The HyperTexts

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?
Mike Trout Contract Watch: "To Infinity and beyond!"


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 (wins above replacement) 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.

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? Is it just hype? No, because ...

Mike Trout was the GOAT at Age 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 26!

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 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!

In the following discussions about WAR, please keep in mind that for a single season the all-star level is five, 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.

Mike Trout was the first rookie to have a 30-30 season and he has never experienced any sort of major slump or regression. He just keeps getting better and better. Due to injuries in 2017 and 2018, for a short period of time he did fall slightly behind Ty Cobb's pace. But even with that lost time, by the end of the 2018 season Trout had once again passed the immortal Cobb ... and every other player who ever played in the majors. Here is MLB's all-time AGE 26 WAR BOARD: Mike Trout (64.3), Ty Cobb (63.4), Mickey Mantle (61.4), Rogers Hornsby (56.9), Alex Rodriguez (55.2). At the time Trout re-passed Cobb, he had played in 1,054 games to Cobb's 1,143. If Trout had played the same number of games as Cobb at his "average daily value," he would have 68.8 WAR and would lead Cobb by an all-star season of five WAR.

In other words, this Trout guy is seriously good! For his age, according to WAR, he's the best ever.

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

In 2018 the still-improving Trout reached the ten WAR threshold for the third time, joining an ultra-select group of Babe Ruth (9), Willie Mays (6), Rogers Hornsby (6), Barry Bonds (3), Mickey Mantle (3), Ted Williams (3) and Ty Cobb (3). But Trout's prime years lie ahead. If he has one more Troutian year, he'll shoot up to fourth on this exclusive list. And no player on the list has been as consistently great as Trout through his age 26 season. Trout's lowest full-season WAR was 7.9 fWAR, which is still MVP level. In fact, he won the MVP that year.

Let's allow that to register for a minute: in Mike Trout's "worst" year ever, he was the MVP!

According to WAR, Mike Trout should be a five-time MVP. Here are all eight-WAR seasons in both leagues since Trout played his first full season, plus the MVPs for both leagues:

2012Trout 10.7, Robinson Cano 8.2, Buster Posey 7.2 NL MVP, Miguel Cabrera 6.9 AL MVP (obviously the rookie got rooked!)
2013 — Trout 9.2, Carlos Gomez 8.4, Andrew McCutchen 8.2 NL MVP, Josh Donaldson 8.0, Cabrera 7.2 AL MVP
2014 — Trout 7.9 AL MVP, Clayton Kershaw 7.7 AL MVP
2015 — Trout 9.4, Bryce Harper 9.9 NL MVP, Donaldson 8.8 AL MVP, Paul Goldschmidt 8.8
2016 — Trout 10.6 AL MVP, Mookie Betts 9.6, Kris Bryant 7.7 NL MVP
2017 — Trout 9.6 (*), Jose Altuve 8.3 AL MVP, Aaron Judge 8.1, Giancarlo Stanton 7.6 NL MVP
2018 — Betts 12.9 AL MVP (**), Trout 11.8 (**), Christian Yelich 7.6
2019 — Trout is off to the fastest start of his career (***), slashing an insane .406/.592/.938/1.529 with a 320 OPS+ (if he keeps this up, quantum supercomputers will be required to calculate his WAR!)

(*) In 2017, while playing only 114 games due to an injury, Trout finished the year with 6.7 WAR. That translates to 9.6 WAR for a full season. 

(**) In 2018, Trout missed 22 games due to an injury. His 10.2 WAR in 140 games translates to 11.8 WAR for a full season. However, Mookie Betts' 10.9 WAR in 136 games translates to 12.9 WAR, so he absolutely deserved the AL MVP.

(***) In 2019, Trout accumulated 1.9 WAR in the first 12 games of the season, according to ESPN. How good is that? Well, the average MLB starter accumulates 2.0 WAR over the course of a full season. So Trout has matched a full season's output for an average starter in just 12 games! Another way to look at this is that, according to WAR, Trout could be traded for Bryce Harper (.8), Manny Machado (.6), J. D. Martinez (.2) and Mookie Betts (.2)! Silly, I know, but still. As of tax day 2019, in his last 162 games these are Trout's stats: .311/.464/.644, 117 R, 48 HR, 97 RBI, 26 SB, 2 CS, 144 BB, 135 K, 13 HBP.

Incredibly, Trout led the AL in WAR for every full season he played until Betts had his magical 2018 season. In four out of seven seasons, Trout led both leagues in WAR. He should have been the AL MVP in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. In other words, he should have been the MVP in every full season he played until his injury in 2017.

Let's allow this to sink in: Mike Trout started out his career with five consecutive MVP seasons!

Trout is already #11 all-time in MVP shares, and he's just getting started. In a half to a third of their playing time, Trout has already passed legends like Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Jimmie Foxx, Yogi Berra, Eddie Collins, Hank Greenberg, Pete Rose, Charlie Gehringer, Rogers Hornsby, George Brett, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Morgan, Mel Ott, Ernie Banks and Roberto Clemente.

The 2017, 2018 and 2019 Hall of Fame classes included nine position players, listed here with their best WAR season in parentheses: Jeff Bagwell (8.2), Tim Raines (7.6), Ivan Rodriguez (6.5), Chipper Jones (7.6), Vladimir Guerrero (7.4), Jim Thome (7.5), Alan Trammell (8.2), Harold Baines (4.3) and Edgar Martinez (7.0). They combined to play in 176 MLB seasons, during which time the nine superstars combined for the same number of top-two MVP finishes that Trout had in his first seven seasons. In an interesting synchronicity their nine best WAR seasons added together (64.3) exactly match what Trout produced in his first seven seasons. In other words, if we take the very best seasons of nine hall-of-famers, we end up with Mike Trout. That's crazy!

