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May 1, 2018 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America

Max Rosenfeld

Believe Me, Mike Trout is Remarkably Underrated

What Mike Trout has accomplished by the age of 26 is nothing short of remarkable. Is it possible that we are witnessing the exploits of the greatest player to ever set foot on the diamond?

At just 26 years old, Mike Trout is one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. This is no longer a debate.

Not only do our eyes constantly provide us with this reminder, but the numbers irrefutably support it as fact. Trout is in the midst of one of the best seasons of all-time and it is about time he starts receiving the appreciation he deserves. Below are some of the most impressive statistics of Trout’s career.

Trout is currently on pace for a 14.3 WAR season…the highest single-season WAR by a position player is 14.1 by Babe Ruth in 1923 (courtesy of John Buccigross)

Anytime you start mentioning a player in the same breath as The Great Bambino you know he must be doing something significant. In this case, it’s that Trout is on pace to have that greatest statistical season in the history of baseball. Consider that there have been 94 seasons for somebody to top Ruth’s mark since he accomplished the feat and that the next closest is Carl Yastrzemski’s 12.5 WAR in 1967. Trout’s pace is even more impressive. Even Barry Bonds historic 2001 campaign in which he slugged 73 home runs and batted .328/.515/.863 amassed just an 11.9 WAR.

This season, Trout has already passed Joe Mauer, David Ortiz, Joey Votto and seven Hall of Famers (Luis Aparicio, Bill Dickey, Joe Medwick, Enos Slaughter, Billy Herman, Bill Terry, and Wee Willie Keeler) in career WAR. (courtesy of Jon Tayler)

Lest we forget that Trout made his Major League debut in July 2011. WAR is certainly not the be all end all statistic, but it is hard to ignore the margin by which Trout is seemingly lapping the field. Ortiz and Votto are near locks for the Hall of Fame, and Mauer has about a 60% chance of being enshrined in Cooperstown one day. The fact that Trout has already surpassed their career WARs after only six full seasons of baseball is mind-boggling.

Mike Trout leads all MLB position players in fWAR since 2007. He made his debut in 2011. (courtesy of Ted Berg)

Just think about this — Trout gave his competition a four-year head start and has still managed to surpass them all in fWAR. There have been so many great position players since 2007, such as Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper, and Jose Altuve, but none of them have been nearly as effective as Trout in that time. It’s amazing that this man has only made one career postseason appearance.

Mike Trout has come first in MLB in WAR in each of his eligible seasons.

This is the last one about WAR, but are you serious? The level of consistency that Trout has displayed is nothing short of remarkable

Trout is 14th all-time in career stolen base percentage (84.16%)

This simply speaks to how complete of a player Trout is. Not only does he have 40-plus home run type of power, he is one of the best runners the game has to offer. His 84.16% conversion percentage is fifth among active players, putting him ahead of guys like Billy Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jose Reyes. Absolutely unreal for a man listed a 6’2″ 235 lbs.

According to Baseball-Reference, the four batters with the most similar statistics through age 25 are Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr., Mickey Mantle, and Hank Aaron.

Again, this is some rare company. Trout’s performance has undoubtedly placed him alongside some of the best to ever step on a baseball diamond. And because of the holistic success, he’s achieved, Trout is already garnering some conversation as the Greatest of All Time.

Mike Trout plate appearances to 10 home runs:  2012 – 266, 2013 – 214, 2014 – 212, 2015 – 152, 2016 – 176,  2017 – 143 2018 – 106

Trout has improved in the power department in each of his seasons in the Major Leagues. At just 26 years old, the argument can be made that Trout is not yet even in his physical peak. It’s entirely possible that Trout will only gain power in years to come, meaning he could be a real threat to become baseball’s all-time home run leader if he can maintain the consistency he’s known for.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s career-high wRC+: 164… Mike Trout’s CAREER wRC+: 169

Weighted runs created plus is a statistic that considers factors such as ballpark and era, with league average being 100. It tries to give a measure of how many runs a player can create compared to league average. Trout’s career average in wRC+ is 5% better than Griffey’s, a first ballot Hall of Famer. Wow.

Trout already has 1,070 career hits

Trout is the only active player besides Jose Altuve that has any real chance of reaching 3,000 career hits. This kind of bat to ball ability along with the speed and power is unprecedented.

Trout currently leads MLB in Defensive Runs Saved (5) (courtesy of Jeff Fletcher)

Talk about a complete player. Trout has always been a competent center fielder thanks to his athleticism, but his goal coming into this season was to improve defensively. Currently rated as the best defensive outfielder in baseball, I’d say he’s off to a pretty good start.

Main Photo: May 1, 2018 – Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America

Max is a student at Saint Joseph's University where he is a Communication Studies major. He is a contributing writer for Baseknock MLB and the host of the Payoff Pitch Podcast, which airs every Tuesday morning.

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