Photo courtesy of Sporting News
By: Ross Sutton
After being drafted 25th overall by the Angels in the 2009 draft, Mike Trout has been nothing less than a superstar. Since making his major league debut in 2011, Trout has racked up 1,068 hits, 211 home runs, and 170 stolen bases, with a .306 batting average and a .410 on base percentage. Trout won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2012 and has already won two MVP awards and has been in the top five of the MVP voting six times despite only being 26 years old. To go even further with the statistical anomaly that is Mike Trout, he has a higher career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) than Manny Machado and Bryce Harper COMBINED. Trout’s career WAR to this point is 56.5, whereas Machado’s is 29.4 and Harper’s is 26.7. To be fair, Trout has played about one more season in his career than Machado or Harper as Trout has played 949 games compared to Machado and Harper, who have played 787 and 792 games, respectively. Despite the slightly longer career, this is still unbelievable as Trout is always put in the same “superstar” category as Machado and Harper even though this seems to be selling Trout short.
The only downside to Trout’s career has been the Angels’ lack of ability to get to the playoffs. As of this season, Trout has only played in three postseason games, when the Angels played the Royals in the 2014 ALDS. In this small sample size, Trout only had one hit in fifteen plate appearances. This year seems to be different though, as the Angels have played extremely solid baseball in 2018 and are 16-9 to this point. One of the main reasons for the Angels great record has been rookie phenom Shohei Ohtani, who has taken the league by storm and his play has been one of the biggest storylines this year. Ohtani has been inconsistent to this point in the season, but he has shown signs of dominance numerous times. It has been pretty crazy to see Trout play second fiddle to Ohtani in terms of media attention despite the fact that Trout has been spectacular this season. I realize much of this attention has come from Ohtani’s ability to both hit and pitch at the major league level, but I still believe Trout is being horribly overlooked.
Since Trout is such a professional, he is probably more focused on getting back to the postseason than getting the attention he deserves. After getting a brief look at Trout in the majors in 2011, the Angels made a splash in the offseason and signed Albert Pujols to a ten-year, $240M contract. Then, they also signed pitcher C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5M contract in order to bolster the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Angels, Wilson did not pan out and has not pitched for the club since 2015. The Pujols signing has not been worth the money they paid him as his career batting average is sixty points lower with the Angels compared to the time he spent with the Cardinals. The power numbers have been pretty good for Pujols during his time in Los Angeles, but he still has three years left on his expensive contract after this season and his body already seems to be breaking down. Luckily though, this year feels different in Los Angeles, as the Angels have been great this year and they look like legitimate playoff contenders. Baseball needs Trout in the playoffs as any game instantly becomes more watchable when he is in it. Hopefully, this will be the year the Angels get back to the postseason and Trout can be on display for the whole country to see.
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com
Contract details courtesy of spotrac.com
Follow @Nosebleed_MLB for more!