That seems like a no-brain statement, but I need to preface this writing by saying I was wrong. For years now, I’ve argued that Bryce Harper was the best player in the MLB. I enjoyed the flashiness of Harper opposed to Trout and that clouded my judgement.
I was wrong about that. Very wrong.
Mike Trout is the best player in the MLB right now and it’s not even close. He has no peers that are remotely in the same stratosphere. That’s how good he is and that’s saying something, as there is a plethora of good-to-great players in the MLB.
This season, Trout continues to show why he is the very best in the game today. He is currently on pace to have one of the best seasons in MLB history. Some argue that he can have a better season than Babe Ruth in 1923 and Barry Bonds in 2001, both of which are considered the best seasons ever.
To be 26-years old and in a conversation involving two of the best players ever is astounding. Yet, Trout is continuously mentioned with Hall of Famer after Hall of Famer.
Through the first 79 games of this season, Trout has a slash line of .325/.461/.657, ranking seventh, first and second respectively. He leads the way in OPS at 1.118. He is tied for first in home runs with 23 to go along with 48 RBIs and 62 runs scored.
He has a 6.1 WAR (wins above replacement), which leads the MLB by an entire point. Speaking of WAR, last season he passed 32 Hall of Famers on the all-time list.
During an eight-game stretch that culminated last week, Trout reached base 29 times in 36 plate appearances. He also batted .696 during that stretch. Those numbers are eye-popping and incredible.
One would think with a week like that, he would be named American League Player of the Week. Not so fast. Trout did not win that award, but that isn’t uncommon as he hasn’t won the Award since July 12, 2015. Yes, that’s three years since he won the award.
While he may not have won a Player of the Week Award since 2015, he made up for it by winning the 2016 AL MVP, the second of his career (2014 was the first).
Last week he played in career game number 1,000. He is in the same numbers talk of Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. After that same milestone, he has a better career average (.308) than Bonds and Griffey Jr. His 224 career home runs trail only Mays (231) after 1,000 games. Only Mickey Mantle has a higher on-base percentage than Trout than those on this list.
It is hard to fathom that Trout could possibly get any better than he already is, but yet he’s only 26-years old. He is in the midst of his prime years and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The only knock on Trout is the fact that he’s made the postseason just one time since his first full big league season in 2012.
During that series, Trout hit just 1-12, with his lone hit being a home run. This is the same season he won his first MVP, but had nothing to show for it once the bright lights were shining. Trout and the Angels were swept out of those playoffs.
The Angels are currently on the outside looking into the playoff picture. They trail the AL West-leading Houston Astros by seven games in the division and also trail the Seattle Mariners, another AL West foe, for the second wild card spot. There is still plenty of baseball to be played.
Regardless of postseason success, or in this case, lack thereof, Mike Trout is the best baseball player on planet earth.