field. Over a six game span, Trout was 13 for 19 with four homers, seven walks and seven RBI. During that stretch he slashed an otherworldly .684/.750/1.368 with a 2.118 OPS. He then extended his streak to getting on base 27 out of 34 times, for an insane .794 OBP. But he was also hit by a pitch and awarded first for catcher's interference, so his "effective" OBP was really 29-for-36, or .806. Unfortunately his teammates continued to struggle and the Angels lost six out of eight games, wasting the streak of a lifetime. If Trout isn't the 2018 AL MVP, it will only be because he doesn't have the supporting cast of Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve.

Betts and Altuve led the AL all-star voting, but WAR and other statistics tell us that Trout is playing in an entirely different league. Put him in a better hitter's park with a better supporting cast, and Trout would really go on the WAR path, I'm sure!

How good is Mike Trout, really? He was the senior member of the 2018 all-star team, with seven selections. But he's in the middle of his age 26 season, so he's still just a kid. The only other players with seven all-star selections by age 26 were Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Jr., Ivan Rodriguez and Al Kaline.

When USA Today conducted a "For The Win" poll that allowed fans to vote for the best players at each position, there was only one position with a single candidate: Mike Trout in centerfield. Apparently  the pollsters didn't want fans to embarrass themselves in public by voting for anyone else!

Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes and Mike Trout leading all MLB in WAR.

As one analyst observed: "Trout simply has no peers in the game today." No peers. None. Nada. Zip. Perhaps even more amazingly, Trout has very few peers in the past, and he could eclipse them all. We are seeing something completely unprecedented: a player with a chance to be better than Mickey Mantle, better than Ty Cobb, even better than Babe Ruth ... if he can keep it up. Trout is much faster than Ruth, much stronger than Cobb, and (as far as we know) much cleaner-and healthier-living than Mantle. While Trout could slow down, there is also the possibility that he may continue to improve (which seems to be the case so far). 

However, because he missed nearly a third of the 2017 season, Trout fell just short of Cobb's age-25 cumulative WAR of 55.8. As of October 1, 2017, Trout was sitting on 55.1 (per ESPN) with the season over. But it took Cobb around 600 more at-bats to earn that extra .7 WAR. That's nearly a full season of at-bats, so the WAR bonnet still goes to Trout because with 600 more at-bats it wouldn't even be close. And because Cobb had "only" 7.4 WAR at age 26 and 5.6 WAR at age 27, Trout is poised to reclaim the WAR mantle if he has two typical Troutian years. (Or maybe just one, at the rate he's going.)

Or consider the active players Trout was closest to in WAR at the end of 2017: Joey Votto (55.2) and Ian Kinsler (54.9). Neck-and-neck! Too close to call, huh? Not really. Votto has played 4 more seasons that Trout, and Kinsler has played 5 more. Trout is averaging around 10 WAR per full season. So he would nearly double Kinsler's WAR if he had played 5 more seasons. Yes, Votto and Kinsler have been great players, but Trout is playing in another league. If we think about it, the mind boggles. Joey Votto has consistently played at an all-star level for 11 years, averaging nearly 5.0 WAR per season. But Trout has played at an MVP level (8.0 or higher) since his first full season. If Trout had played 11 seasons at his current rate, he would have 110 WAR, which is double Votto's total. And players with 110 WAR for their careers are rare indeed. We're talking about legends like Mel Ott, Tom Seaver, Mickey Mantle, Rickey Henderson and Lou Gehrig. But it took them 17 to 25 years to reach that exalted level. If Trout maintains what he's been doing up to a still-youthful age of around thirty, he will reach that same exalted level in around half the time. That's how good — no, how truly great — Trout has been.

But what about active players who are still substantially ahead of Trout? Well, most of them have played two to three times longer than Trout and don't come close in average WAR per season. The closest anyone active comes to Trout's average annual WAR is the greatest pitcher of his generation, Clayton Kershaw, at 6.1 and still going strong. But according to average WAR, Trout is 40% better and should pass Kershaw in 2018. The non-pitcher closest to Trout is his teammate Albert Pujols, at 5.8 average WAR, but now trending slightly negative on the downside of his career. If they both keep up their current paces, Trout should pass Pujols in around five years. At that point Trout would have done in 12 years what Pujols did in around 20, depending on how long he hangs around. So it really isn't close and it seems the only thing that could prevent Trout from passing all his peers by substantial margins would be "falling off a cliff" either healthwise or otherwise. For instance, he might get bored with being so great and pull a reverse Michael Jordan by heading off for the NBA!

Trout finished the 2017 season virtually tied with Jeff Kent at 55.2 WAR. How good was Kent? Pretty damn good. He was a five-time all-star, a four-time Silver Slugger winner, and the NL MVP in 2000 when he hit .334 with 33 homers and 125 RBI. Kent had eight seasons with 100 or more RBI, and three seasons with 120 or more. He finished his career with 1,518 RBI, which is more than Mickey Mantle, Eddie Matthews, Jim Rice and Mark McGwire. Kent slugged a stellar .500, which ties him with Tris Speaker, Goose Goslin, Roy Campanella and Ernie Banks. Kent holds the record for homers by a second baseman and looks like a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. So how close is the race between Kent and Trout? Not close at all, because Trout accumulated his WAR in six seasons, while Kent played seventeen years, or nearly three times as long.

To understand how much more WAR he's been producing than the average baseball star (while that may sound like an oxymoron, Trout really does make other stars seem average by comparison), please consider that in 2017, despite missing nearly nearly a third of the season due to injuries, when he returned to action Trout was still ahead of studs like Butch Posey, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Cody Bellinger. And within a few weeks Trout was catching and passing superstars having outstanding seasons, like Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Carlos Correa, Jose Ramirez, Charlie Blackmon, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rendon and Justin Turner. Are you impressed with the power of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge? Well, Trout was in a virtual three-way tie with them for MLB's highest slugging percentage, with .630. Unbelievably, despite playing only 114 games, Trout had more offensive WAR than Judge and Stanton! (BTW, Judge and Trout are the same age, finishing their age 25 seasons together. Judge has 7.6 career WAR and Trout has 55.1. Are they really comparable?)

Do you think Bryce Harper will be one of the all-time greats? Well, Trout has more than double Harper's career WAR. Do you think Jose Altuve is the second coming of Joe Morgan? Well maybe, but Trout seems to be the second coming of Mickey Mantle ... or perhaps even better. Altuve is older than Trout, but has roughly half his career WAR and is falling further behind every season. Ditto for Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Buster Posey, et al.

And speaking of 2017, Trout finished the year with an insane 6.7 WAR in only 114 games, despite slumping after returning from a serious injury. Truly amazing! But then in 2018, Trout reached 6.7 WAR in only 75 games!

Thus it's really not that close. Yes, Bryce Harper and Joey Votto are great players. But, no, they are not close to Mike Trout in average WAR per season played. Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols are not that close. Do you think A-Rod is a great player, except that he cheated? Well, guess again, because A-Rod's steroid-infused OPS+ of 140 still falls far short of Trout's 174, as does Giancarlo Stanton's career OPS+ of 146.  The only players who rival Trout's career OPS+ of 174 are Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. That's some club! However, Trout's OPS+ continues to climb. If he keeps getting better, his only rival will be Ruth. But Trout started accumulating major WAR at age 20, while Ruth had his first huge WAR season at age 24. So Trout has a big head start. Unless Trout slows down, it seems he has the advantage over everyone, including the Bambino!

There has recently been considerable noise out of Boston that Mookie Betts is ready to wrest the crown and scepter from Mike Trout's hands. But Betts is just a year younger than Trout, has roughly half Trout's career WAR, and has a cumulative OPS+ of 123, which is 50 points below Trout's. Betts had one MVP-level season with 9.7 WAR. Trout has that sort of season routinely, regular as clockwork. So Betts has a lot of makeup work to do. And it's hard to catch up with someone who's working on a WAR season for the ages in 2018. Trout's WAR gap with Mookie was not shrinking, but growing, in the midst of Mookie's greatest offensive season, before his unfortunate injury.

Or take the "20-20 Club" of players with 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in the same season. In 2017, Trout reached it in 98 games! The great Willie Mays did it six times in his storied career. Trout has done it four times already and seems sure to do it again in 2018.

Or how about the "Dynamic Club" of players with the all-time highest WAR7 (i.e., add the seven best WAR seasons together)? These are the ten players who had the very highest peaks: Babe Ruth (84.7), Willie Mays (73.7), Rogers Hornsby (73.5), Barry Bonds (72.7), Ted Williams (69.2), Ty Cobb (69.2), Lou Gehrig (67.7), Honus Wagner (65.4), Mickey Mantle (64.8) and Eddie Collins (64.3). These are baseball's "highest octane" performers. When they were in their primes, for at least seven years (thus no flukes), no one was better. Where will Mike Trout end up in this illustrious list? Because he still seems to be improving, it's hard to say, since each superior WAR season will replace the "worst" season he's had to date. The "worst" Trout season has always been MVP-level. My wild-but-somewhat-educated guess is that Trout will average around 10.5 WAR for his best seven seasons. That would put him close to Mays and Hornsby. He would need to average 12.0 WAR to have a shot at Ruth's WAR7 record. It seems more likely that Trout could break Ruth's lifetime WAR record, because Trout started so strong out of the gates at age 20. However, if Trout starts having 14 or 15 WAR seasons, because he's still so young, he could be the WAR7 Lord as well.

Here are the players with the most WAR through age 30 since the time of Babe Ruth:

1. Mike Trout, 115.0 a perhaps conservative estimate of Trout's WAR at the end of his age 30 season
1. Mickey Mantle, 84.8
2. Alex Rodriguez, 80.5
3. Albert Pujols, 73.8
4. Hank Aaron, 73.7
5. Ken Griffey, 70.7
6. Eddie Mathews, 68.3
7. Willie Mays, 68.3
8. Barry Bonds, 66.4
9. Stan Musial, 64.8
10. Frank Robinson, 63.9
11. Ted Williams, 63.4
12. Mike Trout, 62.1 one-half of the way into his age 26 season, with 4 1/2 seasons to go!
13. Rickey Henderson, 61.5
14. Al Kaline, 59.9
15. Johnny Bench, 59.6

Mike Trout just played in his 1,000th game. Here's how he stacks up with the best players of all time, when they played in their 1,000th games. Trout has a higher OPS (.988) than Willie Mays, Mel Ott, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds. He has more homers (224) than Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Lou Gehrig and Aaron. He has more extra base hits (483) than Robinson, Griffey and Bonds. He has more walks (635) than Bonds. He has a higher OBP (.414) and more doubles (216) than Hornsby. He has a higher slugging percentage (.574) than Stan Musial. He has nearly as many hits (1,126) as Pete Rose, nearly as many total bases (2,097) as Aaron, nearly as many runs (752) as Rickey Henderson. And no player in MLB history has had more combined home runs (224) and steals (178) than Mike Trout at 1,000 games. So Trout is either rivaling or exceeding the best young "overachievers" who preceded him.

Hall-of-Fame Players Mike Trout is about to Pass or has Already Passed

Mike Trout, two-thirds of the way into his age 26 season has already passed 93 HOF position players! Most of them played two to three times as many seasons as Trout.

Note: The ages below reflect Trout's age at the beginning of the season in question. The WAR figures come from BaseballReference.com and seem to be "refigured" from time to time, so that the career WAR of retired players can change slightly. (However, for Trout the current WAR figure comes from ESPN because ESPN updates its stats faster.) The WAR numbers cited here are those that were in effect at the time Trout passed the player(s) in question. But he's going to end up so far beyond most players that teeny-tiny variations will prove insignificant in the end. There have only been 30 players to reach 100 WAR, but Trout could reach that exalted level before his age 30 season, barring injuries. For all players below the 100 WAR level, it's just a question of how soon Trout will shoot past them, and how vastly he will eclipse them.

Hall of Fame players Mike Trout will be passing in 2018, barring a serious injury, during his age 26 season ...

Joe Cronin+ (20) 66.4 Cronin was one of the best RBI men at shortstop (119 OPS+).
Duke Snider+ (18) 66.3 Trout passes his 14th HOF centerfielder.
Pee Wee Reese+ (16) 66.3 Reese was a better fielder and leader than hitter (99 OPS+).
Goose Goslin+ (18) 66.1 Goslin slugged .500 with 1,612 RBI (128 OPS+).
Craig Biggio+ (20) 65.5 Biggio had 3,060 hits with 1,844 runs (112 OPS+).
Andre Dawson+ (21) 64.8 Trout passes his 13th HOF centerfielder.
Willie McCovey+ (22) 64.5 McCovey slugged .515 and crushed 521 homers (147 OPS+).
Dave Winfield+ (22) 64.2 Winfield had 465 homers and 1,833 RBI (130 OPS+).
Richie Ashburn+ (15) 63.9 Trout passes his 12th HOF centerfielder (111 OPS+).
Billy Williams+ (18) 63.7 Williams slugged .492 with 426 homers (133 OPS+).
Billy Hamilton+ (14) 63.3 Trout passes his 11th HOF centerfielder (141 OPS+, .344, 914 steals).

I think there are two very interesting things about the names above and immediately below. First, there are some truly great players included. Second, they still don't really compare with Mike Trout. Their average WAR per season ranges from 2.7 (Willie Stargell and Harmon Killebrew) to 6.1 (Jackie Robinson). But Trout is averaging a stunning 9.2 WAR per season, which explains why he's catching and passing them so quickly. Even if we consider the age/performance factor and use WAR7 to compare the players' seven most productive years, it's still not close. Trout has only played six full seasons, but if we add his historical average, we get 64.5 for seven years. The closest players on the lists above and below are far behind and fading: Jackie Robinson (52.0) and Hank Greenberg (47.7). To find HOF players whose WAR7 is higher than Trout's we have to ascend to the very highest regions: Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Ted Williams. That's it. But it's very possible that some of Trout's best seasons lie ahead of him, so that tiny list could shrink further as his WAR7 goes up. After all, Babe Ruth had his best WAR season at age 28 and remained ultra-productive for a decade. And Trout is in much better physical condition.

