There was a great post on Reddit this weekend. It linked to this Baseball-Reference page highlighting the WAR leaders among active players. Even though Ichiro retired this year, he’s still listed there, and he has been passed by Mike Trout in career WAR.
If you’ve been following Trout during his brief yet already HOF worthy career, then you know how well he rates in WAR. The worst thing about Trout is that he’s not flashy enough to garner outrageous attention from mainstream media. Instead, he just does everything - hitting, defense, base running - really, really, really well. That gets captured in a stat like WAR.
Entering 2018 Trout already had more career WAR than 77 (!!!!) hall of famers. It’s so outrageous and we hear Trout facts like this all the time now that we’ve become numb to them, but they remain ridiculous. Hearing that Trout had passed Ichiro, however, really caught my eye. Sure, Ichiro was already 27 when he came over MLB, but he also had 10 straight seasons of 200 hits with a .300 batting average. Trout is only 26 and he’s already more accomplished. Insanity.
If all this wasn’t enough, Trout is having the best year of his career thus far. And according to this Ringer blog, he’s on track to have the best year ever for a position player. While Trout’s offensive numbers (.303 BA, 1.121 OPS, 19 HR, 13 SB) are tremendous, it’s his defense that’s helping him chase Babe Ruth. Right now Trout is on pace for 14.6 bWAR, which would best Ruth’s 14.1 mark set in 1923.
It was cute when Mookie Betts was getting hyped as the best player in baseball last month, but let this serve as a reminder that this is still Trout’s world. The rest of us are just living in it.