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Mike Trout is first player to reach 10 WAR since Barry Bonds

Sep 10, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

Mike Trout Getty Images

The latest “Mike Trout is amazing” update is a doozy.

Trout’s big weekend–which included starting back-to-back games with leadoff homers–has propelled the 21-year-old Angels rookie to 10.0 Wins Above Replacement for the season.

That’s remarkable for a few reasons. One is that no other player, in either league, has more than 6.3 WAR this year. Beyond that, Trout wasn’t called up until April 28 and has only played 117 of a possible 140 games. And finally, the last position player to reach double-digit WAR was Barry Bonds in 2004.

Via Baseball-Reference.com, here’s a list of all the 10+ WAR seasons by position players since Trout was born in 1991:

                  YEAR      WAR
MIKE TROUT        2012     10.0
Barry Bonds       2004     10.3
Barry Bonds       2002     11.6
Barry Bonds       2001     11.6
Sammy Sosa        2001     10.1
Alex Rodriguez    2000     10.1
Cal Ripken Jr.    1991     11.3

And that’s it, that’s the whole list.

Assuming that he plays in each of the Angels’ remaining 22 games Trout is on pace to finish with 11.8 WAR, which would be the most by any player since Carl Yastrzemski had 12.0 WAR in 1967. And the only other players in baseball history to top 11.8 WAR in a season are Babe Ruth (three times) and Rogers Hornsby.

Mike Trout: RIDICULOUS.

  1. stex52 - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Wow. So you think the kid will stick?

    • bigleagues - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      Certainly it’s clear that he’s no fish out of water.

      (rimshot!)

  2. klbader - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Better watch out for the sophomore slump though. He’ll probably fall back to a 7.5 WAR player next year. Lame.

  3. Glenn - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Even more amazing considering his age and presumed lack of PEDs that just may have tainted some on that WAR list.

    • noodles42 - Sep 10, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      “tainted some of them”????? Try everyone on that list except Trout and Ripkin.

  4. spudatx - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    MVP! MVP! MVP!

    • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      You mean HOF! HOF! HOF!

      Kirby Puckett made the HOF with a 49 fWAR. Trout could conceivably pass that by age 25.

      • number42is1 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM

        wow… calling for HOF and not even here for a season yet. its gonna be funny when all the “Trout sent down to the minors” blogs come out next season.

      • stex52 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        Don’t take this wrong. I hope we are watching a historic talent in the making. But this is way too early. He could blow out an ACL next week and never fully come back. He could lose the rhythm for the curve ball. He could decide to quit and join a Trappist monastery.

        One year at a time, and enjoy what he has done.

      • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        It was a play on what the previous commenter wrote. I felt he was mimicking what Trout might hear at an Angels game. I wasn’t insinuating Trout was a hall of famer. You collectively chant for something that you want, not something that you already have. Trout already has the MVP.

        “Congratulations on being elected, Congratulations on being elected, Congratulations on being elected” doesn’t quite have the same fanatacism as “One more term, one more term, one more term”.

        What’s the next step beyond MVP? “HOF, HOF, HOF”

  5. capsfan19 - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    HGH BABY :P

    • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      of course someone named capsfan has to write in ALL CAPS.

      Also, you’re a dick.

      • kopy - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        And is a Washington Capitals fan that prefers the Harper brand of phenom.

      • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        Yeah, I got that. It just seemed ironic, don’t you think?

  6. chill1184 - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    How can you not like this kid (with the exception of A’s, Rangers and Mariners fans)?

    • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      And Ray’s fans. Our 2010 1st rounder just got suspended for testing positive for freaking meth. Our competetion’s 2010 1st rounder is the greatest player ever.

      (I still like the kid though)
      (The meth head, not Trout)
      (Okay, Trout too)

    • lumpyf - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      I’m a Mariners fan and I love Trout. You think Zduriencik wished he had drafted Mike instead of Dustin Ackley, he with the 624 ops, with the 2nd pick in the 2009 draft?