To illustrate how "crazy good" Mike Trout has been, please consider how his per-season WAR ranks with the all-time best seasons, by age:

Age 20 WAR: Mike Trout 10.7, Alex Rodriguez 9.4, Al Kaline 8.2, Mel Ott 7.4
Age 21 WAR: Rogers Hornsby 9.9, Mike Trout 9.2, Rickey Henderson 8.8, Eddie Matthews 8.3
Age 22 WAR: Ted Williams 10.6, Bryce Harper 10.0, Ty Cobb 9.9, Mike Trout 7.9
Age 23 WAR: Ty Cobb 10.6, Willie Mays 10.6, Ted Williams 10.6, Mike Trout 9.4
Age 24 WAR: Lou Gehrig 11.8, Mickey Mantle 11.3, Ty Cobb 10.7, Mike Trout 10.6
Age 25 WAR: Babe Ruth 11.9, Mickey Mantle 11.3, Mookie Betts 10.9, Mike Trout 6.6 (injured)
Age 26 WAR: Babe Ruth 12.9, Robin Yount 10.5, Mike Trout 10.2 (injured), Rogers Hornsby (10.0)

Trout isn't great only when compared to his peers. Trout is great when compared to the greatest players of all time.

Mike Trout started his career with five consecutive MVP seasons ... then he got ridiculously better!

Mike Trout had the best start in baseball history and could easily have won five consecutive MVP awards. Then in 2018 he got better. His OBP soared to an insane .460. He slugged an astronomical .629. His OPS reached 1.088 and his OPS+ exploded to 199. His stolen base percentage shot up to 92.3%. Furthermore, Trout was the only qualifying MLB center fielder to finish with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 2018. With his speed, range, homer-robbing heroics and consistency, he's a legitimate contender for a Gold Glove at a premium defensive position.

But is he still getting better? Surely not, but ...

Here's how Tom Ley explained the present (early 2019) and possible future: "The annual tradition of wondering if Mike Trout is on his way to the greatest season in the history of baseball seems to start earlier every year, and with good reason. Trout is entering his age-27 season and coming off one in which his OPS reached a career-high of 1.088. This is the trajectory of a player who is about to truly enter his prime, which is a scary thought, given that the not-yet-in-his-prime Mike Trout is already the best player in the league by a wide, wide margin. What does his next step even look like? So far it looks like this: .393/.581/1.000, five homers, 11 walks, 12 RBI, 11 hits, three strikeouts."

After ten games it's hard not to misread Trout's early 2019 slash line. That .581 is his OBP, not his slugging percentage. That 1.000 is his slugging percentage, not his OPS. His 1.581 OPS and 338 OPS+ are so ridiculously high they're hard to make sense of. His stats stagger the mind and threaten to fry CPUs. Trout, who said he was working on reducing his strikeouts, actually has more homers than whiffs. And he's doing this despite being the only Angel hitting more than his weight. One can only imagine what Trout would do, if like Babe Ruth, he had a Lou Gehrig hitting behind him. (I discuss this in more detail later on this page, making the case that Trout has had the weakest batting support of all the immortal sluggers: Ruth had a "murderers' row" to support him, Mays had McCovey and Cepeda, Mantle had "the boys of summer," etc.)

Mike Trout by the Numbers

1 = Mike Trout is number one among active players in both performance and pay (see "Moneyball" immediately below).
2 = The most games Mike Trout has gone without getting on base!
3 = Through 1,000 games played since 1920, Trout's win probability added (37.0) was third after Frank Thomas and Albert Pujols.
4 = Through 1,000 games played, Trout was fourth in total bases accumulated (including walks and steals) with 2,974.
5 = Trout is fifth all-time in adjusted OPS+, and keeps gaining on the immortals above him on this exclusive list.
6 = Trout has six Silver Slugger awards and is sixth all-time in secondary average, which takes into account walks, steals and extra-base hits.
7 = Mike Trout has made seven consecutive all-star teams (this number is sure to keep rising).
8 = The top eight offensive seasons in Angels history, according to offensive WAR, all belong to Trout.
9 = Trout is one of the most successful base stealers ever in terms of efficiency, ranking ninth all-time at 84.8%.
10 = By the end of his age 25 season, Trout has passed ten hall-of-fame centerfielders in career WAR.
30 = Trout was the first rookie to join the 30/30 club.
143 = Trout has already passed 143 hall-of-famers in career WAR; you can see their names in THE MIKE TROUT WAR WATCH below.
1,000 = At the 1,000 games played mark, Trout either led or was within striking distance of the all-time leaders in hits, walks, runs, homers, extra-base hits and total bases. While he's unlikely to pass Pete Rose in career hits or Barry Bonds in career walks, Trout is superior in every phase of the game and could be the GOAT when all is said and done.

Moneyball

As further confirmation of his greatness, Mike Trout has topped the MLB Network's list of the "Top 100 Right Now" a stunning six times. Far behind Trout on the 2018 list were prized free agents Manny Machado (14th) and Bryce Harper (15th). Machado signed a $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres. Harper signed with the Phillies for $330 million. So how much is Mike Trout worth? FanGraphs published an article documenting that, according to WAR, Mike Trout is better than Manny Machado and Bryce Harper combined! Harper and Machado together produced 60.9 WAR from 2012 to 2018. Over the same period, Trout produced 64.0 WAR. If they're worth $660 million together, what is Trout worth? (Trout's worst season was better than Machado's best season and Trout had seven of the eight best individual seasons between the three players, with only Harper's MVP season besting Trout's worst season.) If Machado and Harper are worth $660 million, Trout must be worth more. It's simple moneyball math! So the Angels got a real bargain when Trout signed a ten-year extension for "only" $360 million. With the two years remaining on Trout's original contract, the total deal is around $430 million for twelve years, or nearly half a billion dollars. But I agree with Ben Lindbergh's article titled "Mike Trout Isn't Worth $430 Million—He’s Worth Much More." Lindbergh explains Trout's dilemma concisely: "The problem for Trout is that he's too good to be paid what he's worth." Hell, he had to give the Angels more than a quarter billion discount! Here, I'll do the math:

$660 million * 64.0 / 60.9 = $694 million billable - $430 million paid = $264 million discount

Another way to figure Mike Trout's true worth is by using the typical contract dollars per "win." On the current free agent market, according to FanGraphs and other sources, one win is worth around $10 million dollars. Since Trout typically produces 8 to 10 WAR per season, he should make $80 to $100 million per year for around a decade. And because the cost of a win keeps going up over time, there should be an inflation factor built in. According to this method of valuation, Trout is an absolute steal for the Angels. He's clearly worth a billion dollars over the next ten years.

When informed of Trout's massive new contract, Albert Pujols joked, "Pretty sure I ain't paying one more dinner for him!"