Mike Trout age 26 career WAR 63.0 per ESPN as of July 28, 2018 passed: John Ward, Jackie Robinson, Enos Slaughter, Joe Medwick, Luis Aparicio, Bill Dickey, George Sisler, Joe Gordon, Willie Stargell, Hank Greenberg, Joe Torre, Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra, Zack Wheat, Harmon Killebrew, Jake Beckley, Lou Boudreau

Enos Slaughter had one of the all-time great baseball names and was an all-star for ten consecutive seasons (55.3 WAR, 19 seasons, 124 OPS+). 
Joe Medwick was a premier slugger in his day (55.6 WAR, 17 seasons, 134 OPS+).
Luis Aparicio won 9 gold gloves and stole 506 bases (55.8 WAR, 18 seasons, 82 OPS+).
Bill Dickey was an all-time top ten catcher (55.8 WAR, 17 seasons, 127 OPS+).
George Sisler  had a career .340 batting average and hit .400 twice (56.3, 15 seasons, 125 OPS+).
Joe Gordon was an AL MVP and nine-time all-star at second base (57.2, 11 seasons, 120 OPS+).
Willie Stargell had 475 homers and 1,540 RBI (57.5 WAR, 21 seasons, 147 OPS+).
Hank Greenberg slugged an otherworldly .605, sixth on the all-time list (57.5 WAR, 13 seasons, 158 OPS+).
Joe Torre was a gold glove winner at catcher, an MVP and a 9-time all-star (57.6, 19 seasons, 129 OPS+).
Vladimir Guerrero was an MVP and nine-time All-Star (59.4 WAR, 16 seasons, 140 OPS+).
Mike Piazza was an offensive force at catcher but average defensively (59.4, 16 seasons, 142 OPS+).
Yogi Berra was a three-time MVP and fifteen-time All-Star (59.5 WAR, 19 seasons, 125 OPS+).
Jesse Burkett hit 400 twice and averaged 223 hits per 162 games (59.7, 16 seasons, 140 OPS+).
Zack Wheat hit .317 and still holds the Dodger record for hits (60.2 WAR, 19 seasons, 129 OPS+).
Harmon Killebrew was a beastly home run hitter and RBI man (60.4 WAR, 22 seasons, 143 OPS+).
Jake Beckley hit .308 with 1,603 runs and 1,581 RBI (61.3 WAR, 20 seasons, 125 OPS+).
Jackie Robinson averaged a stellar 6.1 WAR for his racism-shortened career (61.4 WAR, 10 seasons).
John Ward was a great two-way player, with an ERA of 2.10 and 1,410 runs scored (62.3 WAR, 92 OPS+, 17 seasons).
Home Run Baker was an offensive force but ironically never hit more than 12 homers (62.7 WAR, 135 OPS+, 13 seasons).
Lou Boudreau was a fair hitter for a shortstop of his era (63.0 WAR, 120 OPS+, 15 seasons).

Mike Trout age 25 career WAR 54.2 passed: Billy Herman, Bill Terry, Max Carey, Wee Willie Keeler, Tony Perez, Joe Sewell, Gabby Hartnett, Harry Hooper, Joe Tinker, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Sam Rice, Bid McPhee, Mickey Cochrane, Jim O'Rourke, Bobby Doerr, Kirby Puckett, Joe Kelley, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Lazzeri, Larry Doby, Ralph Kiner, Nellie Fox

Billy Herman was a defensive star at second who hit .304 (112 OPS+). Bill Terry, the last NL player to hit .400, had a career .341 batting average (136 OPS+). Max Carey hit .285 (108 OPS+) with 738 steals and 1,545 runs. Wee Willie Keeler was famous for "hittin' it where they ain't." Tony Perez, known as "Mr. Clutch," was one of the greatest RBI men of all time, with 1,652 (more than Rogers Hornsby, Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Banks, George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey and Willie Stargell). Joe Sewell was a good-hitting shortstop (.312, 108 OPS+) who holds the records for the lowest strikeout rate in major league history (once every 63 at-bats). Gabby Hartnett was a slugging catcher (.297, .489 SP, 126 OPS+) known for his strong, accurate throwing arm. Hartnett was the first catcher to hit 20 homers, and he was considered to be the greatest NL catcher before Johnny Bench. By passing Joe Tinker, our young WarLord has now passed the entire Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double-play trio! Elmer Flick had a stellar 149 OPS+. Sam Rice hit .322 with 1,514 runs. Bid McPhee (1,684) and Jim O'Rourke (1,729) are in the top 30 all-time in runs scored. Mickey Cochrane was an all-world catcher in his day; he hit .320 with a marvelous .419 OBP that remains in the all-time top 20; in fact, the immortal Jimmie Foxx had to change positions because he couldn't dislodge Cochrane at catcher! Kirby Puckett was a ten-time all-star who won six Gold Gloves and six Silver Sluggers. Ralph Kiner slugged .548 with a 149 OPS+ and led the NL in homers for seven consecutive years, starting as a freakin' rookie! Nellie Fox was an MVP and 15-time all-star.

Mike Trout age 24 career WAR 48.5 passed: Dave Bancroft, Earl Averill, Johnny Evers, Buck Ewing, Jim Rice, Kiki Cuyler, Ernie Lombardi, Heinie Manush, Frank Chance, John McGraw, Deacon White, Lou Brock, Edd Roush, King Kelly, Sam Thompson, Travis Jackson, Chuck Klein, Hugh Duffy, Rabbit Maranville, Earle Combs, Hughie Jennings, Red Schoendienst, Roger Bresnahan, Phil Rizzuto, Hack Wilson 

There are more outstanding names here. Earl Averill hit .318 and slugged .534. Jim Rice slugged .502 with 382 homers and 1,451 RBI. Kiki Cuyler hit .321 and scored 1,305 runs. Ernie Lombardi was one of the better slugging catchers. John McGraw had an utterly stellar career OBP of .466 (third all-time after Ted Williams and Babe Ruth), but was so lacking in power that he somehow managed to only slug .410! Lou Brock was one of the greatest base-stealers of all time with 938 and he scored an impressive 1,610 runs. Sam Thompson hit .331 and slugged .505 with a healthy 147 OPS+. Chuck Klein hit .320 and slugged .543. Hack Wilson slugged .545 with a 144 OPS+ and he holds the all-time single season RBI mark at 190.

Mike Trout age 23 career WAR 38.1 passed: George Kell, Bill Mazeroski, Pie Traynor, John Ward, Miller Huggins, Jim Bottomley, Roy Campanella, Ross Youngs, Chick Hafey, Rick Ferrell

In one of the great ironies, Rick Ferrell's brother Wes was a pitcher, and his OPS, OPS+ and slugging percentages were markedly better than the HOF batter's! How can that happen? But there are some impressive names here. Pie Traynor hit .320 and was one of the best third basemen of baseball's early years. Jim Bottomley hit .310, slugged .500 and drove in 1,422 runs. Roy Campanella was one of the greatest catchers ever: a three-time MVP who slugged .500 for his career (second all-time at his position). In his youth he was a victim of racial discrimination; later in life he was injured. As result, he had only had six superior seasons. But when he was in his prime, Campanella was really something. I have him second only to Johnny Bench in my personal catcher rankings, and that is mainly because Bench was so good defensively with 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, home run power, and that cannon arm.

Mike Trout age 22 career WAR 28.8 passed: Ray Schalk, Freddie Lindstrom, High Pockets Kelly, Lloyd Waner, George Wright, Monte Irvin, Billy Southworth

Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner is the first "big" name here, but perhaps mainly because his brother Paul "Big Poison" Waner played beside him (there may be some coat-tail riding involved). "Little Poison" did hit .316 with 2,459 hits, but his OPS+ is a plebian 99. Monte Irvin was a victim of racial discrimination who would have ranked higher if he had been able to play longer, because his 125 OPS+ is around the HOF median. But there's still not a lot to crow about here, since 867 players had more than 28.8 career WAR at the time I wrote this.

Mike Trout age 21 career WAR 20.8 passed: Casey Stengel, Ned Hanlon, Al Lopez, Tommy McCarthy, Bucky Harris, Wilbert Robinson

Not much to crow about here: more managers and otherwise dubious members of the HOF.

Mike Trout age 20 career WAR 11.5 passed: Charlie Comiskey, Connie Mack, Leo Durocher

Not much to crow about here; these are players who are much better known as managers.

When Mike Trout reached 52.3 WAR in his age 25 season, he became the all-time Angels WARrior by passing pitcher Charles Finley, who amassed 52.2 WAR as an Angel in 14 seasons from 1986-1999. Trout had already passed all Angels position players, including Vladimir Guerrero, Garrett Anderson, Tim Salmon, Jim Fregosi, Brian Downing, Rod Carew and Bobby Grich.

Mike Trout Chronology/Timeline/Milestones/Records

1991 - Mike Trout is born on August 7, 1991
2008 - Mike Trout fires a no-hitter with 18 strikeouts as a high school junior; Angels scout Greg Morhardt says Trout is the fastest and strongest 17-year-old he has ever seen
2009 - Mike Trout sets a New Jersey high school record with 18 home runs as a senior
2009 - Mike Trout graduates from Millville High School, where he earned five letters in baseball and basketball
2009 - Mike Trout is drafted in the first round by the Angels and signs for $1.2 million (money very well spent!); but the Angels select Trout after Randal Grichuk!
2009 - Mike Trout reaches base six times in his first pro game and hits .352 at age 17
2010 - Mike Trout hits .341 with 56 steals and is named the Topps Minor League Player of the Year (the youngest to win the award)
2011 - Mike Trout makes his major league debut on July 8, 2011 as a teenager, age 19
2011 - Mike Trout was the youngest player to be called up to the Angels since 1971
2011 - Mike Trout has his first two-homer game on August 30, 2011
2012 - Mike Trout breaks the AL record for consecutive games with a run scored, with 15 games on June 22, 2012
2012 - Mike Trout has his first four-hit game on June 30, 2012
2012 - Mike Trout hits .326 with 30 homers and 49 steals, winning the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award unanimously on Nov. 12, 2012
2012 - Mike Trout was the youngest AL player to ever win the Rookie of the Year Award
2012 - Mike Trout finishes second in the AL MVP voting, as a rookie! He leads the AL in runs (129), steals (49) and OPS+ (168)
2012 - Mike Trout is the only player to hit 30 or more home runs and steal at least 40 bases in his rookie season
2012 - Mike Trout is the youngest player to steal 40 bases in a season since Ty Cobb in 1907
2012 - Mike Trout is the only player in MLB history to hit 30 home runs, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in a single season, and he did it as a rookie
2013 - Mike Trout becomes the youngest AL player to hit for the cycle on May 21, 2013
2013 - Mike Trout finishes second in the AL MVP voting as a sophomore, leading the AL in runs (109) and walks (110)
2013 - Mike Trout and Willie Mays are the only players with multiple seasons with a .320 average, 25 homers and 30 steals; Trout did it in his first two full seasons!
2013 - Mike Trout is one of four players to hit .320 with 50 homers and 200 runs in their first two seasons, joining Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Albert Pujols!
2014 - Mike Trout hits his first walk-off home run on May 15, 2014
2014 - Mike Trout hits the longest home run (489 feet) in Angels history on June 27, 2014
2014 - Mike Trout is the All-Star MVP
2014 - Mike Trout is named AL MVP, leading the AL in runs (115), RBI (111) and total bases (338)
2014 - Mike Trout wins the AL Hank Aaron Award
2015 - Mike Trout becomes the youngest MLB player with 100 homers and 100 steals, on April 17, 2015
2015 - Mike Trout is the All-Star MVP for the second time
2015 - Mike Trout hits his 40th home run on Sept. 22, 2015
2015 - Mike Trout finishes second in the AL MVP voting, leading the AL in slugging (.590), OPS (.991) and OPS+ (176)
2016 - Mike Trout is named AL MVP for the second time, leading the AL in runs (123), walks (116), OBP (.441) and OPS+ (174)
2016 - Mike Trout is the first player in MLB history to finish first or second in the MVP voting in each of his first five seasons
2016 - Mike Trout wins his fifth consecutive Silver Slugger (2012-2016)
2016 - Mike Trout leads the AL in WAR for the fifth consecutive year (2012-2016)
2017 - Mike Trout joins Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez as the only AL players to hit 200 homers before their age 26 seasons
2017 - Mike Trout is an All-Star for the sixth consecutive year (2012-2017)
2017 - Mike Trout is slump-proof; to this point in his career he has never gone more than two consecutive games without getting on base
2017 - Mike Trout finishes fourth in the AL MVP voting despite missing a third of the season!
2017 - Mike Trout finishes second in all MLB in offensive WAR, ahead of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, despite missing a third of the season!
2018 - Mike Trout reaches 5.0 WAR (all-star level) in 57 games, or a third of a season; thus Trout is worth three ordinary all-stars according to WAR!
2018 - Mike Trout has the most combined homers (224) and stolen bases (178) for any player reaching his 1,000th game
2018 - Mike Trout is the first MLB player to have 200 homers and 175 stolen bases before his age 27 season

