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Mike Trout is, once again, the best player in baseball

Jun 18, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

Mike Trout AP AP

It took a little while because he got off to what was for him at least a slow start to the season, but for the third straight year Angels center fielder Mike Trout leads all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement.

Trout is hitting .311 with 16 homers, 39 total extra-base hits, 9 steals (without being caught), and a career-high 1.008 OPS in 66 games, along with his usual outstanding defense. He leads the American League with a .610 slugging percentage and 1.008 OPS, and ranks second in on-base percentage (.397) behind only Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.

Add it all up and here’s what the Fan Graphs leaderboard for Wins Above Replacement across both leagues looks like:

MIKE TROUT          4.7
Troy Tulowitzki     4.7
Alex Gordon         4.1
Giancarlo Stanton   3.8
Andrew McCutchen    3.4

Trout also led all of baseball in WAR last season with 10.4 and two seasons ago with 10.0. He is currently on pace for 11.0 this season. (Note: Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is also really, really good and also having a really, really awesome season over in the National League.)

Perhaps the Baseball Writers Association of America will find a way to avoid giving him the American League MVP award again, but for the third consecutive season–and third time in his three full seasons as a big leaguer–Trout is the best all-around player in baseball. And in just two more months he’ll turn 23 years old.

  1. hojo20 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    He’s better than the Red Sox OF combined.

    • Balladeer - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      He’s literally 15 times better than the entire Padres offense.

      Trout – 4.7 fWAR
      Padres Offense – .3 fWAR

  2. chill1184 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Trout is awesome

  3. crispybasil - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    “And in just two more months he’ll turn 23 years old.” What am I doing with my life (27)?

    • chacochicken - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      Not being Mike Trout. Just like the rest of us. I live vicariously through him but wagering money on outcome of games he participates in and on the prop bets that the odds makers can’t seem to top.

    • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      nothing wrong. Look, we get older, there are always people younger, there will always be very accomplished people. there are some that will be younger. its not a big deal.

      The alternative is not doing something more with you life, the alternative is being dead.

      You’re doing just fine.

      • bfunk1978 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        That was uplifting and encouraging. Thanks for running the HBT Support Group.

    • tbird05 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      I have similar thoughts from time to time. My problem has been that I have tried to become great at things that do not come natural to me. Since then, I have embraced what I am “naturally” good at, and spend time perfecting my craft. Being a CPA is not as glamorous as hitting the long ball, but at least it comes with relative ease and I enjoy being good at it.

      • pauleee - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        MVCPA?

      • chinahand11 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        No prob, I think we all do that. I am a nurse instead of a second baseman for the Red Sox (I’m sure Pedroia was worried). That’s life, baby.

      • tbird05 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Now I have to change my business card. That is awesome. By the way…translation, CPA = Continual Pain in the…armpit.

      • jwbiii - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        WARCPA!

    • bfunk1978 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      It’s OK man. The key to success is finding something you enjoy doing, that you do well, and can get paid for. I found that I really kinda like going to work now because for the last year or so I’ve been doing some stuff I’m good at (software QA/database admin/technical writer) and I get paid for it. I’m living the dream every bit as much as Trout. Just a hundred and forty million dollars less.

    • maddog11896 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      I always think about that kind of stuff. I talk with my buddy about how when I was 16, I was in school slacking off, and meanwhile there were kids in the Dominican Republic getting signed by people playing professional baseball. Now I’m 18, at home hardly working for the summer, meanwhile there;s kids younger than me that got picked in this years draft.

  4. clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    This may be the year, after all, since he began heating up, the Angles began winning.

    Plus they will be a playoff team either the wild card or AL west winners

    • johnnysoda - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      I don’t like the Angles’ chances that much this year. The players are pretty obtuse out there.

      • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        Well I don’t think you have an acute understanding of their Pythagorean record.

      • infieldhit - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        They’ve been all right. Certainly a 180-degree change from last season.

  5. tbird05 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    I know it must be fun to make a ton of money playing the game you love, but it makes it so much more fun when you are really, really, really good at it. For instance, I am sure Dan Uggla has fun counting his money, but I am also pretty sure he hates his job right now.

    Trout will be a legend.

    • bfunk1978 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      I agree. Lots of guys probably super frustrated and taking solace in their dollars. BJ Upton, Justin Verlander (recently, anyway), plenty of others.