How good is Mike Trout, really? While guest-starring in the booth at the Angels' 2019 home opener, former Angel hall-of-famer Rod Carew was asked if Trout reminded him of anybody from his playing days. Carew, a seven-time batting champion who finished with 3,053 hits and one of the highest batting averages (.328) of the modern era, quickly replied that he's never seen anybody like Trout. "No, he's in a class of his own," Carew said. As if to confirm that statement, Trout immediately crushed a homer on a changeup below the zone. He went on to hit five homers in four games despite being mostly walked by justifiably fearful pitchers.

Baseball Genes

Mike Trout has good baseball genes. His father, Jeff Trout, had the fourth-highest batting average in NCAA history, hitting .519 in 1983. His grandfather's nickname was "Bat" Trout, because "he was the best left-handed hitter in South Jersey." His mother, Debbie, was a softball player.

THE MIKE TROUT WAR WATCH

Mike Trout, just starting his age 27 season, has already passed 143 Hall-of-Famers in WAR! Most of them played two to three times as many seasons as Trout. The numbers in parens are career WAR.

Mike Trout passed his 1st HOF centerfielder, "Foxy" Ned Hanlon (13.0), at age 21.
Mike Trout passed his 2nd HOF centerfielder, "Little Poison" Lloyd Waner (24.1), at age 22.
Mike Trout passed his 3rd HOF centerfielder, Lewis "Hack" Wilson (38.8), at age 24.
Mike Trout passed his 4th HOF centerfielder, "The Kentucky Colonel" Earle Combs (42.5), at age 24.
Mike Trout passed his 5th HOF centerfielder, "Sir" Hugh Duffy (42.9), at age 24.
Mike Trout passed his 6th HOF centerfielder, Edd Roush (45.2), at age 24.
Mike Trout passed his 7th HOF centerfielder, Earl "The Rock" Averill (48.0), at age 24.
Mike Trout passed his 8th HOF centerfielder, Larry Doby (49.5), at age 25. 
Mike Trout passed his 9th HOF centerfielder, Kirby Puckett (50.9), at age 25.
Mike Trout passed his 10th HOF centerfielder, "Scoops" Max Carey (54.2), at age 25.
Mike Trout passed his 11th HOF centerfielder, "Sliding" Billy Hamilton (63.4), at age 26. 
Mike Trout passed his 12th HOF centerfielder, "The Tilden Flash" Richie Ashburn (63.9), at age 26. 
Mike Trout passed his 13th HOF centerfielder, Andre "The Hawk" Dawson (64.8), at age 26.
Mike Trout passed his 14th HOF centerfielder, Donald "Duke" Snider (66.3), at age 27.

Trout has already passed legends like Don Drysdale (67.1), Roberto Alomar (67.1), Don Sutton (66.7), Joe Cronin (66.4), Duke Snider (66.3), Pee Wee Reese (66.3), Goose Goslin (66.1), Craig Biggio (65.5), Andre Dawson (64.8), Willie McCovey (64.5), Roy Halladay (64.3), Dave Winfield (64.2), Richie Ashburn (63.9), Billy Williams (63.7), Billy Hamilton (63.4), Bullet Bob Feller (63.4), Lou Boudreau (63.0), Juan Marichal (62.9), Home Run Baker (62.8), Shoeless Joe Jackson (62.2), Jackie Robinson (61.4), Harmon Killebrew (60.4), Yogi Berra (59.5), Vladimir Guerrero (59.4), Mike Piazza (59.4), Rube Waddell (57.9), Hammerin' Hank Greenberg (57.5), Willie Stargell  (57.5), Whitey Ford (56.9), George Sisler (56.3), Bill Dickey (55.8), Joe Medwick (55.6), Bill Terry (54.2), Wee Willie Keeler (54.0), Sandy Koufax (48.9), Dizzy Dean (45.8), Catfish Hunter (40.9), and Lefty Gomez (38.4)

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. (But Trout's going to end up so far beyond most players that teeny-tiny variations will prove insignificant in the end.) For Trout the current WAR figure comes from ESPN or FanGraphs because they update their WAR stats faster. (Again there can be slight discrepancies but they will prove immaterial, and this is far from a perfect science.) The WAR numbers cited here are those in effect at the time Trout passed the player(s) in question. A plus sign (+) indicates a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF). The names of active players appear in italics. 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's about to zoom past in the near future, you may want to start at the bottom of the list and scroll up.

