Neyer: Can Mike Trout ever be the new face of baseball?

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on July 16, 2014:

Mike Trout is already the world’s greatest baseball player, and Derek Jeter has never been the world’s greatest player. Yes, he’s probably one of the three greatest shortstops who’s ever played, at least career-wise. But that status is due mostly to his brilliant consistency, rather than consistent brilliance.

All of which [Tom] Verducci must know, since he’s one of the baseball writers who never gave Jeter much support in Most Valuable Player balloting over the years. In Jeter’s long and brilliantly consistent career, his highest MVP finishes have been second place once, and third place twice. After this season, his third full season, Trout will quite likely have a first-place finish and two second-place finishes … and you can argue with some confidence that he’ll have been jobbed by the voters. Twice.

So I don’t believe Verducci was talking about performance. I think he was talking about the face of baseball thing. And I don’t believe that Mike Trout is ready for that job. Sure, Derek Jeter wasn’t much for quotes, either. But Jeter had a certain public grace and he played for a dynastic club in The Greatest City in the World and … well, he grew into it. Derek Jeter is essentially the last icon standing. Nobody really considered Jeter the face of baseball until everyone else either retired or got busted for drugs or just sort of faded away.

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Originally published: July 16, 2014. Last Updated: July 16, 2014.