    • jon623 - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      Dude, I’m a Mariner’s fan, always have been… and I still think Mike Trout is freaking awesome. He plays hard, he plays fast, and he does it all with a smile and a true love for this game.

      Look out folks, he’s gone el fuego.

  7. sdelmonte - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    So in other words, without him the Angels are below .500? I don’t know if there is any way to prove that, but WAR + gut feelings tell me that sounds about right.

    • sirrealrainman - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      Yea, no way to prove it.
      Yet watching the team all year, it’s absolutely positively a no-brainer that the Angels would be below .500 without him.
      Vernon Wells injuring his thumb was the greatest thing to happen to the 2012 Angels – which led to the next greatest thing – one of the most impressive individual seasons ever (by a rookie to boot!)

    • scatterbrian - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      They were 7-13 when they called him up, 69-48 since…

  8. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    here’s a list of all the 10+ WAR seasons by position players since Trout was born in 1991:

    Is there a reason Arod’s ’01 season wasn’t picked up? The link isn’t populating for me, probably b/c I don’t have a bref subscription.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      err ’00, not ’01

  9. rickeye9 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    our we talking the complete war using defense too? if that’s the case, how would we know Babe Ruth’s? did we track his range and whatnot?

    • dondada10 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Great point. IMO, WAR before 2002 is mere speculation.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        B.I.S. was tracking defense back in the 80s, and if you do some searching Rally/Sean Foreman have discussed how they handled dWAR for players before that.

    • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      When Ruth played, ground rule doubles were considered homeruns. This could have a big impact. Trout gets high marks for taking home runs away. Maybe Ruth actually allowed them, even when he wasn’t pitching.

      • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        6 down, none up. I guess I’m wrong.

        Wait, no I’m not.

      • dondada10 - Sep 10, 2012 at 7:52 PM

        I think the homerun oddity was that if it went out fair, but hooked and landed foul, it was foul.

      • hittfamily - Sep 10, 2012 at 8:16 PM

        That is true. It was also any ball beyond the wall. If it snuck under a bad fence. Home run. Bounced over, homerun etc. I was only for his first or second season, but the rule was still there.

    • pipkin42 - Sep 10, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      And year-to-year WAR is tricky due to the small defensive sample. He’s a great defender – the number itself isn’t super ironclad, though.

      • dondada10 - Sep 10, 2012 at 8:20 PM

        In fairness, WAR is defensively rooted in UZR. While UZR can fluctuate wildly for some positions (See Mark Texieria who’s had some up and down numbers but always passes the eye test), center, short, and second are usually fairly true numbers.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 11, 2012 at 8:12 AM

        fWAR uses UZR, bWAR doesn’t. And Baseball Prospectus’s WARP uses a 3rd.

  10. dwrek5 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Is this going to make Clint Eastwood start talking to a chair again?

  11. vallewho - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Was Cal roiding? I mean he’s no Mike Trout, and the others on the list are roiders…not that there’s anything wrong with that IMHO.

  12. hushbrother - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Amazing, but to be taken with a grain of salt. Clearly Trout (and Ripken) gets a big WAR boost for defense. Even if WAR does accurately represent Trout’s D, the Angels still have Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter, great center fielders in their own right, available to play the position. The “replacement level” for center field defense on Trout’s own team is so high, how can he be so far above it?

    • garik16 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Uh no. First of all, even if Trout was simply an average fielder, and thus had ZERO defensive rWAR, he’d STILL LEAD THE AMERICAN LEAGUE BY A WIN.

      That’s not something to be taken with a grain of salt.

      Second, WAR doesn’t adjust replacement level for team, because it’s meant to be a measure that you can use for the whole league. When comparing Trout to Robinson Cano, why should you ding Trout for his team having a few other good defensive options in CF (I don’t think Hunter is great at this point incidentally) – if he is still playing great D? That makes no sense. This point you’re making makes some sense when figuring out where the Angels would be themselves without Trout, but not for comparing league leaders in value provided.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        When comparing Trout to Robinson Cano, why should you ding Trout for his team having a few other good defensive options in CF (I don’t think Hunter is great at this point incidentally) – if he is still playing great D? That makes no sense.