Player (seasons played) WAR

Mike Trout (22) age 41 projected 3.0 WAR ~ 184.0
Babe Ruth+ (22) 183.5 Babe Ruth is the undisputed WAR LORD ... for now.
Mike Trout (21) age 40 projected 4.5 WAR ~ 181.0
Mike Trout (20) age 39 projected 5.0 WAR ~ 176.5
Mike Trout (19) age 38 projected 5.5 WAR ~ 171.5
Mike Trout (18) age 37 projected 6.0 WAR ~ 166.0
Barry Bonds (22) 162.4
Mike Trout (17) age 36 projected 6.5 WAR ~ 160.
0
Willie Mays+ (22) 156.3 Trout passes his 20th HOF centerfielder.
Mike Trout (16) age 35 projected 7.0 WAR ~ 153.5
Ty Cobb+ (24) 151.1 Trout passes his 19th HOF centerfielder.
Mike Trout (15) age 34 projected 7.5 WAR ~ 146.5
Hank Aaron+ (23) 142.8
Mike Trout (14) age 33 projected 8.0 WAR ~ 139.0
Tris Speaker+ (22) 133.9 Trout passes his 18th HOF centerfielder. 
Mike Trout (13) age 32 projected 10.0 WAR ~ 131.0
Honus Wagner+ (21) 130.8
Stan Musial+ (22) 128.1
Rogers Hornsby+ (23) 127.0
Eddie Collins+ (25) 123.8
Ted Williams+ (19) 123.1
Mike Trout (12) age 31 projected 10.0 WAR ~ 121.0
Alex Rodriguez (22) 117.5
Lou Gehrig+ (17) 112.4
Mike Trout (11) age 30 projected 10.6 WAR ~ 111.0
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 11.4 WAR ~ 100.4
Joe Morgan+ (22) 100.3
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Mike Trout has now entered very rarefied air: the 100 WAR stratosphere!
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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 12.2 WAR ~ 89.0
George Brett+ (21) 88.4
Chipper Jones+ (19) 85.2
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
Joe DiMaggio+ (13) 78.1 Trout passes his 15th HOF centerfielder.
Mike Trout (8) age 27 projected 11.5 WAR ~ 76.8
Johnny Bench+ (17) 75.0
Reggie Jackson+ (21) 73.8
Jim Thome+ (22) 72.9
Harry Heilmann+ (17) 72.1
Derek Jeter (20) 71.9
Johnny Mize+ (15) 70.9
Alan Trammell+ (20) 70.7
Barry Larkin+ (19) 70.2
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The average career WAR of a HOF centerfielder is 70. The centerfielders
above this line are immortals: DiMaggio, Griffey, Mantle, Cobb, Mays.
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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 an active superstar.
Al Simmons+ (20) 68.7
Jim Palmer+ (19) 68.4 [HOF-147]
Eddie Murray+ (21) 68.3 [HOF-146]
Carl Hubbell+ (16) 68.3 [HOF-145]
Robinson Cano (14) 67.6 Trout flashes past a still-productive superstar.
Ernie Banks+ (19) 67.5 [HOF-144]
Mike Trout (8) age 27 actual career WAR 67.1 per ESPN has now passed 143 hall-of-famers! (176 OPS+)
Roberto Alomar+ (17) 67.1 [HOF-143]
Don Drysdale+ (14) 67.1 [HOF-142]
Don Sutton+ (23) 66.7 [HOF-141]
Joe Cronin+ (20) 66.4 [HOF-140]
Duke Snider+ (18) 66.3 [HOF-139] Trout passes his 14th HOF centerfielder.
Pee Wee Reese+ (16) 66.3 [HOF-138]
Goose Goslin+ (18) 66.1 [HOF-137] Goslin slugged .500 with 1,612 RBI (128 OPS+).
Amos Rusie+ (10) 65.8 [HOF-136]
Ed Walsh+ (14) 65.8 [HOF-135]
Craig Biggio+ (20) 65.5 [HOF-134]
Chase Utley (16) 65.4 Trout passes an active star in 1/2 the playing time.
Mike Trout (7) age 26 actual career WAR 65.3 per ESPN has now passed 133 hall-of-famers! (175 OPS+)
Andre Dawson+ (21) 64.8 [HOF-133] Trout passes his 13th HOF centerfielder.
Clayton Kershaw (11) 64.6 Kershaw is the greatest pitcher of his and Trout's generation (160 ERA+).
Willie McCovey+ (22) 64.5 [HOF-132]
Roy Halladay+ (16) 64.3 [HOF-131]
Dave Winfield+ (22) 64.2 [HOF-130]
Vic Willis+ (13) 64.2  [HOF-129]
Richie Ashburn+ (15) 63.9 [HOF-128] Trout passes his 12th HOF centerfielder.
Red Faber+ (20) 63.9 [HOF-127]
Billy Williams+ (18) 63.7 [HOF-126]
Billy Hamilton+ (14) 63.4 [HOF-125] Trout passes his 11th HOF centerfielder.
Bob Feller+ (18) 63.4 [HOF-124]
Lou Boudreau+ (15) 63.0  [HOF-123]
Juan Marichal+ (16) 62.9 [HOF-122]
Home Run Baker+ (13) 62.8  [HOF-121] "Home Run" Baker ironically never hit more than 12 homers.
Hal Newhouser+ (17) 62.5 [HOF-120]
Clark Griffith+ (21) 62.5 [HOF-119]
John Ward+ (17) 62.3 [HOF-118] Ward was a great two-way player with a 2.10 ERA and 1,410 runs scored.
Mickey Welch+ (13) 62.3 [HOF-117]
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-116] Robinson averaged a stellar 6.1 WAR for his racism-shortened career.
Jake Beckley+ (20) 61.3 [HOF-115]
Stan Coveleski+ (14) 60.9 [HOF-114]
Early Wynn+ (23) 60.7 [HOF-113]
Harmon Killebrew+ (22) 60.4 [HOF-112]
Al Spalding+ (8) 60.3 [HOF-111]
Zack Wheat+ (19) 60.2 [HOF-110]
Dazzy Vance+ (16) 60.0 [HOF-109]
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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 [HOF-108] Burkett hit .400 twice (140 OPS+).
Yogi Berra+ (19) 59.5 [HOF-107] Berra was a three-time MVP and fifteen-time All-Star (125 OPS+).
Vladimir Guerrero+ (16) 59.4 [HOF-106] Guerrero was an MVP and nine-time All-Star (140 OPS+).
Mike Piazza+ (16) 59.4 [HOF-105] Piazza was an offensive force at catcher (142 OPS+).
Jim Bunning+ (17) 59.4 [HOF-104]
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+).
Rube Waddell+ (13) 57.9 [HOF-103]
Joe McGinnity+ (10) 57.9 [HOF-102]
Joe Torre+ (18) 57.6 [HOF-101]
Mike Trout (7) age 26 has already passed 100 hall-of-famers!
Hank Greenberg+ (13) 57.5 [HOF-100] Greenberg slugged .605, sixth on the all-time list (158 OPS+).
Willie Stargell+ (21) 57.5 [HOF-99] Stargell hit 475 homers and 1,540 RBI (147 OPS+).
Mordecia Brown+ (14) 57.4 [HOF-98]
Joe Gordon+ (11) 57.1 [HOF-97]
Whitey Ford+ (16) 56.9 [HOF-96]