Mike Trout Awards, Records & Milestones

Mike Trout became the youngest MLB player ever to hit at least 20 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in a season, in 2012, his rookie season.
Mike Trout became the youngest member of the 30-30 club when he hit his 30th home run of the 2012 season.
Mike Trout in his rookie season became the first player in MLB history to hit 30 home runs, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in one season.
Mike Trout, as a rookie, led the AL with 129 runs, 49 steals and a 168 OPS+.
Mike Trout was the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year in his first full season, 2012. He was the youngest AL Rookie of the Year ever, and finished 2nd in the MVP voting.
Mike Trout was also the Wilson AL Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, as a rookie.
Mike Trout won the AL MVP Award in 2014 and 2016, finishing second in 2012, 2013 and 2015. He has been either first or second in the MVP voting in all five of his full seasons so far.
The only other major league player to finish in the top two of the MVP voting for five consecutive years was Barry Bonds, but he cheated!
Mike Trout joins Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, Stan Musial, and Jimmie Foxx as the only position players to win two MVP awards by age 25.
Mike Trout has been an all-star in each of his five full seasons played.
Mike Trout has has won a Silver Slugger in each of his five full seasons played.
Mike Trout led the AL in WAR in each of his five full seasons played. The last player to lead the AL in WAR for five years in a row was Babe Ruth.
Mike Trout has led the AL in run scored in 4 of his 5 full seasons, 3 times in OPS+ and 2 times in walks. 
Mike Trout is the only player in MLB history to have five seasons with 25 homers and 100 runs through his age-24 season.
Mike Trout had the highest OPS (168) for any qualified batter in his age-20 season, leading Ty Cobb (167), Mel Ott (165), Mickey Mantle (162), Al Kaline (162), Alex Rodriguez (161) and Ted Williams (160).
Mike Trout had the highest OPS (179) for any qualified batter in his age-21 season, leading Jimmie Foxx (173), Eddie Matthews (171), Ty Cobb (169), Rogers Hornsby (169) and Ted Williams (161).
Mike Trout had the most times on base (309) of any player in his age-21 season.
Mike Trout has produced 300 or more total bases in each of his five full seasons.
Mike Trout is a two-time All Star game MVP.
Mike Trout was the youngest player in MLB history to reach 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases.
Mike Trout is the only player in MLB history to have 150 home runs and 150 steals before his 26th birthday.
Mike Trout celebrated his 26th birthday on August 7, 2017 by getting his 1,000th hit and hitting a home run. It's the fourth time that he's hit a home run on his birthday.
Mike Trout is only the third player to hit 25 homers six times before his year-26 season; the others are Eddie Matthews and Frank Robinson.
Mike Trout led the AL in WAR in each of his first five full seasons. He joins Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth as the only players in MLB history to lead their leagues in WAR for five consecutive seasons.
Since 1970, Mike Trout is one of only three players to produce 45 fWAR in a five-year span; the others were Joe Morgan and Barry Bonds in their primes.
Of the approximately 19,000 players to participate in the majors, only 89 of them have hit more home runs and stolen more bases than the 25-year-old Trout. And he's just getting started!
Mike Trout's career OPS+ of 174 has only been matched or bettered by Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth.
Mike Trout, because of his rare combination of power, speed and defense in center field, has been compared to Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.
Mike Trout is a natural at golf too, recording a hole-in-one in 2017. He can also dunk a basketball and once beat Draymond Green in a game of "horse."
Mike Trout is stealing bases at an 85% clip for his career; this is second all-time among players who have attempted 200 steals.
Mike Trout was already far-and-away the best player in baseball. Then in 2017 and 2018 he got insanely better. And he's still just entering his prime years.
Mike Trout is virtually slump-proof. He has never gone more than two consecutive games without getting on base.

The WAR-7-WAR Screen

Here's a screen I developed to compare Trout to the greatest position players of all time. The screen I chose is players with over 100 career WAR with an average seasonal WAR for their peak seven years (i.e., WAR7 divided by 7) of 8.0 or higher (i.e., MVP-caliber numbers). In other words, each player had to appear in the highest ranks for career achievement (total WAR), plus in the MVP category for at least seven years. Needless to say, anyone who appears in this list is an all-time great of the highest magnitude. For the "starting date" (which will prove very important below), I used the age at which the player had either his first year 10+ WAR season, or his highest WAR season. Since Trout has not played seven full seasons yet, I used his total WAR for the five full seasons he has played, divided by five. Here are the results:

Babe Ruth 163.1 WAR with a peak average of 12.1 starting at age 25
Willie Mays 156.2 WAR with a peak average of 10.5 starting at age 23
Rogers Hornsby 127.0 WAR with a peak average of 10.5 starting at age 25
Barry Bonds 162.4 WAR with a peak average of 10.4 starting at age 36 (*)
Ty Cobb 151.0 WAR with a peak average of 9.9 starting at age 23
Ted Williams 123.1 WAR with a peak average of 9.9 starting at age 22
Mike Trout 48.4 WAR with a peak average of 9.7 starting at age 20 (he had an amazing 10.8 WAR in his first full season)
Lou Gehrig 112.4 WAR with a peak average of 9.7 starting at age 24
Honus Wagner 131.0 WAR with a peak average of 9.3 starting at age 31
Mickey Mantle 109.7 WAR with a peak average of 9.2 starting at age 24
Stan Musial 128.1 WAR with a peak average of 9.2 starting at age 27
Alex Rodriguez 117.7 WAR with a peak average of 9.2 starting at age 24 (***)
Eddie Collins 123.9 WAR with a peak average of 9.1 starting at age 23 (when he had his first and only 10+ WAR season)
Tris Speaker 133.7 WAR with a peak average of 8.9 starting at age 24 (when he had his first and only 10+ WAR season)
Barry Bonds 111.1 WAR with a peak average of 8.9 starting at age 36 (**)
Albert Pujols 100.2 WAR with a peak average of 8.8 starting at age 29 (when he had his highest WAR season at 9.7)
Hank Aaron 142.6 WAR with a peak average of 8.6 starting at age 27 (when he had his highest WAR season at 9.4)
Nap Lajoie 107.4 WAR with a peak average of 8.6 starting at age 31 (when he had his first and only 10+ WAR season)
Joe Morgan 100.3 WAR with a peak average of 8.4 starting at age 31 (when he had his first and only 10+ WAR season)
Mike Schmidt 106.5 WAR with a peak average of 8.4 starting at age 24 (when he had his highest WAR season at 9.7)
Alex Rodriguez 102.4 WAR with a peak average of 8.0 starting at age 24 (****)

(*) Barry Bonds didn't have his first 10+ WAR season until he was 36. That is obviously very unusual, and the Occam's Razor answer to the question raised is that Bonds would be much lower on this list if not for PEDs. From age 21-35, Bonds amassed 111.1 WAR in 15 seasons, for an average of 7.4, which is a bit below MVP level. He averaged 7.3 WAR from age 29-35, after having reached the 9.0-9.9 level three times from age 25-28. His WAR looks pretty "normal" for an MVP-caliber player: he started off a bit slow, then played "lights out" for a short period of time in his prime years (when he won three MVP awards), then his WAR started to slide a bit as he got older, although he continued to play at an "almost MVP" level. But if we look at his WAR just before it zoomed up to unprecedented heights, it had dropped to 5.75 in his age 34-35 years. That's still an all-star level, but nothing like what came next. The next two seasons, age 36-37, his WAR soared to the 11.8-11.9 range. No other player in baseball history had WAR that high at those ages even once, much less twice!

(**) My "educated guess" is that if Bonds hadn't cheated and kept playing, his peak average WAR would have been 8.9 (the average of his seven best WAR years prior to age 36, since his WAR had peaked years before and was starting to slip considerably, as noted above). The 111.1 WAR estimated is the WAR he had accumulated prior to what seems like obvious cheating. I have no idea what his performance would have been like without PEDs, so I will stick with the last known good number. I think this little chart demonstrates that Bonds was still an all-time greatranking close to sluggers like Aaron, Pujols and Schmidt―but without PEDs he was not playing at the same exalted level as Ruth, Mays, Hornsby, Cobb, Williams, Trout, Gehrig, Wagner, Mantle, Musial and Collins.

(***) Alex Rodriguez seems to be a somewhat different case, because apparently he used PEDs all his career, or nearly all his career. It does seem interesting that A-Rod's WAR soared in 2000, which is around the time that Bonds' WAR also started to soar. So let's assume that A-Rod started cheating in 2000, which I believe he admitted (although his story has changed more than once).

(****) Prior to the 2000 season, Rodriguez had averaged 7.1 WAR per season, which would keep him off this list. But he was young and could have been expected to improve in his prime without cheating. To estimate some sort of reasonable WAR without PEDs, I took his actual average WAR (7.1) for his first four seasons, figured a jump up to MVP class for the next seven seasons (8.0 average), then estimated 18.0 WAR for his declining years. That makes my "wild guess" estimate 102.4.

I think the chart above tells us two very interesting things about Mike Trout:

(1) The average "peak period starting age" above is nearly 26 years old. Trout started younger than anyone else, at age 20, while the second-youngest starter, Ted Williams, missed five prime years due to military service. One of the 23-year-olds starters Willie Mays, also missed substantial playing time due to military service. Another, Eddie Collins, was a great player but never had another 10+ WAR season, and Mike Trout has already has two, and was well on his way to another in 2017, before he was injured. Babe Ruth was a slow starter because he was primarily a pitcher in his younger years. So Trout has quite a "jump" on everyone in the pack, and the statistics that follow on this page will bear that out.

(2) The data above suggests that superstars generally enter their "super prime" years around age 26, so it's very possible that we have yet to see the best of Mike Trout. Before he was injured (notes below), he was on pace for a 12-WAR season in 2017. That is Ruthian territory, as the chart above confirms. Ruth was the only player in baseball history who averaged 12 WAR for his seven best seasons. If Trout matches that, with the huge "jump" he has on the Bambino, he seems destined to become the GOAT, barring injuries or burnout. But even if Trout drops to the lowest "WAR rate" above, 8.4, because he accumulated more than 50 WAR so quickly, he would only have to play 13 more years to break Ruth's record. Of course averaging "only" 8.4 WAR is beyond most mortals, but it may not be beyond our newest baseball demigod. However, a more likely scenario is that Trout will average around 10 WAR for around seven seasons, then start to gradually slip at some point in his thirties. Could he still break Ruth's WAR record? Absolutely. If we add 70 WAR to Trout's estimated 56.5 career WAR at the end of the 2017 season, that gives him around 127, or about the same as Rogers Hornsby, at the still-young age of 32. That leaves Trout only 36 WAR short of breaking the record. If he played until age 40, he would only have to average 4 WAR per season, and that seems very do-able as long as he stays reasonably healthy. But what if Trout reaches his prime in his late twenties or early thirties, as did Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Albert Pujols, Honus Wagner, Nap Lajoie and Joe Morgan? Then all bets are off, and Ruth's record could fall much faster.

Will a Revamped Angels Lineup Help Mike Trout in 2018?

In the past (as you can see later on this page), I have complained bitterly about Angels lineups that have failed to protect Mike Trout. But with the addition of Justin Upton, Zack Cozart, Ian Kinsler and Shohei Ohtani, that seems likely to change in 2018. Andrelton Simmons has become a capable and dependable hitter. Albert Pujols has lost around 15 pounds, seems to be in better health, and may recover from the worst year of his storied career. Getting some offense from Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena, Martin Maldonado, Jefry Marte, Rene Rivera, Chris Young, Ryan Schimpf and/or Nolan Fontana would be a nice bonus.

So far, so good. Through the first 15 games of 2018, the Angels led all MLB in at-bats, runs, hits, homers, total bases, RBI, batting average (.294), on-base percentage (.347), slugging percentage (.479) and OPS (.826). The 2018 Angels, so far (knock on wood), remind me of the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, who were famously known as the Big Red Machine. The 1976 Reds led both leagues in every major offensive category. The Reds had five gold glove winners; the Angels now have five gold glove winners in Kinsler, Simmons, Maldonado, Calhoun and Pujols. And there are potential gold glove winners in Upton, Trout and Cozart. Like the Reds, the Angels have accomplished base stealers in Kinsler, Simmons, Upton and Trout. (And Ohtani has remarkable speed for his size.) Both teams featured members capable of playing multiple positions. Another similarity? The Reds had two outliers in Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, who redefined their positions. The Angels appear to have two outliers in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

Ooops, I spoke too soon. Trout has been beyond stellar. Simmons and Ohtani have been highly productive. Upton has been, at best, slightly above average according to OPS, but is no great shakes for a number three hitter. Pujols continues to drive in runs but otherwise is a below-average hitter and grounds into double plays at an alarming rate. He's the all-time worst in that regard, and is not getting any better in his advancing age. The rest of the lineup has not delivered. Calhoun was having one of the worst offensive seasons imaginable. Kinsler and Cozart have miserable batting averages and OPSes. For the most part there has been little offensive support for Trout. The 2018 Angels are an average hitting team, but only because of the high wattage performance of Trout. Replace him and the Angels would immediately sink toward the bottom of the team batting charts.

As for rumors about the Philadelphia Phillies acquiring Mike Trout in a trade ... well, they would have to trade their entire major league roster ... all their best prospects (if they have any left) ... the busts of Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts ... and the freakin' Mint and Liberty Bell!

Injury and Reactivation Notes

NOTE: Mike Trout was injured while sliding into second base on May 28, 2017. We adjusted his projected WAR for the 2017 season and have resumed our Trout "WAR Watch" now that he is back in action. The information on this page is kept up to date for anyone who has an interest in Trout's career and his meteoric climb on the WAR charts. It truly is something to behold, like watching Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays at the height of their powers!

INJURY UPDATE: As of the All-Star break, Mike Trout had played in only 47 games, yet still led the Angels in home runs (16), triples (2), intentional walks (10), batting average (.337), OBP (.461), slugging (.742), OPS (1.203), OPS+ (219), oWAR (3.4) and WAA (2.7). Trout was second in WAR (3.4) and walks (36), third in stolen bases (10), and fourth in doubles (14), runs (36), RBI (36) and total bases (121). For a full 162-game season, that would translate into 55 homers, 35 steals, 124 runs, 124 RBI and 417 total bases!