  6. thenaturalmevs - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    He’s the most fun watch player in baseball. I am gay for him.

    • nbjays - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      TMI

    • scrot7 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      I would perform a trombone on Trout.

      • thenaturalmevs - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        That’s all? It’s Mike Trout. He deserves more than a Rusty!

  7. APBA Guy - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    I’ve seen Trout hit at least 3 HR’s off ankle-high pitches this year, just total golf shots. And all of them were smoked. Every time he does that I’m totally amazed.

    • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      And if he singles with on one ahead of him, I assume he is taking second.

      Its maddening from an outsiders perspective.

  8. 950003cups - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    That’s the how we roll in the N.J!!

    • tuberippin - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      Except almost never at all, which is why Mike Trout was an overlooked prospect coming out of Vineland…

  9. chiadam - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Gleeman had to stalk WAR rankings before declaring Trout the best player in the game? Does that mean Trout will no longer be the best player if he falls to second in WAR? What if he’s second for four days? Is he not the best player for those four days? He either is the best or he isn’t.

    Trout is the best, but he has been all season long.

    • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      WAR ranking is dumb, we all get that. saying his 4.7 is better than someone elses 4.6, 4.5, even 4.1 is silly. He knows that. (I mean really, we have a good sample of defensive numbers at this point, or any point, in a season?)

      what he is saying is that the concern about the league “figuring” trout out was premature.

  10. buddysguys - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Baseball Writers Association of America is a joke.

    • tuberippin - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      More like BWAAhahaha.

  11. ebrownwareagle - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Nooooo SECRET WHO they want to Be The Face Of Baseball!

  12. phillysports1 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    @ebrownwareagle

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  13. aceinthehole12 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    He’s amazing. As an A’s fan I hate that he’s going to be in the AL West for a while, but I really enjoy watching him play. He might become one of those players we tell our kids/grand kids about.

  14. psunick - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Trout is awesome, no doubt.

    But I would love an explanation on the WAR calculation, as it applies to fielding (UZR): Josh Donaldson has a fielding UZR (Fangraphs) of 10.7, and Andrew McCutchen has a -6.3.

    Yet, Donaldson has a fielding percentage of .953, and Cutch is .970. Huh?

    It’s pretty easy to figure offensive WAR numbers; but the lack of transparency in the reporting of fielding data makes one lean toward cynicism.

    • zzalapski - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Short answer: fielding percentage on its own is a poor indicator of defensive ability, because it doesn’t take into account the plays the fielder missed as a result of poor positioning.

      Also, you’d expect a 3B to have a lower fielding percentage than an OF, as the former has to field more ground balls than the latter.

      • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Also, there is a lag with the advance defensive stats. and donaldson has made 6 errors this week

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      Yet, Donaldson has a fielding percentage of .953, and Cutch is .970. Huh?

      Field% is merely did the player make an error on a play or an out. If you have the range of the Washington Monument, say a la Derek Jeter, you won’t make a lot of plays because you hardly get to any ground balls. But if you have the range of Trout, or Cutch, or Simmons you have far more opportunities for errors because they get to balls most mortals can’t dream of.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        And here is an explanation on how fangraphs handles defense:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-fangraphs-uzr-primer/

      • tmc602014 - Jun 18, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Dude, monument is 555 feet tall and 55 feet wide. Not much gets by the Monument.

      • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        But can Monument go to its left?

  15. tn16 - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    I know that they would never do this but just throwing it out there. What would it take to get mike trout in a trade? Sure he is the best player in the MLB but is there a chance that a team could basically throw there farm at them just to get trout, think about it. If you could get a real ace a great young player, and a couple top prospects would a team ever be able to pry trout away? It’s one of those questions that come up at the bar and is argued over hours

    • zzalapski - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      1. Mike Trout is 22 years old, which makes him younger than many top prospects.
      2. Whereas prospects *can* be good players, Trout is already (as the post indicates) the best player in baseball.

      The Marlins may have a shot at putting together your hypothetical package, but Miami’s too cheap for his contract.

  16. lew24 - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    And he is on pace to strikeout over 160 times this year!

    • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      well, they need to fix his swing then!

  17. ahrmon - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    What a relief. Now you guys have an excuse to clutch your pearls when he doesn’t win MVP.

  18. tmc602014 - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    Thumbs up to the HBT commenters. The philosophy of life, geometry puns, cogent arguments and explanations, it’s really exciting.

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