George Sisler+ (15) 56.3 [HOF-95] Sisler hit .400 twice.
Bill Dickey+ (17) 55.8 [HOF-94]
Eppa Rixey+ (21) 55.8 [HOF-93]
Luis Aparicio+ (18) 55.8 [HOF-92]
Joe Medwick+ (17) 55.6 [HOF-91] Joe "Ducky" Medwick was a premier slugger of his day (134 OPS+).
Justin Verlander (13) 55.4
Enos Slaughter+ (19) 55.3 [HOF-90]
Mike Trout (6) age 25 actual career WAR 55.1 has already passed 89 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-89]
Bill Terry+ (14) 54.2 [HOF-88]
Max Carey+ (20) 54.2 [HOF-87] Trout passes his 10th HOF centerfielder at age 25. (108 OPS+)
Willie Keeler+ (19) 54.0 [HOF-86]
Tony Perez+ (23) 53.9 [HOF-85]
Joe Sewell+ (14) 53.7 [HOF-84]
Gabby Hartnett+ (20) 53.4 [HOF-83]
Joe Tinker+ (15) 53.2 [HOF-82]
Harry Hooper+ (17) 53.2 [HOF-81]
Jimmy Collins+ (14) 53.2 {HOF-80]
Elmer Flick+ (13) 53.2 [HOF-79]
Sam Rice+ (20) 52.8 [HOF-78] Trout passes a sometimes-centerfielder.
Cesar Cedeno (17) 52.7 Trout passes one of the most gifted non-HOF centerfielders in 1/3 the playing time.
Burleigh Grimes+ (19) 52.7 [HOF-77]
Waite Hoyt+ (21) 52.6 [HOF-76]
Dustin Pedroia (12) 52.5 Trout passes a still-productive star in half the playing time.
Bid McPhee+ (18) 52.4 [HOF-75]
Mickey Cochrane+ (13) 52.1 [HOF-74]
Jim O'Rourke+ (23) 51.5 [HOF-73]
Bobby Doerr+ (14) 51.2 [HOF-72]
Kirby Puckett+ (12) 50.9 [HOF-71, CF-9] Trout passes his 9th HOF centerfielder.
Joe Kelley+ (17) 50.5 [HOF-70]
Orlando Cepeda+ (17) 50.2 [HOF-69]
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At 50 WAR, we see fewer questionable names, and increasing greatness.
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Tony Lazzeri+ (14) 49.9 [HOF-68]
Larry Doby+ (13) 49.5 [HOF-67, CF-8] Trout passes his 8th HOF centerfielder at age 25.
Ralph Kiner+ (10) 49.4 [HOF-66]
Nellie Fox+ (19) 48.9 [HOF-65]
Sandy Koufax (12) 48.9 [HOF-64]
Mike Trout (5) age 24 actual career WAR 48.5 has already passed 63 hall-of-famers!
Dave Bancroft+ (16) 48.5 [HOF-63]
Earl Averill+ (13) 48.0 [HOF-62, CF-7] Trout passes his 7th HOF centerfielder at age 24.
Bob Lemmon+ (15) 47.9 [HOF-61]
Johnny Evers+ (18) 47.8 [HOF-60]
Buck Ewing+ (18) 47.7 [HOF-59]
Jim Rice+ (16) 47.4 [HOF-58] Rice slugged .502 with 382 homers and 1,451 RBI (128 OPS+).
Chief Bender+ (16) 47.3 [HOF-57]
Kiki Cuyler+ (18) 46.7 [HOF-56]
Ernie Lombardi+ (17) 45.9 [HOF-55] Lombardi was a slugging catcher (.306, 126 OPS+).
Heinie Manush+ (17) 45.8 [HOF-54]
Dizzy Dean+ (12) 45.8 [HOF-53]
Frank Chance+ (17) 45.6 [HOF-52]
John McGraw+ (17) 45.6 [HOF-51] McGraw played three positions (.334, 135 OPS+).
Deacon White+ (20) 45.5 [HOF-50]
Herb Pennock (22) 45.5 [HOF-49]
Lou Brock+ (19) 45.2 [HOF-48]
Edd Roush+ (18) 45.2 [HOF-47, CF-6] Trout passes his 6th HOF centerfielder at age 24.
Addie Joss+ (9) 44.7 [HOF-46]
King Kelly+ (16) 44.3 [HOF-45]
Sam Thompson+ (15) 44.3 [HOF-44] Consistent greatness (.331, .505 SP, 1,306 RBI, 147 OPS+).
Travis Jackson+ (15) 44.0 [HOF-43]
Chuck Klein+ (17) 43.6 [HOF-42] Klein had 400+ total bases three times (.320, 137 OPS+).
Jack Morris+ (18) 43.4 [HOF-41]
Hugh Duffy+ (17) 42.9 [HOF-40, CF-5] Trout passes his 5th HOF centerfielder at age 24.
Rabbit Maranville+ (23) 42.8 [HOF-39]
Earle Combs+ (12) 42.5 [HOF-38, CF-4] Trout passes his 4th HOF centerfielder at age 24.
Jack Chesbro+ (11) 42.5 [HOF-37]
Hughie Jennings+ (18) 42.2 [HOF-36]
Red Schoendienst+ (19) 42.2 [HOF-35]
Roger Bresnahan+ (17) 41.0 [HOF-34]
Catfish Hunter+ (15) 40.9 [HOF-33]
Phil Rizzuto+ (13) 40.8 [HOF-32]
Hack Wilson+ (12) 38.8 [HOF-31, CF-3] Trout passes his 3rd HOF centerfielder at age 24.
Lefty Gomez (14) 38.4 [HOF-30]
Mike Trout (4) age 23 actual career WAR 38.1 at the end of the 2015 season
George Kell+ (15) 37.4 [HOF-29]
Bill Mazeroski+ (17) 36.2 [HOF-28]
Pie Traynor+ (17) 36.2 [HOF-27] Pie Traynor hit .320 and was one of the first star third basemen.
Candy Cummings+ (6) 36.2 [HOF-26]
John Ward+ (17) 35.6 [HOF-25] Ward had 1,410 runs and 540 steals, playing short.
Miller Huggins+ (13) 35.4 [HOF-24]
Jim Bottomley+ (16) 35.3 [HOF-23] Bottomley hit .322 and slugged .500 with 1,422 RBI.
Roy Campanella+ (10) 34.1 [HOF-22] Campanella was a three-time MVP.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have "drawn a line" here because I question whether the players below are really HOF caliber. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jesse Haines+ (19) 32.7 [HOF-21]
Rube Marquard+ (18) 32.6 [HOF-20]
Ross Youngs+ (10) 32.2 [HOF-19]
Chick Hafey+ (13) 30.1 [HOF-18]
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]
Freddie Lindstrom+ (13) 28.3 [HOF-15]
Trevor Hoffman+ (18) 27.9 [HOF-**]
High Pockets Kelly+ (16) 25.2 [HOF-14]
Lloyd Waner+ (18) 24.1  [HOF-13, CF-2] Trout passes his second HOF centerfielder at age 22.
George Wright+ (12) 23.2 [HOF-12]
Monte Irvin+ (8) 21.3 [HOF-11] A rookie at age 30 due to racial discrimination.
Billy Southworth+ (13) 21.0  [HOF-10]
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]
Ned Hanlon+ (13) 18.0  [HOF-8, CF-1] Trout passes his first HOF centerfielder at age 21.
Al Lopez (19)+ 16.6 [HOF-7]
Tommy McCarthy+ (13) 16.1 [HOF-6]
Bucky Harris (12)+ 15.1 [HOF-5]
Wilbert Robinson+ (17) 13.9 [HOF-4]
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]
Connie Mack (11)+ 5.5 [HOF-2] Mack hit an abysmal .244 but is better known as a manager.
Leo Durocher (17)+ 5.1 [HOF-1] Durocher hit a lowly .247 but is better known as a manager.