TROUT'S RETURN: When Mike Trout returned to action after the all-star game, despite having missed nearly half the season, he still had higher WAR for the 2017 season than stars like Buster Posey, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Cody Bellinger, Giancarlo Stanton, Manny Machado, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman. As of July 23, 2017, Trout ranked eighth in WAR in the AL, despite having 133 to 209 fewer at-bats than the players above him.

Mike Trout finished the 2017 season seventh in WAR (6.7), ahead of Jose Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Charlie Blackmon, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rendon and Justin Turner. Trout finished second only to Joey Votto in OBP, at .442. He finished in a virtual three-way tie with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge in slugging percentage, at .630. And if he had played a full season, it wouldn't have been a close race for the WAR title. Trout would have won it in a landslide. His projections for 162 games: 170 hits, 150 walks, 120 runs, 30 doubles, 5 triples, 44 home runs, 100 RBI and 30 steals with a 95% success rate!

Cumulative WAR through Completion of Age 24 Season

The names of active players appear in bold text.

(1) Mike Trout 48.5 (Already more than the career WAR of Hall-of-Famer superstars like Kiki Cuyler, Earle Combs, Chuck Klein, Hack Wilson, Jim Rice and Lou Brock!)
(2) Ty Cobb 46.7 (Cobb had 522 plate appearances by the end of his age 19 season, compared to only 135 for Trout, but Trout "leapfrogged" Cobb by being better sooner.)
Willie Mays (*) could have appeared here with 44.8 projected WAR if he hadn't missed nearly two years due to military service.
Ted Williams (*) could have appeared here with 44.8 projected WAR if he hadn't missed a year due to military service.
(3) Mickey Mantle 40.9 (Mantle is the player most like Trout in skills, and even in looks, but so far Trout is essentially an MVP season ahead in WAR.)    
(4) Alex Rodriguez 38.0    
(5) Ken Griffey Jr. 37.0
(6) Mel Ott 36.8
(7) Rogers Hornsby 36.1
(8) Jimmie Foxx 36.0
Jackie Robinson (*) may have appeared here with 35.3 projected WAR if he hadn't been a rookie at age 28, but this is the wildest of guesses.
(9) Arky Vaughn 34.3
(10) Ted Williams 34.2 (*)
(11) Al Kaline 33.3
Stan Musial (*) could have appeared here with 32.9 projected WAR if he hadn't missed a year due to military service.
Bryce Harper 32.9 (Projected at the end of his age 24 season, if Harper keeps up his torrid 2017 pace.)
(12) Eddie Matthews 31.5
(13) Johnny Bench 30.7
(14) Tris Speaker 30.1
(15) Hank Aaron 29.9
(16) Frank Robinson 29.7
(17) Albert Pujols 29.2
(18) Rickey Henderson and Eddie Collins 28.1
(19) Cal Ripken 27.9
(20) Joe DiMaggio 26.3 (**)
Babe Ruth 20.1 (***)

According to the stats above, Mike Trout is off to the fastest start in baseball history! He also has the highest OPS among active major league baseball players, ahead of superstars like Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Braun. Trout's career OPS+, which is still climbing, is already higher than that of legendary Hall-of-Famers such as Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Al Simmons, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

(*) Ted Williams did not play his age 24 season because he was serving in the U.S. military during WWII. If he had played and matched his 10.6 WAR of the two previous seasons, he would have 44.8 WAR to rank third, after Trout and Cobb. Stan Musial and Willie Mays also missed years prior to age 25, due to military service. Mays missed one full year and most of another. In an interesting synchronicity, Mays also had a 10.6 WAR season (his when he returned), and when I did my projections, I came up with exactly the same WAR for Williams and Mays! Then when I did projections for Musial and Bryce Harper, I again came up with exactly the same projected WAR! Kinda eerie, in a good way. Jackie Robinson got a very late start, due to racial discrimination that made him a rookie at age 28. For Robinson, I used his actual WAR for his first five seasons.

(**) Joe DiMaggio missed three years in his prime, due to military service during WWII. But his service years were after his age 24 season and do not affect the table above.

(***) Babe Ruth was a "slow starter" in terms of WAR because he was a pitcher through his age 22 season, then split his time between pitching, first and the outfield during his age 23 season. He did not become a full-time hitter until his age 24 season, when he immediately went on the "WARpath."

As great as Joey Votto, Ryan Braun and Buster Posey have been, Mike Trout has already passed them in career WAR. And if 2017 is a typical "Troutian" year, by season's end, at age 25, Trout will have passed Hall-of-Fame legends like Yogi Berra, Hank Greenberg, George Sisler, Bill Terry, Joe Medwick ... and, at opposite ends of the size spectrum, Wee Willie Keeler and hulking Willie Stargell! If you want to keep an eye on things, please refer to the TROUT WATCH at the bottom of this page. It shows each "leap" Trout makes over the big fish in the "WAR Pond."

Cumulative WAR through Completion of Age 25 Season

Mike Trout has been so good at such a young age that he recently joined an elite club: players with 50 or more career WAR in their age 25 season.

Ty Cobb 55.8
Mike Trout 55.1 (after missing a third of his age 25 season due to an injury)
Mickey Mantle 52.1

WAR Comparisons, Peak Years, Ranked by "WAR Floor" (Lowest Seasonal WAR During Peak Period)

How consistently great has Mike Trout been? Well, since he became a full-time player, in his "worst season" he had 115 runs, 111 RBI, 39 doubles, 9 triples, 36 homers, 83 walks, 338 total bases, 16 stolen bases with an 89% success rate, and slugged .561 with a .938 OPS! That is a career year for virtually anyone else!

Mike Trout, age 20-24, 7.9 to 10.8 (with ~ 12.1 projected at Trout's 2017 pace before being injured)
Willie Mays, age 23-35, 7.6 to 11.2
Lou Gehrig, age 23-34, 6.8 to 11.8
Eddie Collins, age 22-29, 6.5 to 10.5
Babe Ruth, age 24-29, 6.3 to 14.1 (**)
Mickey Mantle, age 22-29, 6.3 to 11.3
Barry Bonds, age 23-33, 6.2 to 9.9 (here again, Bonds was great but not in the highest stratosphere until he began using PEDs around age 34)
Mike Schmidt, age 24-34, 6.2 to 9.7
Hank Aaron, age 21-35, 6.2 to 9.4
Wade Boggs, age 25-31, 6.2 to 9.1
Tris Speaker, age 21-29, 6.1 to 10.1
Rickey Henderson, age 21-27, 6.0 to 9.9
Honus Wagner, age 25-35, 5.8 to 11.5
Ty Cobb, age 20-31, 5.6 to 11.3
Albert Pujols, age 21-30, 5.5 to 9.7
Met Ott, age 20-29, 5.5 to 8.9
Rogers Hornsby, age 21-29, 5.4 to 12.1
Alex Rodriguez, age 20-32, 4.7 to 10.4 (if he hadn't used PEDs most or all his career, Rodriguez might not appear in this list)
Stan Musial, age 22-36, 4.6 to 11.1
Jimmie Foxx, age 21-27, 4.6 to 10.5
Frank Robinson, age 20-30, 4.3 to 8.7
Ken Griffey Jr., age 21-28, 3.3 to 9.7

According to the stats above, Mike Trout has a higher "floor" than these all-time greats because his lowest full-year WAR was MVP-class at 7.9. A season with WAR 8.0 or higher is generally considered to be an MVP-candidate season, and Trout has had 7.9 WAR or higher in every full season he's played. (To confirm the WAR Level, Trout has finished first or second in the MVP voting for every full season he's played.) Trout has been consistently great. One writer described Trout's career so far as "consistent excellence" compared to the ups and downs of Bryce Harper, his closest active peer. Another writer described Trout as "ruthlessly excellent" with echoes of Babe Ruth. Trout has also been called "freakishly good." The closest player in year-to-year consistency to Trout was Willie Mays, but his prime began three years later than Trout's, age-wise. In MLB history, there has never been a player who had five straight MVP-caliber years, who started as young as Mike Trout and was as consistently great.

(**) Babe Ruth only played 110 games in 1922, due to a suspension for barnstorming and did not have one of his best seasons when he returned to action, ending up with 6.3 WAR. Ruth's weight ballooned to 255 pounds in 1925, and he only played 98 games during his "bellyache" season, which interrupted a string of superlative seasons from 1923-1932. If not for those two sub-par years, Ruth would top this chart. If we ignored his "real war" years, Ted Williams would top this chart with a "WAR floor" of 8.5 from age 22 to 30.

So far, in every full season he's played, Trout's OPS+ has never dropped below third in MLB. That is truly remarkable "consistency of excellence."

Trout is a member of a very exclusive list of players who won two MVP awards before their 25th birthdays. The others are Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle and Johnny Bench.

By the end of the 2017 season, barring injuries, Trout should head a very rare list of players with 50+ WAR by their 25th birthdays. Second and third on the list would be Ty Cobb (55.8 WAR) and Mickey Mantle (52.1 WAR). Ted Williams would undoubtedly be on this list, if not for his military service during WWII.

Mike Trout is the only MLB player to have a 10.8 or higher WAR season at age 20. His closest competitors in this regard are Mantle and Lou Gehrig, who both did it at age 24.

Active Players Ranked by OPS+

How does Mike Trout compare to the best active players (those in the Top 100 of all time), ranked by OPS+?

(#96) Andrew McCutcheon and Freddie Freeman (137 OPS+) comparable to Ken Griffey Jr., George Brett
(#89) Buster Posey (138 OPS+) comparable to Bill Terry, Home Run Baker
(#83) Josh Donaldson (139 OPS+) comparable to Reggie Jackson, Norm Cash
(#75) Bryce Harper and Ryan Braun (140 OPS+) comparable to Duke Snider, Alex Rogriguez
(#69) David Ortiz (141 OPS+) comparable to Babe Herman, Chipper Jones, Larry Walker
(#61) Giancarlo Stanton (142 OPS+) comparable to Cap Anson, Eddie Collins, Mike Piazza
(#41) Paul Goldschmidt (148 OPS+) comparable to Harry Heilmann, Mike Schmidt, Willie Stargell
(#26) Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera (154 OPS+) comparable to Honus Wagner, Frank Robinson
(#18) Joey Votto (157 OPS+) comparable to Tris Speaker, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron
(#6) Mike Trout (174) comparable to Mickey Mantle and Rogers Hornsby; higher than Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, et al.

The only players who rank above Mike Trout in career OPS+ are Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby. Now of course some of the active players above may slip in the all-time rankings as they age, especially if they play several seasons with diminished skills. But on the other hand, some players may improve their stats before they start slipping. So far, Mike Trout's OPS+ has been going up, approaching the Ruthian regions.

Will Mike Trout Finish as the Greatest Centerfielder of All Time ... or is he ALREADY the GREATEST?

If Mike Trout keeps up his torrid 2017 "WARpath," he should end his age 25 season with around 60-62 career WAR. If he has another "average" Trout season in 2018, by the end of his age 26 season, he will have passed EVERY hall-of-fame centerfielder in major league baseball history, except for the following immortals: Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr., and Joe DiMaggio. But how long can they avoid Trout's relentless "WAR-slought"? In any case, at the still-tender age of 25, Trout will already be one of the seven greatest centerfielders of all time, according to WAR. But according to OPS+, Trout is already number one, at 174, tied with Mickey Mantle. A plus sign indicates a hall-of-fame centerfielder. Names in bold are active players.

Player (years) WAR

Mike Trout (15) 158 (projected after 15 seasons; see the WAR Chart for more details)
Willie Mays+ (22) 156.3 Mike Trout should pass his 20th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 34. Willie Mays, the "Say Hey Kid," was the ultimate phenom ... before Mike Trout.
Ty Cobb+ (24) 151.1 Mike Trout should pass his 19th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 32. Ty Cobb's .366 career batting average is the highest of all time.
Tris Speaker+ (22) 133.9 Mike Trout should pass his 18th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 32. Tris Speaker may be the "old-timer" closest to Mike Trout in all-around skills.
Mickey Mantle+ (18) 110.2 ---------------------  Mike Trout should pass his 17th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 30. Mickey Mantle hit 536 homers with a stellar 177 OPS+.
Ken Griffey Jr.+ (22) 83.6 Mike Trout should pass his 16th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 27. Ken Griffey Jr. was a phenom like Trout, and hit 630 homers with 1,836 RBI.
Joe DiMaggio+ (13) 78.1 Mike Trout should pass his 15th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 27. Joe DiMaggio, one of the immortals, slugged .579 with a 155 OPS+.
Carlos Beltran (20) 69.9 Carlos Beltran has been damn good, but he averaged 3.5 WAR per year, while Mike Trout may be averaging triple that by age 26-27.
Duke Snider+ (18) 66.5 Mike Trout should pass his 14th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 26. Duke Snider slugged .540 for his career with a 140 OPS+.
Andre Dawson+ (21) 64.5 Mike Trout should pass his 13th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 26. Andre Dawson hit 438 homers with 1,591 RBI, slugging .482.
Richie Ashburn+ (15) 63.6 Mike Trout should pass his 12th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 26. Richie Ashburn hit .308 with 2,574 hits.
Billy Hamilton+ (14) 63.3 Mike Trout should pass his 11th hall-of-fame centerfielder around age 26. Billy Hamilton hit .344 with a 141 OPS+ and 914 stolen bases.
Max Carey+ (20) 53.9 Mike Trout should pass his tenth hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 25. Max Carey led the NL in stolen bases ten times and scored 1,545 runs.
Mike Trout (6) 51.9 actual as of May 25, 2017
Kirby Puckett+ (12) 50.9 Mike Trout passes his ninth hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 25. Kirby Puckett hit .318 for his career and played in ten consecutive All-Star games.
Larry Doby+ (13) 49.5 Mike Trout passes his eighth hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 25. Larry Doby had a stellar 136 OPS+ for his career.
Earl Averill+ (13) 48.0 Mike Trout passes his seventh hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 24. Earl Averill slugged .534 with a 133 OPS+ for his career.
Edd Roush+ (18) 45.2 Mike Trout passes his sixth hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 24. Edd Roush was a career .323 hitter.  
Curtis Granderson (14) 43.8 Curtis Granderson has had a nice career, but at age 36 his WAR is negative.
Hugh Duffy+ (17) 42.9 Mike Trout passes his fifth hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 24. Hugh Duffy was a career .326 hitter.  
Earle Combs+ (12) 42.5 Mike Trout passes his fourth hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 24. Earle Combs was a career .325 hitter.  
Hack Wilson+ (12) 38.8 Mike Trout passes his third hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 24. Hack Wilson set the all-time record with 191 RBI in 1930, when he smashed 56 homers.
Andrew McCutcheon (9) 36.8 Andrew McCutcheon was the NL MVP in 2013 and finished in the top five three other times, but his WAR is currently negative at age 30.
Lloyd Waner+ (18) 24.1 Mike Trout passes his second hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 22. Waner hit .316 for his career, with 2,459 hits.
Ned Hanlon+ (13) 18.0 Mike Trout passes his first hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 21.