        This makes total sense. Just think about it, Gehrig wasn’t really one of the best players ever because he had Ruth on his team.

        /sarcasm

    • garik16 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      Also, your case with Ripken is faulty too – In 1991, Ripken had 9 WAR from BATTING ALONE (he hit .323/.374/.566 as a SS before the steroid era). That of course led the league even before you took into account his defense.

      He’d never hit even close to that level again, but seriously, don’t dare try and impugn upon that season.

  13. Stiller43 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    The only people on that list (except for cal) were cheating, too.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      Jealousy alert.

  14. randygnyc - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Trout is the real deal. We’ll see what adjustments the league makes for next year. If trout can then readjust, and stay healthy for a long time (of course, no guarantees), we could be looking at a legendary player. The tools are there. And they translate into performance. Some players perform well without the tools, but that doesn’t last long. And some players with the tools never reach their potential. WOW!!

  15. ptfu - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Mike Trout’s 2012 is good great legendary.

    Barring a slump, he’ll outproduce everyone else in his outfield team rookie class league lifetime.

    Imagine if he’d been an Angel on Opening Day…

    • dondada10 - Sep 10, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      I know he plays center and has way more power, but the only guy I’ve ever seen get the entire bat head through the zone on every swing was Pete Rose.

  16. windward1998 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    The kid is having a great year and I hope this is the beginning of a great career. It still kills me that after the weekend Trout had, Harper still got most of the press. Harper is doing well, but neither his offense or defense is on the same level with Trout this season. They are only a year apart in age.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      They are only a year apart in age.

      Except that year apart is huge. Here’s their respective age 19 season:

      Harper – .260/.331/.454, 0.785 OPS, 110 OPS+
      Trout – .220/.281/.390, 0.672 OPS, 88 OPS+

      Yes, what Trout is doing right now is historic, as it’s probably the best age 20 season in MLB history; however, what Harper is doing at age 19 is better than what Trout was doing at age 19. It’s really not up for debate.

      Also, Trout is getting plenty of press as well…

      • apollocreed21 - Sep 11, 2012 at 7:36 PM

        And Harper has had the opportunity to play every day, while Trout was only allowed to play 3 times a week. Comparing their 19-year-old seasons is somewhat pointless since one guy was given the opportunity to get regular AB’s, while the other guy was only given sporadic playing time. Harper should be one of the best players in baseball within the next 5 years; Trout is the best player in baseball right now.

  17. cosanostra71 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    look forward to watching him roam center field at Angels Stadium for years to come!

  18. Mark - Sep 10, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Trout only has 8.5 WAR according to Fangraphs. I guess you’re using baseball-reference WAR, which isn’t normally as effective as Fangraphs WAR. Still cool that he’s hit 10 in such little play time though.

  19. davemac32001 - Sep 10, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Let’s get some perspective. There has to be something at least slightly wrong with WAR when it is possible that Trout is putting up the 5th or 6th best season in MLB history. I mean, he’s great – no escaping that, but really? Mickey Mantle had what, 8 seasons better than this? The Mick has a career OPS+ better than this one Trout season. The kid is great, and he may be a HOF member one day, but lets take a deep breath here…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 11, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      The kid is great, and he may be a HOF member one day, but lets take a deep breath here…

      Well he’s getting a large boost due to his defensive rating (+2.7 bWAR); however, even if we take that out it’s 7.4 bWAR offensively (prorated to 10.2 if he played a full season like this). The problem with using just OPS+ as a marker is it eliminates all the other facets of the game (base running, position, and defense for instance). Looking at Mantle’s 8 season’s of 170 OPS+ or greater, he had the following oWAR:

      11, 10.4, 10.3, 7.4, 9, 8.1, 6.4 and 5.4. So 2 years below what Trout has done so far, one year matching, and 4 years above him. Looks right to me.

  20. davemac32001 - Sep 12, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Base running, position and defense? Yeah, Mantle pretty much sucked at those things… lol

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