Hall-of-Famers not "numbered" in the list above: Trevor Hoffman (27.9)

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.

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.

In 2018 Trout was on pace for 12 WAR before suffering two injuries. 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 has been breathing rarified air. If he can avoid missing games due to injuries, Trout seems likely to join this exclusive club.

Babe Ruth is the all-time leader in WAR per 162 games. Trout is second by a considerable margin over third place. The all-time leaders in WAR per 162 games are Ruth (around 10.1 not including pitching), Trout (9.7 and rising), Rogers Hornsby (9.3), Ted Williams (9.2), Barry Bonds (8.9), Lou Gehrig (8.7), Willie Mays (8.1), Honus Wagner (8.0), Ty Cobb (7.9), Tris Speaker (7.8), Joe DiMaggio (7.8), Mickey Mantle (7.6), Shoeless Joe Jackson (7.4), Mike Schmidt (7.2), Jimmie Foxx (7.1), Hank Greenberg (7.1), and Hank Aaron (7.0). These are superstars who played at an MVP level for their entire careers. To see an expanded list please click here: Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR per Season.

If we exclude the "steroid monsters, over the last 50 years (1969-2018) there have only been ten seasons with ten or more WAR. Trout has three of them, and might have had a fourth in 2017 if he hadn't been injured. When we consider the greatness of Trout's modern peers who never had a single ten-WAR season, his magnificence becomes all the clearer. They include Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Miguel Cabrera, Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente, Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Paul Molitor, Albert Pujols, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Jim Thome, Joey Votto, Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, J. D. Martinez and Giancarlo Stanton. According to WAR, Trout has already had three seasons better than any of their best seasons!

How good is Mike Trout, really? In his best five seasons, he accumulated 49.6 WAR, or ten WAR per season if we round up. That's more WAR than the following hall-of-famers accumulated in their entire careers: Ralph Kiner, Nellie Fox, Dave Bancroft, Earl Averill, Johnny Evers, Jim Rice, Buck Ewing, Kiki Cuyler, Ernie Lombardi, Heinie Manush, Frank Chance, Deacon White, Lou Brock, Edd Roush, Sam Thompson, Travis Jackson, Chuck Klein, King Kelly, Hugh Duffy, Rabbit Maranville, Earle Combs, Phil Rizzuto, Hack Wilson, George Kell, Jim Bottomley, Roy Campanella, Chick Hafey, Rick Ferrell, Ray Schalk, Freddie Lindstrom, and others.

Here are baseball immortals whose career WAR Trout passed in around a third the playing time: Lloyd Waner, Pie Traynor, "Wee" Willie Keeler, Joe Medwick, Harmon Killebrew, Yogi Berra, Max Carey, Bill Dickey, Gabby Hartnett, Enos Slaughter, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Willie Stargell, Luis Aparicio, and Sam Rice. And it's hard to find hall-of-famers that Trout hasn't passed in half the playing time. Only a select group of the all-time greats averaged five WAR per season for their careers (see the hyperlink avove. Trout has been averaging close to ten WAR per year, while trending upward. So it's no surprise that he's been zooming past HOFers at warp speed. 

If Mike Trout has a typical Mike Trout season in 2019, he will pass the following players in career WAR: Willie McCovey (22 seasons), Reggie Smith (17), Andre Dawson (21), Chase Utley (16), Craig Biggio (20), Willie Randolph (18), Goose Goslin (18), Duke Snider (18), Pee Wee Reese (16), Joe Cronin (20), Ernie Banks (19), Fred Clarke (21), Ryne Sandberg (16), Graig Nettles (22), Carlton Fisk (24), Red Ruffing (22), Ivan Rodriguez (21), Eddie Murray (21), Al Simmons (20), Tony Gwynn (20), Harry Heilmann (17), Derek Jeter (20), Paul Waner (20), Frank Thomas (19), and Reggie Jackson (21). The common thread? They all played two to three times as many seasons as Trout.

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 17 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., Joltin' Joe DiMaggio and Tris Speaker. Now the only centerfielders competitive with the still-improving Trout are three immortals: Mays, Cobb and Mantle. But they can't improve their standings, while Trout can. Barring injuries, Trout seems destined to pass Mantle in WAR7 with one more Troutian season. It also seems possible — perhaps even likely — that Trout will surpass all the immortal center fielders in career WAR. Furthermore, because center is the "highest output" position for WAR, if Trout passes center's "Fab Four" there will only be two position players left ahead of him: Bonds and 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 appears to be clean and is hitting in a pitcher's park without a murderers' row behind him. 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.

To 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!

"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! He seems to be slump-proof.

"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: At the time I wrote this, Joey Votto was 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, even though Votto has exceeded all his other contemporaries. And Trout's OPS+ keeps going up. As I updated this article close to the end of the 2018 season, Trout's OPS+ was 202. Over the last 20 years, since the advent of six-inning starters and group relief with seemingly everyone throwing 95+ mph heat, there has only been one player with a 200 OPS+ season. And that player is Mike Trout. (I did subtract the "steroid monsters" from the equation.)

NOTE: While Trout didn't win a Gold Glove in 2018, he was in the running, played stellar defense, and didn't commit an error. He continued to improve defensively.