Player OPS+

Mike Trout 174
Mickey Mantle+ 172
Ty Cobb+ 168
Tris Speaker+ 157
Willie Mays+ 156
Joe DiMaggio+ 155
Hack Wilson+ 144
Billy Hamilton+ 141
Duke Snider+ 140
Ken Griffy Jr.+ 136
Larry Doby+ 136
Andrew McCutcheon 135
Earl Averill+ 133
Josh Hamilton 129
Edd Roush+ 126
Earle Combs+ 125
Matt Kemp 125
Kirby Puckett+ 124
Hugh Duffy+ 123
Carlos Beltran 120

Centerfielders ranked by WAR7 (peak WAR for a player's top 7 seasons): Mike Trout is already number 6, despite the handicap of not yet having played 7 full seasons! Once Trout has played 7 full seasons, he will probably be at the top of this ranking, or very close. Right now he trails only Griffey, Speaker, Mantle, Cobb and Mays (#1). Trout is already ahead of 15 of 20 hall-of-fame centerfielders, including Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider.

Centerfielders ranked by JAWS (which also factors in a player's top 7 seasons): Mike Trout is already number 15, despite the same handicap described above. By the end of the 2017 season, Trout will probably be in the top 7 with DiMaggio, Griffey, Speaker, Mantle, Cobb and Mays.

Centerfielders ranked by OBP: Mike Trout is already number 4, at .408. But his OBP is going up (currently .466 in 2017), and he is likely to make up ground on Mickey Mantle, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb and Billy Hamilton.

Centerfielders ranked by Slugging Percentage: Mike Trout is number 2 at .567, behind only DiMaggio at .579.

Centerfielders ranked by OPS: Mike Trout is currently number 3 at .975, but is in a virtual tie with Mantle and DiMaggio at .977.

Top 20 All-Time OPS+ Regardless of Position (not including players prior to 1900) ...

Babe Ruth+ 206
Ted Williams+ 190
Barry Bonds 182 ---------- Inflated by cheating?
Lou Gehrig+ 179
Rogers Hornsby+ 175
Mike Trout 174
Mickey Mantle+ 172
Shoeless Joe Jackson 170
Ty Cobb+ 168
Jimmie Foxx+ 163
Mark McGwire 163 ---------- Inflated by cheating?
Stan Musial+ 159
Hank Greenberg+ 158
Johnny Mize+ 158
Tris Speaker+ 157
Joey Votto 157
Dick Allen 156 ---------- Dick Allen has the OPS+ to be in the Hall of Fame, but he only played 140+ games in six seasons, so his other stats (runs, RBI, homers, etc.) fall short.
Willie Mays+ 156
Frank Thomas+ 156
Hank Aaron+ 155
Joe DiMaggio+ 155
Mel Ott+ 155
Miguel Cabrera 155
Albert Pujols 155


Top 20 All-Time OPS Regardless of Position (not including players prior to 1900) ...

Babe Ruth 1.1636 ------------- Trout's OPS in 2017 is 1.171, higher than Ruth's career average.
Ted Williams 1.1155
Lou Gehrig 1.0798
Barry Bonds 1.0512 ----------- Bonds' OPS shot up at age 36, when we expect it to be going down.
Jimmie Foxx 1.0376
Hank Greenberg 1.0169
Rogers Hornsby 1.0103
Manny Ramirez .9960 ---------- Ramirez was suspended for using PEDs.
Mark McGwire .9823 ---------- McGwire admitted using PEDs for a decade.
Mark Trout .9776 --------------- Trout's OPS is still going up; will he rival the top seven in this list soon?
Mickey Mantle .9773
Joe DiMaggio .9771
Stan Musial .9757
Frank Thomas .9740
Larry Walker .9654 ---------- Aided by Colorado's thinner air?
Joey Votto .9645
Johnny Mize .9591
Jim Thome .9560
Todd Helton .9531 ---------- Aided by Colorado's thinner air?
Albert Pujols .9527 ---------- Miguel Cabrera is just a few points behind Pujols as they duel to see who finishes highest in the eternal ranks.

Other Age 24 Comparisons to the All-Time Greats

(#1) Mike Trout 48.5 WAR ~ Ty Cobb 46.7
(#1) Mike Trout 784 strikeouts ~ Alex Rodriguez 616
(#2) Mike Trout 154.5 power/speed ~ Alex Rodriguez 156.1
(#2) Mike Trout  29.6 adjusted batting wins ~ Ty Cobb 33.6 / Ted Williams 29.2
(#2) Mike Trout 30.5 adjusted batting runs  ~ Ted Williams 30.7
(#3) Mike Trout 731 runs created  ~ Jimmie Foxx 734
(#3) Mike Trout 36 sacrifice flies ~ Johnny Bench 41
(#4) Mike Trout 170 OPS+ ~ Lou Gehrig 171
(#4) Mike Trout 1,442 times on base ~ Mickey Mantle 1,436
(#5) Mike Trout 380 extra base hits  ~ Ken Griffey Jr. 385
(#5) Mike Trout 477 walks ~ Eddie Matthews 471
(#6) Mike Trout 1,670 total base ~ Cobb 1,687 / Mantle 1,648
(#7) Mike Trout 168 home runs ~ Griffey 172 / Mantle 173 / Foxx 174 / Ott 176
(#8) Mike Trout 784 offensive win percentage ~ Rogers Hornsby .770
(#9) Mike Trout 600 runs ~ Foxx 612 / Cobb 618
(#9) Mike Trout .963 OPS ~ Stan Musial .962
(#9) Mike Trout 3,558 plate appearance ~ Ken Griffey Jr. 3,606

Hey, this Mike Trout fellow is pretty damned special, and in very good (nay, exalted) company! Look at the team we could put together: (C) Johnny Bench, (1B) Lou Gehrig, (2B) Rogers Hornsby, (SS) Alex Rodriguez, (3B) Jimmie Foxx, (RF) Mike Trout, (CF) Mickey Mantle, (LF) Ted Williams, (DH) Stan Musial!

Is Mike Trout Still Improving?


One might suggest that Trout will have a hard time matching the highest WAR seasons of his all-time peers, and thus may drop off in comparisons. But in 2017 after 25 games, Trout already had 2.1 WAR. If he keeps that up, he would end the year with 13.6 WAR. Only Babe Ruth topped 13 WAR for a season, and then only once, in 1923. So Mike Trout is approaching the heavenly realms, if he can keep up his current pace. And even if Trout keeps having "average" years (for him) of 8-11 WAR, he will still have a chance to break Babe Ruth's record for career WAR if he stays healthy and productive through age 34. Of course there is a LONG way to go, but it certainly seems possible that Trout will be the G.O.A.T. when all is said and done.

Update: As of May 25, 2017, Trout had a .347/.466/.760/.1.226 slash line with the fourth-highest OPS+ (233) since World War II. This is a stratospheric level only reached since 1900 by Barry Bonds (but with a big asterisk), Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. And really, c'mon folks, we know that Barry Bonds used human growth hormone (HGH) and steroids to the extent that in his thirties his head GREW BIGGER and he needed larger baseball cap as a result. His shoe size also increased. So those four "unbelievable" seasons by Bonds from age 36-39 were, indeed, too good to be true. If Trout keeps it up, he will be in the highest baseball clouds, along with Ruth and Williams.

Can Trout keep it up? Can he stay healthy? Only time will tell, but it does seem that Mike Trout is still improving as he enters his prime years. For instance, after 50 games of the 2017 season, Mike Trout was leading the AL in batting average, home runs, walks, intentional walks, slugging percentage, OBP, OPS, OPS+, WAR and total bases. He was second in the AL in runs, fourth in steals and RBI, fifth in doubles and triples, and tenth in hits, despite being walked so much. In other words, he was in the top five of every major offensive category other than hits, and there is very good reason for his hits being slightly down. Trout was on pace to hit .344 with around 50  homers, 30 steals, 100 walks, 110 runs and 115 RBI. And that is with a very weak supporting cast, as I discuss below ...

Supporting Casts

Please note that this section was written before the Angels acquired Justin Upton at the end of August 2017. There is an "update" at the end of this section, as things had improved a bit by August 2017, even before the big trade.

Heaven knows what Trout could do if the hitters behind him struck fear in pitchers' hearts, as Lou Gehrig did for Babe Ruth, as Willie McCovey did for Willie Mays, and as Eddie Mathews did for Hank Aaron. 

I think it is interesting and important to note the supporting casts of the greatest hitters of all time, with the names of hall-of-famers bolded below. Ted Williams was normally surrounded by superior hitters. The Yankees fell out of first place in 1924 and actually had a losing season in 1925, with Babe Ruth hitting an all-too-mortal .290 and slugging well below his standards at .543. The Yankees did not become "Murderers' Row" until they were joined by future hall-of-famers Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs and Tony Lazzeri. In 1955, when Yogi Berra and Bill Skowron had sub-par years, Mickey Mantle's offensive output also dropped. In 1960 when the Yankees added Roger Maris and Skowron had a better year, Mantle's numbers went back up into the stratosphere. Mantle's best years coincided with Roger Maris's best years. When Maris had his season for the ages, hitting 61 homers in 1961, Mantle had his best year. And it obviously helped that Elston Howard raised his OPS to 153 that same year. 

So supporting casts really do matter. Runners on base ahead of a batter and formidable bats following make a star hitter more productive. What Trout has accomplished on a team of "challenged" hitters is all the more remarkable, when we consider the rosters below ...

Babe Ruth played with Lou Gehrig, Home Run Baker, Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, Leo Durocher, Joe Sewell, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig, Ben Chapman, Frankie Crossetti, Wally Pipp
Ted Williams
played with Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Vern Stephens, George Kell, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Birdie Tebbetts, Jackie Jensen, Frank Malzone, Pete Runnels, Jimmy Piersall
Mickey Mantle played with Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Johnny Mize, Phil Rizzuto, Enos Slaughter, Bill Skowron, Elston Howard, Billy Martin, Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Hank Bauer, Gil McDougald
Willie Mays played with Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Monte Irvin, Al Dark, Jim Ray Hart, Hank Thompson, Bobby Thompson, Bobby Bonds, Felipe Alou, Matty Alou, Jesus Alou, Hank Sauer
Mike Trout has played with an aging Albert Pujols, a largely ineffective Josh Hamilton, Kole Calhoun, C. J. Cron, Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Torri Hunter, David Freese, Yunnel Escobar

As bad as Trout's supporting cast has been, some of the less-bad names only played with him for a season or two: for instance, Hamilton, Trumbo, Hunter and Freese. Trumbo had only one 100 RBI season for the Angels, and Hunter drove in 92 in his one season as Trout's teammate. Other than Pujols, the Angels have not had a consistent RBI man, and Pujols has been slipping, with his batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS heading south. To illustrate the problem, here are the highest OPS+ and RBI of Trout's best supporting hitters during their time together, compared to other supporting casts ...

Albert Pujols (138/119), Torri Hunter (129/92), Kole Calhoun (123/83), Howie Kendrick (118/75), Josh Hamilton (115/79), C. J. Cron (115/69), Mark Trumbo (109/100), David Freese (109/56), Erick Aybar (107/68)
Lou Gehrig (220/185), Home Run Baker (173/130), Tony Lazzeri (159/121), Bill Dickey (158/133), Earle Combs (158/82), Joe Sewell (146/109), Bob Meusel (135/134), Ben Chapman (135/122), Wally Pipp (127/110)
Jimmie Foxx (207/175), Bobby Doerr (165/120), Jackie Jensen (148/122), Vern Stephens (141/159), Joe Cronin (138/126), George Kell (136/101), Dom DiMaggio (123/87), Frank Malzone (105/103)
Joe DiMaggio (184/167), Johnny Mize (178/138), Roger Maris (167/141), Enos Slaughter (156/130), Elston Howard (153/91), Bill Skowron (145/91), Yogi Berra (142/125), Hank Bauer (132/84), Phil Rizzuto (122/66)
Willie McCovey (209/126), Orlando Cepeda (165/142), Monte Irvin (147/121)
, Jim Ray Hart (151/99), Hank Thompson (146/86), Bobby Bonds (144/102), Felipe Alou (132/98), Hank Sauer (125/76)

The figures above represent the best offensive seasons by Trout's teammates, not the typical results. Take, for example, the Angels who played on 5/16/2017. At that point in time, the average OPS for all MLB was .734. Other than Trout, not a single Angel qualified as above average, or even as average. In fact, most of the Angel starters were around 100 points below average. To illustrate just how weak the rest of the Angels have been in 2017 offensively, if we removed Trout from the team as of 5/16/2017 they would have:

Yunel Escobar, 74th in batting average (.272)
Martin Maldonado, 85th in WAR (.8)
Cameron Maybin, 97th in OBP (.328)
Yunel Escobar, 106th in slugging percentage (.411)
Yunel Escobar, 111th in OPS (.735)

Those are stunning bad offensive statistics! The only major offensive "positive" that I can see for the Angels, other than Trout's phenomenal output in the midst of so much mediocrity, is Albert Pujols' preternatural ability to drive in runs without hitting well otherwise. Somehow, Pujols is on track to drive in 100+ runs again despite slashing .238/.276/.363/.639. I'm not sure how he does it, but the man does have a knack for driving in runs, rain or shine. But other than Trout's overall excellence and Pujols knocking in runs, the Angels have been extremely "challenged" offensively. This hardly seems fair to Mike Trout, and one can only hope that he will get more support from his teammates in the near future. If he does, his numbers could be even better. Has there ever been a truly great hitter who had a weaker supporting cast? If there was, I haven't found him yet. That makes Trout's offensive production seem all the more amazing.

