Gleeman: Mike Trout’s first 50 WARP

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on May 24, 2017:

Consistent greatness in sports is incredibly difficult to achieve. There are off years and injuries and aging and all sorts of other factors conspiring to keep athletes from remaining at the very top of their sport for long stretches. And yet in the rare instances when someone comes along and actually does it, they’re often taken for granted eventually. Michael Jordan won “only” five MVP awards despite most media, fans, and players agreeing that he was the best player for perhaps twice that many seasons, because on some level a fatigue set in. The best player in the world being the best player in the world became monotonous.

Mike Trout is the best baseball player in the world and has been for a while now. He’s completed five full seasons and, in my opinion, deserved no fewer than four and possibly as many as five MVP awards. He actually received “only” two, finishing runner-up in 2012, 2013, and 2015. I’m not here to relitigate those votes, in part because it’s a well-worn subject by this point and in part because Trout is bigger than MVP awards. Whether he ends up winning three or six or nine, his standing among the inner-circle of all-time greats will be secure. Trout is a generational talent to whom future greatness will forever be compared.

But just in case, Trout has apparently decided to take it upon himself to avoid causing that Jordan-style fatigue in others by upping his performance even further. Trout has gotten off to strong starts every year since he became a regular in 2012, but this season is on another level. He’s hitting .342/.465/.753 in 42 games, leading both leagues in on-base percentage and slugging percentage while posting an MLB-high 1.218 OPS that would top his previous career-high by more than 200 points. It seems crazy to say about someone who has been the best since age 20, but Trout appears to be entering his prime at age 25.

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Originally published: May 24, 2017. Last Updated: May 24, 2017.