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

What makes Mike Trout so damn good? Well, he is truly a five-tool player. He hits for power, with a career slugging percentage of .573 that tops Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. He hits for average and gets on base at a rate that rose to an utterly stellar .460 in 2018. In effect, he's getting on base nearly every other at-bat. As for speed, according to Statcast, Trout is faster than Dee Gordon, Starling Marte, Lorenzo Cain, Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts and Jose Ramirez on the basepaths. And Trout is one of the most successful base stealers ever in terms of efficiency, ranking ninth all-time at 84.8%. That's better than Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, Billy Hamilton, Ty Cobb, Tim Raines and Mookie Betts. And Trout continues to improve as a base stealer: in 2018 he was successful 92.3% of the time. Furthermore, Trout is a genius at taking extra bases, with a success rate of 58% compared to a MLB average of only 40%. Defensively, Trout has been playing gold-glove-level in center field and since 2009 has led all MLB in "robberies" of home runs.

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 normal 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, having his best year.

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, Bryce Harper 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!

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 the following Astros: Carlos Correa, George Springer, Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis.
According to WAR, Mike Trout could be traded for the following Red Sox: Rick Porcello, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hanley Ramirez.
According to WAR, Mike Trout could be traded for the following Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Adujar and Greg Bird.
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 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. 

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

Trout's career OPS (.990) puts him ahead of every centerfielder who ever played, followed by DiMaggio, Mantle, Cobb, Mays and Hack Wilson.

Trout's career OPS+ (175) puts him ahead of every centerfielder who ever played, followed by Mantle, Cobb, Pete Browning, Lip Pike and Tris Speaker.

Trout's career slugging percentage (.573) 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) and likely to fall behind soon.

Trout's on-base percentage (.416) 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 .460. 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 2019 season, Trout will have passed 13 of the 19 HOF centerfielders in career WAR, doing in 8 seasons what they did in double to triple the time. We also predict that by the end of the 2020 season he will have passed Joe DiMaggio and 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.

Support, of Lack Thereof

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 full-time seasons being by Pujols (81-126), Kole Calhoun (83-123), Justin Upton (122), Howie Kendrick (75-118), Josh Hamilton (79-115), C. J. Cron (69-115), Mark Trumbo (100-109), David Freese (56-109), Andrelton Simmons (91-109) and Erick Aybar (68-107). Right now prospects look slightly better for 2019, with Simmons, Ohtani and Upton hopefully 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 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 — Finished second in WAR despite missing 22 games and having little full-time support (Upton 122 OPS+, Simmons 109 OPS+, Pujols 92 OPS+, Ohtani part-time 152 OPS+)

Mookie Betts played on a 2018 Boston Red Sox team with six hitters with an OPS+ of 100 or higher, including J. D. Martinez at 173.
Aaron Judge played on a 2018 New York Yankees team with eight starters with an OPS+ of 118 or higher.
Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor played on a 2018 Cleveland Indians team with six hitters with an OPS+ of 100 or higher, and four over 115.
Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve played on a 2018 Houston Astros team with eight players with an OPS+ of 100 or higher.
Mike Trout played on a 2018 Los Angeles Angels team with two other full-time starters with an OPS+ of 100 or higher.

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 murderers' 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, in 2018 he was MLB's most efficient base stealer with 20 or more steals, at 92.3% (24 steals in 26 attempts). For his career Trout's been successful 85% of the time, so 2018 was 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.

How good is Mike Trout, really? He was the senior member of the 2018 all-star team, with seven selections. But he was in the middle of his age 26 season. 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!

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). 

But what about active players who are still substantially ahead of Trout in WAR? 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 6.5 and still going strong when not injured. But according to average WAR, Trout is 50% better and should pass Kershaw in 2019. 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 health-wise or otherwise. For instance, he might get bored with being so great and pull a reverse Michael Jordan by heading off for the NBA!

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. At the time Judge had 7.6 career WAR and Trout had 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, has roughly half his career WAR and is falling further behind every season. Ditto for Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Buster Posey, et al.

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 134, which is 41 points below Trout's. Betts had one MVP-level season with 9.7 WAR before his admittedly great 2018 season. 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 keeps churning out WAR seasons for the ages.

Or take the "20-20 Club" of players with 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in the same season. In 2017, Trout reached the club in 98 games! The great Willie Mays did it six times in his storied career. Trout has done it five times already and seems poised to rack up more, with one of the best stolen base success rates in baseball history and the power to club 30 to 40 homers per year, if not more.

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 "highest octane" 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). Right now Trout is just behind Collins at 63.8, but that includes two years with substantial injury time that are likely to be replaced, raising Trout higher in the WAR7 rankings. While Ruth may be out of reach at 12.1 WAR per season, it's not hard to imagine Trout challenging Mays for second on this ultra-impressive list by averaging 10.5 WAR for his seven best years.

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

Mike Trout, 106.0 an 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
Mike Trout, 64.3 at the end of his age 26 season, with 4 more seasons to go!
10. Frank Robinson, 63.9
11. Ted Williams, 63.4
12. Rickey Henderson, 61.5
13. Al Kaline, 59.9
14. Johnny Bench, 59.6

Mike Trout recently 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.

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 becomes the first rookie to join the 30-30 club, with 30 homers and 30 steals.
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); he's the youngest unanimous MVP ever
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 becomes a member of the 30-30 club for a second time
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 becomes a member of the 20-20 club for a fifth time
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
2018 - Mike Trout wins his sixth Silver Slugger award.
2018 - Mike Trout finishes second in the AL MVP voting, leading the AL in offensive WAR (9.2), walks (130), intentional walks (25), times on base (279), OBP (.460), OPS (1.088), OPS+ (199), adjusted batting runs (73), adjusted batting wins (7.0), and offensive win % (.854)

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.

Cumulative WAR through Completion of Age 24 Season

(1) Mike Trout 48.5
(2) Ty Cobb 46.7 
(3) Mickey Mantle 40.9
(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
(9) Arky Vaughn 34.3
(10) Ted Williams 34.2 (*)

(*) 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.

Cumulative WAR through Completion of Age 25 Season

Mike Trout 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 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's a career year for virtually anyone else!

Trout has the highest "WAR floor" among the peak performers ...

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 (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
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.

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 Rodriguez
(#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.