In mid-May 2017, here is how the Angels ranked (or failed to rank) in OPS, other than Mike Trout ...

Angels: Trout #1 (no other Angels player in the top 100)
Braves: Freeman #2, Kemp #13, Markaris #86, Inciarte #92, Phillips #100
Nationals: Zimmerman #3, Harper #4, Murphy #21, Werth #36, Rendon #70
Yankees: Judge #5, Castro #7, Holiday #30, Gardner #31, Ellsbury #83
Brewers: Thames #6, Shaw #47, Perez #61, Santana #63, Broxton #87
Mets: Conforto #7, Cespedes #16, Bruce #49, Duda #73, Walker #99
Twins: Sano #8, Mauer #87, Kepler #94, Dozier #104
Reds: Cozart #9, Votto #14, Suarez #28, Schebler #37, Duvall #74, Hamilton #92
Giants: Posey #10, Belt #54, Crawford #96
Rockies: Reynolds #11, Arenado #18, Blackmon #19, LeMahieu #92
Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt #12, Lamb #24, Peralta #39, Owings #45, Drury #52, Tomas #56, Pollock #78
Athletics: Alonso #15, Davis #78, Lowrie #89, Healy #97, Plouffe #101
Phillies: Altherr #15, Hernandez #80, Joseph #86, Galvis #99
Rays: Dickerson #16, Morrison #46, Souza #32, Longoria #106
Cardinals:  Gyorko #17, Carpenter #40, Fowler #58, Wong #68, Molina #88, Diaz #89
Mariners: Cruz #20, Cano #29, Segura #32
Dodgers: Turner #22, Seager #41, Grandal #59, Puig #102
Marlins: Ozuna #23, Bour #38, Stanton #50, Realmuto #76, Yelich #95
White Sox: Garcia #25, Abreu #64, Garcia #67
Cubs: Bryant #26, Rizzo #95, Baez #100, Zobrist #105
Pirates: Frazier #30, Bell #43, Freese #61, Harrison #66
Astros: Altuve #33, Correa #48, Rddick #68, Springer #84
Padres: Myers #34, Cordoba #60, Margot #82
Blue Jays: Smoak #35, Pillar #49, Bautista #96, Morales #102
Orioles: Davis #37, Schoop #75, Mochado #99, Jones #103
Royals: Perez #38, Hosmer #69, Moustaka #82
Red Sox: Betts #39, Bogaerts #55, Ramirez #75, Moreland #77
Indians: Lindor #42, Ramirez #51, Brantley #60
Tigers: Upton #44, Martinez #76, Cabrera #76
Rangers: Gallo #63, Mazara #86, Choo #92, Andrus #95, Gomez #98

The figures above tell the sad tale for the Angels, aside from the excellence of Mike Trout. The second-best hitter on the Angels, according to OPS, is Yunnel Escobar, at a distant #107 and a mediocre .735. No other team in MLB has such a disparity between its best and second-best hitters. All other MLB teams have at least three hitters in the top 100. There is a bit of "crossover" in the figures above, as I "merged" two sets of figures from the month of May. But I think my main point is valid: every team other than the Angels had three of more hitters who were in the top 100 for OPS, at some time in May 2017. The Angels had Mike Trout, followed by eight below-average hitters, no matter which other players they fielded. Try to imagine what sort of stats Mike Trout could generate, if he were being protected in the lineup by Mike Kemp, Bryce Harper, Joey Votto, Butch Posey, Aaron Judge, Eric Thames, Michael Conforto, et al. But he obviously isn't. And that makes his offensive production all the more impressive, because he is largely doing it on his own.

Update: As of May 25, 2017, Mike Trout has mostly batted third for the Angels. The Angels' cleanup hitters are slashing .202/.269/.337, the majors' worst OPS for that spot in the lineup. The Angels' No. 5 hitters are slashing .217/.309/.311, the worst in the American League, and their No. 6 hitters are slashing .191/.265/.279, worst in the majors.

Mike Trout really does appear to be on an island, offensively, which explains why he leads the AL in both walks and intentional walks. To further demonstrate the problem, I took a random day (May 26, 2017) and created a simple "litmus test" using the OPS of the second-best hitter on the Angels, which happened to be .725 (below the MLB average and dropping). How many players who project to have 200 or more at-bats on each team are better than the second-best Angels hitter? Here's what I came up with:

Angels (1) Trout
Giants (3) Posey, Belt, Crawford
Cards, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Rays, Tigers, Twins (4)
Athletics, Braves, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Rangers, White Sox (5)
Astros, Brewers, Blue Jays, Nationals, Pirates, Reds, Red Sox, Rockies, Royals (6)
Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Indians, Yankees (7)

In other words, every other major league baseball star has at least two above-average hitters to support him ... except Mike Trout. That is why he is walking so much―he lacks support and protection. If he had more support and protection, what could he do? One can only hope and pray that we get to see what Mike Trout can do with some above-average bats to back him up.

Update: As of August 13, 2017, things have improved somewhat for Trout's supporting cast. Trout has a stratospheric 214 OPS+ that is the best in the big leagues by a YUGE margin. Andrelton Simmons is having a fantastic overall season and now has a commendable 123 OPS+, slashing .305/.359/.464/.823 with 28 doubles, 12 homers and 199 total bases. Yunel Escobar is around the MLB average with a 99 OPS+. Albert Pujols has a dismal 75 OPS+ but has managed to hit 17 homers and produce a team-leading 70 RBI. Cameron Maybin has 52 runs and is 25-5 on steals. Kole Calhoun has a not-so-good OPS+ of 88, but at least has 13 homers, 52 runs and 47 RBI. But WAR tells us that things are less than angelic in halo land. Trout and Simmons are superstars, according to WAR. Martin Maldonado and Cameron Maybin could reach the "starter" level by the end of the year (i.e., 2.0 WAR or higher). For everyone else, so far it looks like a "nothing burger."

Update: As of August 31, 2017, things are looking up a wee bit (at least considering the prior dismal depths). C. J. Cron has clawed his way to a slightly-above-average .771 OPS and 106 OPS+. But Andrelton Simmons has slipped a bit, to a .787 OPS and 111 OPS+. Still, considering his exceptional defense, one cannot complain. The really BIG news, of course, is the acquisition of all-star left fielder Justin Upton via trade. Upton is a top-15-caliber slugger, comparable in WAR to Aaron Judge, Charlie Blackmon, Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rizzo and Mookie Betts. Pitchers will have to think twice about pitching around Trout, with Upton hitting behind him.


G.O.A.T.?

Is Mike Trout on course to become the G.O.A.T.? He already has two MVP awards, and has led the AL in WAR for five consecutive years. Hell, he has already surpassed 30+ members of the Hall of Fame in career WAR, including Lou Brock, Roy Campanella, Orlando Cepeda, Earle Combs, Kiki Cuyler, Dizzy Dean, Lary Doby, Nellie Fox, Ralph Kiner, Chuck Klein, Sandy Koufax, Tony Lazzeri, Bob Lemon, Jim Rice, Red Schoendienst, Sam Thompson, Pie Traynor and Hack Wilson. And sometime in 2017, Trout will have surpassed the career WAR of each the Hall-of-Fame double-play combination of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance.

Mike Trout is currently in a very select group of major league baseball immortals with career slugging percentages between .5591 and .5545. They include Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron.

Is Mike Trout the new Mickey Mantle, or is he potentially even better? Here are parallels between Trout and Mantle:

They both turned pro at age 17.
The both debuted as major league players as teenagers, at age 19.
They both played shortstop, then switched to center field.
They both shared a rare combination of speed, power, athleticism and defensive ability.
They were both all-stars in five of their first six seasons.
They both had their first 100 RBI season in their fourth years.
They both led the AL in runs scored for three consecutive years, a rare feat only matched by immortals Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins and Ted Williams.
Their age 20-24 stats for batting average/homers/runs are almost identical: Trout .310/163/580 and Mantle .313/160/581. Mantle batted three points higher; Trout had three more homers. It's a dead heat.
Through age 24, Mickey Mantle had 1,648 total bases and Mike Trout had 1,622.
Through age 24, Mickey Mantle had 710 runs created and Mike Trout had 721.
Through age 24, Mike Trout had a .559 career slugging percentage; Mickey Mantle had a career .557 slugging percentage.
OPS+ helps compare hitters from different eras. At age 25, Trout had a career 172 OPS+, which exactly matches Mantle's career 172 OPS+. That puts them both in the top ten of all time, in another dead heat.
In his age 25 season, Mickey Mantle hit .365 with a 221 OPS+. So far in his age 25 season, as of March 29, 2017, Mike Trout is hitting .355 with a 220 OPS+.
Mickey Mantle was named after Hall-of-Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane, who was called "Mike" by his family and friends.
Mickey Mantle was called "The Commerce Comet" and Mike Trout is called "The Millville Meteor."
Hell, they even look like twins!

Mike Trout compared to Mickey Mantle, through their first six seasons:

              G       AB         R      H      2B    3B     HR    RBI    BA    OB%    SLG%   OPS+    SB     SB%    FLD%   MVP   WAR
Trout      811   2,997   600   917   175    37    168    497    .306   .405     .557        170       143     .836     .992            2     48.5
Mantle    808   2,944   642   907   136    43    173    575    .308   .412     .570        166         43     .729     .980            1     40.9

Mantle has an edge in power and run production, while Trout has a decided edge in stolen bases and fielding percentage. However, Mantle's edge in run production can be at least partially attributed to his playing with teammates who were better offensively than Trout's.

There are reasons to believe that Mike Trout could exceed Mickey Mantle's accomplishments: (1) Trout is a more productive and efficient base stealer. (2) Trout's career fielding percentage is considerably higher than Mantle's. (3) Trout has accomplished as much playing on lesser teams than Mantle's Yankees; if Trout's teammates improve that will give him a boost. (4) Mantle did not have to contend with the quantity and quality of modern relief pitchers; he was able to feast on weakening starters in the later innings. (5) Trout is facing better competition due to the presence of more black and Hispanic players. (6) Mantle had injury and drinking problems that shortened his career; his last superior season was at age 32. If Trout can remain productive longer than Mantle, the sky seems to be the limit for him.

Mike Trout Projections: Is He Getting Better?

In 2016, Mike Trout led the AL in runs (123), runs created (148), walks (116), times on base (300), OBP (.441), WAR (10.5), Offensive WAR (9.9), OPS+ (174), WPA (6.5), offensive win percentage (.800), adjusted batting runs (65), adjusted batting wins (6.2), power-speed (29.5), base-out runs added (73.16), base-out wins added (7.2), and situational wins added (6.6). He was second in OPS (.991) and steals (30), third in intentional walks (12), fourth in slugging (.550), fifth in batting average (.315), ninth in stolen base percentage (.8108), and tenth in triples (5). His batting average, OBP, OPS, OPS+ and WAR were all higher in 2016 than his six-year career averages. If Trout

Early in 2017, Mike Trout's batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.710), OPS (1.134) and OPS+ (220) are all career highs. So it seems safe to say that Trout is still improving, and he is building on the greatest "base" in the history of major league baseball!

Mike Trout averaged 116 runs per season over his first five full years. If he keeps that up for 20 years, he would have 2,320 runs, passing Rickey Henderson (2,295) for first all-time.
Mike Trout averaged 178 hits per season over his first five full years.  If he keeps that up for 20 years, he would have 3,560 hits, which would rank fifth all-time after Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.
If Mike Trout were to play the same number of years as Pete Rose (24), and kept up the same pace, he would finish with 4,272 hits, breaking Rose's hit record (4,256).
Mike Trout averaged 32.6 home runs per season over his first five full years. If he keeps that up for 20 years, he would have 652 home runs, sixth on the all-time list.
If Mike Trout were to play 24 years, and kept up the same pace, he would finish with 782 home runs, breaking Barry Bonds' home run record (762).
Mike Trout averaged 324 total bases per season over his first five full years. If he keeps that up for 20 years, he would have 6,480 total bases runs, second on the all-time list after Hank Aaron (6,856).
If Mike Trout were to play 24 years, and kept up the same pace, he would finish with 7,776 total bases, breaking Aaron's record.
Mike Trout averaged 143.4 runs created per season over his first five full years. If he keeps that up for 20 years, he would have 2,868 runs created, second only to Barry Bonds (2,892).
If Mike Trout were to play 24 years, and kept up the same pace, he would finish with 3,442 runs created, breaking Bonds' record.

