Mike Trout is off to the best start to a career in MLB history and no one seems to care
By David Kelsey
Those who follow baseball are well aware of what Mike Trout has accomplished. Six-time all-star, two-time AL MVP, Rookie of the Year, two-time all-star game MVP, five-time Silver Slugger and Wilson AL Defensive Player of the Year. Trout is also the first player to finish in the top two in MVP voting in each of his first five full seasons. Despite the hardware Trout collects at the end of every season, the 26-year old is still often forgotten. Trout hasn’t won a Player of the Week award since July of 2015 and his last Player of the Month award was for the month of April of 2017.
Bryce Harper is the face of the MLB and is often compared with Trout. The two outfielders entered the league roughly the same time and are widely respected as the best hitters in the game. However, the media clings to everything Harper does and his upcoming free agency headlines national newspapers seemingly every week. Despite being regarded as equals by the majority of fans and media, Harper’s stats don’t come close to those of Trout.
In Trout’s 3,665 at-bats, the Angel has 1,127 hits, 224 homeruns, 617 RBI, 178 stolen bases and a .308 average. In 3,016 at-bats, Harper has 840 hits, 169 homeruns, 466 RBI, 68 stolen bases and a .279 average. The Angels outfielder even has better stats then some of the best to ever play the game. According to CBS sports, his OPS this season is at 1.155, a stat that Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez never amassed in a full season. Only Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby have achieved a 218 OPS+ in MLB history and Trout could join that elite group this season. In WAR, which I believe is the most important statistic in baseball, Trout is making history. He is already worth 60.8 Wins Above Replacement in his short career, the fourth-most in a player’s first eight seasons. When looking at WAR per-season, Trout has tallied 9.8 Wins Above Replacement per 162 games in his career, behind only the great Babe Ruth in MLB history.
So why is it that Trout doesn’t receive the same attention as Bryce Harper? It could be because he plays on the west coast and a large amount of fans are unable to stay up to watch him. However, he plays in Los Angeles and that was never a problem for Kobe Bryant or Magic Johnson. The real explanation for the MLB overlooking the New Jersey natives impeccable career is the lack of flash his game possesses. Trout doesn’t do a Harper hair flip when he hits a homerun or pop his chain when he steals a base like Javier Baez. He isn’t a physical specimen like Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton. Instead, he brings a blue-collar attitude to the game of baseball and simply goes about his business. He plays the game in a way Babe Ruth would be proud of.
Trout isn’t bothered by this lack of attention and it isn’t affecting his all-star status. He will continue to break records and quietly play his way into the hall of fame. Perhaps at his induction ceremony fans and media will realize they should have paid more attention to one of the greatest of all time.
About the Author: David Kelsey is a Junior at Virginia Tech studying Multimedia Journalism and Political Science. He is in his second year working with HokieVision, Virginia Tech Athletics video department.