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

If Mike Trout keeps up his torrid "WARpath," by the end of his age 27 season, he will have passed EVERY hall-of-fame centerfielder in major league baseball history, except 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"? Here are our projections. A plus sign indicates a hall-of-fame centerfielder. Names in italics are active players.

Player (years) WAR

Mike Trout (17) 157.3 projected at the end of his age 35 season
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.
Mike Trout (16) 152.3 projected at the end of his age 34 season
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.
Mike Trout (14) 134.3 projected at the end of his age 32 season
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.
Mike Trout (12) 114.3 projected at the end of his age 30 season
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+.
Mike Trout (9) 84.3 projected at the end of his age 28 season
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+.
Mike Trout (8) 74.3 projected at the end of his age 27 season
Carlos Beltran (20) 69.9 Carlos Beltran had a fine career, but his WAR has been declining recently
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.
Mike Trout (7) 64.3 actual at the end of his age 26 season
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.
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.
Curtis Granderson (16) 47.8 Curtis Granderson has had a nice career, but his WAR is more or less static now
Edd Roush+ (18) 45.2 Mike Trout passes his sixth hall-of-fame centerfielder at age 24. Edd Roush was a career .323 hitter.  
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.  
Andrew McCutcheon (11) 42.1 Andrew McCutcheon was the NL MVP in 2013 and he finished in the top five three other times
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.
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.

Centerfielder OPS+

Mike Trout 176
Mickey Mantle+ 172
Ty Cobb+ 168
Pete Browning 163
Lip Pike 158
Tris Speaker+ 157
Willie Mays+ 156
Joe DiMaggio+ 155
Benny Kauff 149
John O'Rourke 149
Hack Wilson+ 144
Mike Donlin 144
Billy Hamilton+ 141
Duke Snider+ 140
Wally Berger 138
Ken Griffy Jr.+ 136
Larry Doby+ 136
George Gore 136
Andrew McCutcheon 135
Jake Stenzel 134
Dutch Zwilling 134
Earl Averill+ 133
Jim Edmunds 132
Paul Hines 132
Fred Lynn 129
Jim Wynn 129
Josh Hamilton 129
Pete Reiser 128
Ellis Burks 126
Bug Holliday 126
Edd Roush+ 126
Earle Combs+ 125
Eric Davis 125
Rick Monday 125
Stan Spence 125
Cy Williams 125
Bernie Williams 125
Kirby Puckett+ 124
Bobby Murcer 124
Hugh Duffy+ 123
Cesar Cedeno 123
Matt Kemp 122
Dale Murphy 121
Chili Davis 121
Al Oliver 121
Chet Lemon 121
Lenny Dysktra 120
Andre Dawson+ 119
Carlos Beltran 119
Curtis Granderson 116
Grady Sizemore 115
Charlie Blackmon 114
Adam Eaton 114
Richie Ashburn+ 111
Max Carey+ 108
Ned Hanlon+ 102
Lloyd Waner+ 99

Top 10 All-Time OPS+ Regardless of Position

(1) Babe Ruth+ 206
(2) Ted Williams+ 190
(3) Barry Bonds 182 ---------- Inflated by cheating?
(4) Lou Gehrig+ 179
(5) Mike Trout 176
(6) Rogers Hornsby+ 175
(7) Mickey Mantle+ 172
(8) Dan Brouthers+ 171
(9) Shoeless Joe Jackson 170
(10) Ty Cobb+ 168
Joey Votto 155
Miguel Cabrera 151
Albert Pujols 149


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

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.

G.O.A.T.?

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.

Then in 2017 and 2018, Trout's OBP, OPS, OPS+ and WAR per game went up!

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 late twenties to mid-thirties). And great players do tend to remain productive much longer than average players. Here are some observations about WAR as great players age:

36 - Ted Williams hit .356 and slugged .703 with 6.9 WAR
36 - Stan Musial hit .351 with 6.1 WAR
37 - Ted Williams hit .345 with a .479 OBP and had 6.1 WAR
37 - Tris Speaker led the AL with a .479 OBP and had 6.5 WAR
38 - Babe Ruth had 34 homers and slugged .582 with 6.3 WAR
38 - Ted Williams hit .388, slugged .731 and had 9.5 WAR
39 - Hank Aaron had 40 homers, 96 RBI and 4.7 WAR
39 - Ted Williams led the AL in batting .328, OBP .458 and OPS 1.042 with 4.0 WAR
39 - Babe Ruth had a 160 OPS+ with 5.1 WAR
40 - Ty Cobb hit .357 with 4.4 WAR
40 - David Ortiz led the AL with .620 slugging, 127 RBI and had 5.2 WAR
40 - Willie Mays led the NL with .425 OBP, stole 23 bases while only being caught 3 times, and had 6.1 WAR
41 - Ted Williams hit .316 with 29 home runs and slugged .645 with 3.0 WAR
41 - Stan Musial hit .330 with 3.6 WAR
41 - Barry Bonds hit 26 homers and had a .454 OBP with 4.0 WAR
42 - Barry Bonds hit 28 homers, led the NL with .480 OBP, and had 3.4 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.

Batting Averages Since 1950

These are the top 20 career batting averages for players who played their entire careers after 1950. Mike Trout has the highest OPS+ and the second-highest slugging percentage on this list. So there is a strong case to be made that Trout is the best overall hitter of the last 70 years. We would have to go back to Ted Williams to find someone who hit over .300 with an OPS+ that high.

Player, Batting Average, Slugging Percentage, OPS+

Tony Gwynn .338, .459, 132
Wade Boggs .328, .415, 131
Rod Carew .328, .429, 131
Kirby Puckett .318, .477, 124
Vladimir Guerrero .318, .553, 140
Roberto Clemente .317, .475, 130
Jose Altuve .316, .455, 127
Todd Helton .316, .539, 133
Miguel Cabrera .316, .550, 151
Nomar Garciaparra .313, .521, 124
Larry Walker .313, .565, 141
Manny Ramirez .312, .585, 154
Edgar Martinez .312, .515, 147
Jackie Robinson .311, .474, 132
Ichiro Suzuki .311, .402, 107
Joey Votto .310, .529, 155
Derek Jeter .310, .440, 115
Magglio Ordonez .309, .502, 125
Mike Piazza .308, .545, 142
Mike Trout .308, .576, 176

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, Who is the NBA GOAT?

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