While it's true that we can expect Mike Trout's numbers to decline in his later years, we may see a surge as he enters his prime years (normally a player's mid-twenties to mid-thirties). And great players do tend to remain productive much longer than average players. Hank Aaron hit 40 home runs at age 39, with 96 RBI. Stan Musial hit .351 and led the NL in batting average at age 36. Willie Mays led the NL in OBP with .425 at age 40. Barry Bonds hit 28 homers at age 42 and led the NL in OBP with a stellar .480 (well above his career average). Ty Cobb hit .323 at age 41. Alex Rodriguez hit 33 home runs at age 39. Babe Ruth had an OPS+ of 160 at age 39. Pete Rose led the NL in OBP at age 38, and nearly a decade later, at age 44, had an OBP of .395 in 501 plate appearances. Ted Williams hit .388 and slugged .731 at age 38, producing 9.5 WAR. The next year at age 39 he led the AL in batting average (.328), OBP (.458) and OPS (1.042). At age 41 he hit .316 with 29 home runs and slugged .645. The greatest players excelled into their late thirties and/or early forties. Mike Trout seems to be as talented as any of them, and a better athlete than most, if not all. So if he stays healthy, there is no reason to believe that he cannot do the same.

Here are some observations about WAR as great players age ...

Babe Ruth's prime WAR years were from age 24-36, but at age 38 he had 6.4 WAR and at age 39 he had 5.1 WAR.
Ted Williams' prime WAR years were from age 22-38, but at age 39 he still had 4.0 WAR.
Barry Bonds' prime WAR years were from age 23-39, but at age 41 he still had 4.0 WAR and at age 42 he had 4.3 WAR.

So great players can remain productive into their late 30s and early 40s. If Trout plays 22 years, like Babe Ruth, and averages more than 8.341 WAR per year, he can break Ruth's all-time record.

THE TROUT WATCH or THE WAR WATCH

A plus sign (+) indicates a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF). The names of active players are in italics. Only position players are included. Players without a plus sign are included arbitrarily for purposes of comparison. The figure in parentheses is the number of years in the player's career. If you want to see the baseball legends that Mike Trout has already passed, and those he is about to zoom past in the near future, you may want to start at the bottom of the list and scroll up.

These sort of projections are, of course, highly speculative. However, Mike Trout certainly seems capable of averaging around 10 WAR per season up to his early or mid thirties. One would expect some sort of gradual decline starting around age 35, although the greatest stars sometimes perform remarkably well into their late thirties or early forties (Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Pete Rose, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, et al).

At age 38, Ted Williams hit .388 with 9.7 WAR.
At age 40, Willie Mays led the NL in walks (112) and OBP (.425), while stealing 23 bases (!!!) with a crazy-good 89% success rate.
At age 41, Stan Musial hit .330/.416/.508, just below his career marks of .331/.417/.559. 
From age 35 to 38, Babe Ruth averaged 8.8 WAR.
From age 35 to 38, Ty Cobb averaged 5.9 WAR.
From age 35 to 39, Hank Aaron averaged 5.8 WAR and averaged 40 home runs per year!
From age 35 to 40, Willie Mays averaged 5.7 WAR.
Cap Anson played six seasons in his forties, racking up a .317/.399/.404 line (112 OPS+).
Pete Rose also played six seasons in his forties, getting 699 hits with a .355 OBP.
From age 35 to retirement, Rose had 1,816 hits, more than 41 Hall-of-Fame position players in their entire careers!
In his forties, Rickey Henderson racked up 109 steals (!!!) and had a .381 OBP.

This is my all-time team of WARlords: (C) Johnny Bench 75.0, (1B) Stan Musial 128.1, (2B) Rogers Hornsby 127.0, (SS) Honus Wagner 130.8, (3B) Mike Schmidt 106.5, (RF) Ty Cobb 151.1, (CF) Willie Mays 156.3, (LF) Ted Williams 167.6*, (P) Babe Ruth 183.5, (UT: C-1B-SS-3B-RF-LF) Jimmie Foxx 97.3, (UT: 1B-2B-3B-RF-CF-LF-PLAYER/MANAGER) Pete Rose 79.1

(*) What would Ted Williams' career WAR have been if he hadn't served five years in the US military? Baseball historian Dean Hybl took the average of Williams's three seasons before and after military service. As it was, Williams finished with a .344 average, 2,654 hits, 521 home runs and 1,839 RBIs. Those are great numbers, Hall-of-Fame numbers. But using Hybl's formula, Williams would have batted .342 with 3,452 hits (moving up to seventh), 663 home runs (fifth, just ahead of Willie Mays) and 2,380 RBIs (first, moving ahead of Hank Aaron). I did something similar with WAR. Prior to and immediately after his first tour of duty, Williams had been very consistent, recording WAR of 10.6, 10.6 and 10.9. So it makes prefect sense to estimate that Williams would have earned around 10.6 WAR for each of those three lost years. In the seasons immediately before and after his second tour of duty, Williams averaged 7.5 WAR. During his second tour he did play a bit, accumulating 2.3 WAR. So to estimate his career WAR, I took 123.1, added 10.6 * 3, added 7.5 * 2, then subtracted 2.3, yielding 167.6. That would put him second only to Babe Ruth in the career WAR rankings.

Which real-world team put the most career WAR on the field at the same time? I haven't seen anyone else crunch the numbers and I'm not sure how crunch them myself, but I suspect that it would be the 1975-1976 Cincinnati Reds team known as the Big Red Machine: (C) Johnny Bench 75.0, (1B) Tony Perez 53.9, (2B) Joe Morgan 100.3, (SS) Dave Concepcion 39.9, (3B) Pete Rose 79.1, (RF) Ken Griffey Sr. 34.4, (CF) Cesar Geronimo 13.0, (LF) George Foster 43.9. If the topic interests you, I have a page that explains why I think the 1976 Reds were the greatest team of all time.

In the projections below, I have built in a "curve," with Trout's WAR tapering off as he gets older. But it seems entirely possible that he could have seasons of more than 10 WAR, and that his prime years could last longer, if he stays healthy. So I could be underestimating, and only time will tell. Again, it may be more interesting and fun to start at the bottom and scroll up ...

Mike Trout (21) age 40 projected 2.0 WAR ~ 184.0
Babe Ruth+ (22) 183.5 Babe Ruth is the undisputed WAR LORD ... for now.
Mike Trout (20) age 39 projected 3.0 WAR ~ 182.0
Mike Trout (19) age 38 projected 4.0 WAR ~ 179.0
Mike Trout (18) age 37 projected 5.0 WAR ~ 175.0
Mike Trout (17) age 36 projected 6.0 WAR ~ 170.0

Mike Trout (16) age 35 projected 8.0 WAR ~ 164.0
Barry Bonds (22) 162.4 Would Barry Bonds be this high if he hadn't cheated?
Willie Mays+ (22) 156.3 Trout passes his 20th HOF centerfielder.
Mike Trout (15) age 34 projected 9.0 WAR ~ 156.0
Ty Cobb+ (24) 151.1 Trout passes his 19th HOF centerfielder.
Mike Trout (14) age 33 projected 10.0 WAR ~ 147.0
Hank Aaron+ (23) 142.8
Mike Trout (13) age 32 projected 10.0 WAR ~ 137.0
Tris Speaker+ (22) 133.9 Trout passes his 18th HOF centerfielder. 
Honus Wagner+ (21) 130.8
Stan Musial+ (22) 128.1
Mike Trout (12) age 31 projected 12.0 WAR ~ 127.0
Rogers Hornsby+ (23) 127.0
Eddie Collins+ (25) 123.8
Ted Williams+ (19) 123.1 Ted Williams was probably the best pure hitter of all time.
Alex Rodriguez (22) 117.5
Mike Trout (11) age 30 projected 12.0 WAR ~ 115.0
Lou Gehrig+ (17) 112.4
Rickey Henderson+ (25) 110.8
Mickey Mantle+ (18) 110.2 Trout passes his 17th HOF centerfielder. 
Mel Ott+ (22) 107.8
Nap Lajoie+ (21) 107.4
Frank Robinson+ (21) 107.2
Mike Schmidt+ (18) 106.5
Mike Trout (10) age 29 projected 12.0 WAR ~ 103.0
Joe Morgan+ (22) 100.3
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Mike Trout has now entered very rarefied air: the 100 WAR stratosphere! Only 20
position players have reached this exalted level!
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Albert Pujols (18) 99.9 Mike Trout passes the last active player, his teammate.
Jimmie Foxx+ (20) 97.3
Cal Ripken+ (21) 95.5
Adrian Beltre (21) 95.0 Trout now has only Pujols to top among active players. 
Roberto Clemente+ (18) 94.5
Wade Boggs+ (18) 91.1
Mike Trout (9) age 28 projected 12.0 WAR ~ 91.0
George Brett+ (21) 88.4
Ken Griffey Jr.+ (22) 83.6 Trout passes his 16th HOF centerfielder.
Rod Carew+ (19) 81.1
Charlie Gehringer+ (19) 80.7
Pete Rose (24) 79.1 Rose is the all-time leader in games, wins and hits.
Mike Trout (8) age 27 projected 12.0 WAR ~ 79.0
Joe DiMaggio+ (13) 78.1 Trout passes his 15th HOF centerfielder.
Johnny Bench+ (17) 75.0 Bench was probably the greatest catcher of all time.
Reggie Jackson+ (21) 73.8
Harry Heilmann+ (17) 72.1
Derek Jeter (20) 71.9 Trout passes a modern superstar in less than 1/2 the playing time.
Johnny Mize+ (15) 70.9
Barry Larkin+ (19) 70.2
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The average career WAR of a HOF centerfielder is 70. Any player above this line
certainly qualifies as an immortal superstar: DiMaggio, Griffey, Mantle, Cobb, Mays.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gary Carter+ (19) 69.9
Carlos Beltran (20) 69.8 Trout now has only two more active players to catch!
Miguel Cabrera (16) 69.3  Trout zooms past another active superstar.
Al Simmons+ (20) 68.7
Eddie Murray+ (21) 68.3
Robinson Cano (14) 67.6 Trout flashes past a still-productive superstar.
Ernie Banks+ (19) 67.5
Roberto Alomar+ (17) 67.1 Alomar hit .300 and won 10 gold gloves (116 OPS+).
Mike Trout (7) age 26 projected 12.0 WAR ~ 67.0

Joe Cronin+ (20) 66.4 Cronin was one of the best RBI men at shortstop (119 OPS+).
Duke Snider+ (18) 66.3 Trout passes his 14th HOF centerfielder.
Pee Wee Reese+ (16) 66.3 Reese was a better fielder and leader than hitter (99 OPS+).
Goose Goslin+ (18) 66.1 Goslin slugged .500 with 1,612 RBI (128 OPS+).
Chase Utley (16) 65.5 Trout passes an active star in 1/2 the playing time.
Craig Biggio+ (20) 65.5 Biggio had 3,060 hits with 1,844 runs (112 OPS+).
Andre Dawson+ (21) 64.8 Trout passes his 13th HOF centerfielder.
Willie McCovey+ (22) 64.5 McCovey slugged .515 and crushed 521 homers (147 OPS+).
Dave Winfield+ (22) 64.2 Winfield had 465 homers and 1,833 RBI (130 OPS+).
Richie Ashburn+ (15) 63.9 Trout passes his 12th HOF centerfielder (111 OPS+).
Billy Williams+ (18) 63.7 Williams slugged .492 with 426 homers (133 OPS+).
Billy Hamilton+ (14) 63.3 Trout passes his 11th HOF centerfielder (141 OPS+, .344, 914 steals).
Clayton Kershaw (11) 63.2 Kershaw is the greatest pitcher of Trout's generation (160 ERA+).
Mike Trout (7) age 26 actual career WAR 63.0 has passed 93 HOF position players! (175 OPS+)
Lou Boudreau+ (15) 63.0 Boudreau was an excellent hitter for a shortstop of his era (120 OPS+).
Home Run Baker+ (13) 62.7 Home Run Baker ironically never hit more than 12 homers (135 OPS+).
John Ward+ (17) 62.3 Ward was a great two-way player, with an ERA of 2.10 and 1,410 runs scored (92 OPS+).
Shoeless Joe Jackson (13) 62.2 "Shoeless Joe" has one of the game's great nicknames (170 OPS+).
Mark McGwire (16) 62.2 McGwire's record is tainted by steroid usage (163 OPS+).
Jackie Robinson+ (10) 61.4 [HOF-89] Robinson averaged a stellar 6.1 WAR for his racism-shortened career.
Jake Beckley+ (20) 61.3 [HOF-88] Beckley hit .308 with 1,603 runs and 1,581 RBI (125 OPS+).
Harmon Killebrew+ (22) [HOF-87] 60.4 Killebrew was a beastly home run hitter (143 OPS+).
Zack Wheat+ (19) 60.2 [HOF-86] Wheat hit .317 and still holds the Dodger record for hits (129 OPS+).
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At 60 WAR, we are passing from one level of greatness to another, with immortal names
like Jackie Robinson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Home Run Baker and Al Simmons ahead.
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Jesse Burkett+ (16) 59.7 Burkett hit .400 twice and average 223 hits per 162 games (140 OPS+).
Yogi Berra+ (19) 59.5 [HOF-85] Berra was a three-time MVP and fifteen-time All-Star (125 OPS+).
Vladimir Guerrero (16) 59.4 Guerrero was an MVP and nine-time All-Star (140 OPS+).
Mike Piazza+ (16) 59.4 [HOF-84] Piazza was an offensive force at catcher (142 OPS+) but average defensively.
Ichiro Suzuki (18) 59.3 Trout matches Ichiro's career WAR in 1/3 the playing time!
Joey Votto (12) 58.2 Trout passes one of baseball's active superstars in half the playing time. (157 OPS+)
Joe Torre+ (18) 57.6 [HOF-83] Torre was a gold glove winner at catcher, an MVP and 9-time all-star (129 OPS+).
Hank Greenberg+ (13) 57.5 [HOF-82] Hank Greenberg slugged .605, sixth on the all-time list (158 OPS+).
Willie Stargell+ (21) 57.5 [HOF-81] Stargell hit 475 homers and had 1,540 RBI (147 OPS+).
Joe Gordon+ (11) 57.1 [HOF-80] Gordon was an MVP and 9-time all-star (120 OPS+).
George Sisler+ (15) 56.3 [HOF-79] Sisler had a career .340 batting average (125 OPS+) and hit .400 twice.
Bill Dickey+ (17) 55.8 [HOF-78] Dickey was an all-time top ten catcher (127 OPS+).
Luis Aparicio+ (18) 55.8 [HOF-77] Aparicio was not a great hitter (82 OPS+), but won 9 gold gloves and stole 506 bases.
Joe Medwick+ (17) 55.6 [HOF-76] Joe "Ducky" Medwick was a premier slugger of his day (134 OPS+).
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Joey Votto and Justin Verlander will be all-time greats. How on earth did Trout pass them this fast?
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Justin Verlander (13) 55.4 Verlander is running neck-and-neck with Trout, but he's played twice as long!
Enos Slaughter+ (19) 55.3 [HOF-75] Slaughter was an all-star ten consecutive seasons (124 OPS+).
Mike Trout (6) age 25 actual career WAR 55.1; he has already passed 72 hall-of-famers!
Ian Kinsler (12) 55.0 Trout surges past an active star in 1/2 the playing time (110 OPS+).
Billy Herman+ (15) 54.7 [HOF-74] Herman was a defensive star at second who hit .304 (112 OPS+).
Bill Terry+ (14) 54.2 [HOF-73] Terry, the last NL player to hit .400, had a career .341 batting average (136 OPS+).
Max Carey+ (20) 54.2 [HOF-72] Trout passes his 10th HOF centerfielder at age 25. (108 OPS+)
Willie Keeler+ (19) 54.0 [HOF-71] Wee Willie Keeler had a career .341 batting average (127 OPS+).
Tony Perez+ (23) 53.9 [HOF-70] Perez had 1,652 RBI, in the all-time top thirty, more than Hornsby, DiMaggio, Banks, Schmidt, et al.
Joe Sewell+ (14) 53.7 [HOF-69] Sewell was a good-hitting shortstop (.312, 108 OPS+)
Gabby Hartnett+ (20) 53.4 [HOF-68] Hartnett was a slugging catcher (.297, 126 OPS+)
Joe Tinker+ (15) 53.2 [HOF-67] Trout leaves the entire Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance trio in his dust!
Harry Hooper+ (17) 53.2 [HOF-66] Hooper scored 1,429 runs (114 OPS+).
Jimmy Collins+ (14) 53.2 {HOF-65] Collins hit .294 (113 OPS+).
Elmer Flick+ (13) 53.2 [HOF-64] Elmer Flick had a gaudy 149 OPS+ but only played ten full seasons.
Sam Rice+ (20) 52.8 [HOF-63] Trout passes a sometimes-centerfielder (.322, 112 OPS+).
Cesar Cedeno (17) 52.7 Trout passes one of the most gifted non-HOF centerfielders in 1/3 the playing time (123 OPS+).
Dustin Pedroia (12) 52.5 Trout passes a still-productive star in half the playing time (114 OPS+).
Bid McPhee+ (18) 52.4 [HOF-62] Trout passes another HOFer in 1/3 the playing time! (107 OPS+).
Mickey Cochrane+ (13) 52.1 [HOF-61] Mickey Cochrane was a two-time MVP (129 OPS+).
Jim O'Rourke+ (23) 51.5 [HOF-60] Trout passes a HOFer in 1/4 the playing time! (1,729 runs, 134 OPS+).
Bobby Doerr+ (14) 51.2 [HOF-59] Bobby Doerr was a nine-time All-Star and a slugging second baseman (115 OPS+).
Kirby Puckett+ (12) 50.9 [HOF-58, CF-9] Trout passes his 9th HOF centerfielder (.318, 124 OPS+) at age 25.
Joe Kelley+ (17) 50.5 [HOF-57] Kelley scored 1,421 runs and hit .317 (134 OPS+).
Orlando Cepeda+ (17) 50.2 [HOF-56] "The Baby Bull" terrorized NL pitchers in his day (133 OPS+).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At 50 WAR, we see fewer and fewer questionable names, and increasing greatness.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tony Lazzeri+ (14) 49.9 [HOF-55] Lazzeri hid his epilepsy from the public his entire career (121 OPS+).
Larry Doby+ (13) 49.5 [HOF-54, CF-8] Trout passes his 8th HOF centerfielder at age 25 (136 OPS+).
Ralph Kiner+ (10) 49.4 [HOF-53] Ralph Kiner led the NL in homers seven times (149 OPS+).
Nellie Fox+ (19) 48.9 [HOF-52] Nellie Fox was a twelve-time All-Star.
Mike Trout (5) age 24 actual career WAR 48.5; he has already passed 51 hall-of-famers!
Dave Bancroft+ (16) 48.5 [HOF-51] Bancroft had one of the more unusual nicknames, "Beauty" (98 OPS+).
Earl Averill+ (13) 48.0 [HOF-50, CF-7] Trout passes his 7th HOF centerfielder at age 24 (.318, 133 OPS+).
Johnny Evers+ (18) 47.8 [HOF-49] Trout passes the second of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance trio (106 OPS+).
Buck Ewing+ (18) 47.7 [HOF-48] Ewing was one of the first good-hitting catchers (.303, 129 OPS+).
Jim Rice+ (16) 47.4 [HOF-47] Rice slugged .502 with 382 homers and 1,451 RBI (128 OPS+).
Kiki Cuyler+ (18) 46.7 [HOF-46] Cuyler was a .321 hitter (125 OPS+).
Ernie Lombardi+ (17) 45.9 [HOF-45] Lombardi was a slugging catcher (.306, 126 OPS+).
Heinie Manush+ (17) 45.8 [HOF-44] Manush had 2,524 hits (.330, 121 OPS+).
Frank Chance+ (17) 45.6 [HOF-43] Trout passes the first of the famous Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance trio.
John McGraw+ (17) 45.6 [HOF-42] McGraw played three positions (.334, 135 OPS+).
Deacon White+ (20) 45.5 [HOF-41] The Deacon played three positions (.312, 127 OPS+).
Lou Brock+ (19) 45.2 [HOF-40] Brock stole 968 bases (.293, 109 OPS+); Trout passes him like he's standing still!
Edd Roush+ (18) 45.2 [HOF-39, CF-6] Trout passes his 6th HOF centerfielder (.323, 126 OPS+) at age 24.
King Kelly+ (16) 44.3 [HOF-38] A forgotten name, but a kingly player (.307, 1,357 runs, 138 OPS+).
Sam Thompson+ (15) 44.3 [HOF-37] Consistent greatness (.331, .505 SP, 1,306 RBI, 147 OPS+).
Travis Jackson+ (15) 44.0 [HOF-36] A good-hitting shortstop (.291, 102 OPS+) with 7 superior seasons.
Chuck Klein+ (17) 43.6 [HOF-35] Chuck Klein had 400+ total bases three times (.320, 137 OPS+).
Hugh Duffy+ (17) 42.9 [HOF-34, CF-5] Trout passes his 5th HOF centerfielder (.326, 123 OPS+) at age 24.
Rabbit Maranville+ (23) 42.8 [HOF-33] Maranville was, as his nickname suggests, small (5'5") and speedy (82 OPS+).
Earle Combs+ (12) 42.5 [HOF-32, CF-4] Trout passes his 4th HOF centerfielder (125 OPS+) at age 24.
Hughie Jennings+ (18) 42.2 [HOF-31] A shortstop who hit .312 (118 OPS+) but had only 5 superior seasons.
Red Schoendienst+ (19) 42.2 [HOF-30] Seems a bit iffy to me (.289, 94 OPS+).
Roger Bresnahan+ (17) 41.0 [HOF-29] Another head-scratcher, he never drove in more than 56 runs.
Phil Rizzuto+ (13) 40.8 [HOF-28] Yet another light-hitting shortstop (.273, 93 OPS+).
Hack Wilson+ (12) 38.8 [HOF-27, CF-3] Trout passes his 3rd HOF centerfielder (144 OPS+) at age 24.
Mike Trout (4) age 23 actual career WAR 38.1 at the end of the 2015 season
George Kell+ (15) 37.4 [HOF-26] "Killer" Kell was a ten-time All-Star who hit .306 (112 OPS+) but only had 100 RBI once. 
Bill Mazeroski+ (17) 36.2 [HOF-25] Mazeroski was a great defensive second baseman but not much of a hitter (84 OPS+).
Pie Traynor+ (17) 36.2 [HOF-24] Pie Traynor hit .320 (107 OPS+) and was one of the first star third basemen.
John Ward+ (17) 35.6 [HOF-23] Ward had 1,410 runs and 540 steals, playing short.
Miller Huggins+ (13) 35.4 [HOF-22] Huggins hit .265 (107 OPS+) and slugged a woeful .312, but walked a lot.
Jim Bottomley+ (16) 35.3 [HOF-21] A real star who hit .322 (125 OPS+, .500 SP) with 1,422 RBI.
Roy Campanella+ (10) 34.1 [HOF-20] Roy Campanella was a three-time NL MVP, a real star.
Ross Youngs+ (10) 32.2 [HOF-19] Youngs hit .322 (130 OPS+), but had only 5 superior seasons.
Chick Hafey+ (13) 30.1 [HOF-18] Hafey hit .317 (133 OPS+, .526 SP), but had only 4 superior seasons.
Rick Ferrell+ (18) 29.8 [HOF-17] Ferrell's brother Wes, a pitcher, was the better hitter with a higher OPS+!
Mike Trout (3) age 22 actual career WAR 28.8 at the end of the 2014 season
Ray Schalk+ (18) 28.5 [HOF-16] Schalk hit .253 (83 OPS+) and slugged an anemic .316 (ouch!)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have "drawn a line" here because I question whether the players below are really HOF caliber. Above this line, we will find many
players who were true superstars. Not all of them, but with increasing WAR, more and more so. Freddie Lindstrom is the first HOF
member to crack the list of the top 1,000 players in WAR. From this point up we will begin to see true stars begin to emerge, but
there are still some questionable names (not because they weren't good player, but because other players who accomplished more
are not in the HOF.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Freddie Lindstrom+ (13) 28.3 [HOF-15] Lindstrom hit .311 (110 OPS+), good but still not great.
High Pockets Kelly+ (16) 25.2 [HOF-14] Kelly hit .297 (109 OPS+) with 1,020 RBI (good but not great).
Lloyd Waner+ (18) 24.1  [HOF-13, CF-2] Trout passes his second HOF centerfielder, "Little Poison" at age 22.
George Wright+ (12) 23.2 [HOF-12] A good-hitting shortsop (.301, 125 OPS+) but not much run production.
Monte Irvin+ (8) 21.3 [HOF-11] A rookie at age 30 due to racial discrimination; not elected for his stats but a star briefly.
Billy Southworth+ (13) 21.0  [HOF-10] A .297 hitter (111 OPS+) with a handful of good seasons; better as a manager.
Mike Trout (2) age 21 actual career WAR 20.8 at the end of the 2013 season (easy pickings so far!)
Casey Stengel+ (14) 20.1 [HOF-9] A .284 hitter who never scored or drove in 75 runs, and .500 as a manager?
Ned Hanlon+ (13) 18.0  [HOF-8, CF-1] Trout passes his first HOF centerfielder, but a .259 hitter (102 OPS+).
Al Lopez (19)+ 16.6 [HOF-7] A .261 hitter (83 OPS+) who never drove in more than 57 runs?
Tommy McCarthy+ (13) 16.1 [HOF-6] A .292 hitter (102 OPS+) with perhaps five above-average years?
Bucky Harris (12)+ 15.1 [HOF-5] A .274 hitter (86 OPS+) with a losing record as a manager?
Wilbert Robinson+ (17) 13.9 [HOF-4] No idea, really. He hit .273 (83 OPS+) and was .500 as a manager.
Mike Trout (1) age 20 actual career WAR 11.5 at the end of the 2012 season (easy pickings so far!)
Charlie Comiskey+ (13) 7.7 [HOF-3] Comiskey hit .264 and had a ballpark named after himself? (Well, he did build it!)
Connie Mack (11)+ 5.5 [HOF-2] Mack hit an abysmal .244 (72 OPS+), but is better known as a manager.
Leo Durocher (17)+ 5.1 [HOF-1] Durocher hit a lowly .247 (66 OPS+), but is better known as a manager.

According to Ross Carey, the average Hall of Fame batter played 18 years and collected 2,411 hits with 1,329 runs scored and 1,218 RBI, hitting .303 with an on-base percentage (OBP) of .376, a slugging percentage (SP) of .461, an OPS of .837 and an OPS+ of 128. I have focused on OPS+ because it helps us compare hitters from different eras. An OPS+ of 100 is an average major league hitter. As we can see in the rankings above, not all Hall of Fame players were great hitters, or even good hitters. A few were well below average.

Related Pages: The Greatest Baseball Team of All Time, The Greatest Baseball Infields of All Time, Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR per Season, Is Mike Trout the GOAT?, Best Baseball Nicknames, Mike Trout Nicknames, Weird Baseball Facts and Trivia, All-Time Cincinnati Reds Baseball Team, Cincinnati Reds Trivia, Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR7

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