The term “G.O.A.T”, short for “Greatest of All-Time”, is used frequently within the sports community today. When you hear that, certain names come to mind depending on the sport. For baseball, you think of names like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, etc. Nowadays, you hear Mike Trout.
Mike Trout will turn 30 years old in August, and he is already arguably the greatest player to ever play the game of baseball. The center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels has played nine full seasons.
Trout is a baseball prodigy. Everyone that knows baseball knows Trout has been the top guy on the Angels for years.
Fans on the West coast are fortunate enough to watch Trout every season. Fans on the East coast, however, are not as fortunate. For those fans, including myself, Trout is always a player we hear about but never see his games.
Besides mini-clip highlights on social media and SportsCenter, Angels games are rarely nationally televised. We rarely get to see him in the playoffs. The Angels have only made it once in his tenure, back in 2014.
It’s easy to just hop on the bandwagon and say Trout is the best player in baseball. But if you really take a minute to look at his numbers, it is clear Trout is an artist.
Let’s take a look.
Always on Top of the Leaderboards
Embed from Getty Images
The numbers Trout has put up, and is still putting up, are special.
He already has 1,380 hits and is about to turn 30. He averages about 180 hits a year and is projected to pass the 3,000 mark before his career is done. Trout has mashed 302 home runs, averaging an absurd 39 a year. 500 homers is easily in reach considering his consistency.
Trout’s career batting average is .304. His career slugging percentage and OPS are .582 and 1.000, respectively. Those SLG and OPS numbers are the active career leaders for those categories.
He’s a three-time MVP, finishing top five in all nine of his full seasons on the team. In 2012 he won Rookie of the Year, and also happened to finish second in MVP voting. Trout’s finished top two in seven of those nine seasons, and arguably should’ve won the award more than three times.
Add in eight Silver Slugger awards and eight All-Star selections, and Trout has the best consistency in the sport. He has led the entire MLB in a hitting statistic almost every year. He led in runs scored 3 times, steals and walks once, and OBP and OPS three times.
Trout was rewarded for his pure dominance when he signed the then-largest contract in sports history last summer.
Trout Secured the Bag, But Will It Cost Him a Ring?
Embed from Getty Images
The Angels locked up Trout for likely the remainder of his career when they agreed on a 14-year, $427 million contract. He’ll be roughly 43 years old by the time that deal expires, so he’ll most-likely retire as a member of the Angels.
Locking up Trout to a deal like that basically gives you the rest of his career to win as many World Series rings as possible. But if his first 10 years on the team have shown us anything, it won’t be easy.
The Angels have acquired some talent in recent years to try and build around Trout. Trout and third basemen Anthony Rendon lead the team, followed by pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani and guys like Justin Upton, Kurt Suzuki and veteran Albert Pujols. Their main thing holding them back though, is the pitching.
You need good pitching to win in baseball, and the Angels just haven’t had that in Trout’s tenure. Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana are quality starters, but the Angels have no coveted ace.
The Dodgers are LA’s team, even more now after winning their first World Series since ’88 and having built essentially a super team.
Many people were puzzled when Trout decided to stay with the Angels last year. He couldn’t have gotten that big of a deal anywhere else, but he still would have gotten one of the biggest in the sport. And signing with even a slightly better team automatically boosts that franchise’s World Series odds.
So now when you look at it… sure, Trout got the contract he deserves. But at what cost?
The majority of fans don’t see the Angels winning a World Series anytime soon, considering the number of already elite teams around the MLB. So unfortunately, Trout’s loyalty to the LA Angels franchise might have cost him the opportunity to win a ring.
Embed from Getty Images
If he never winds up winning, Mike Trout will without a doubt go down as the best baseball player ever to never win a World Series ring.
Regardless, Trout’s individual resume will speak for itself when it’s time to enter the Hall of Fame. Baseball’s a sport built more around individual performance, and Trout has arguably the most consistent individual performance throughout an entire career ever.
He’s got all the tools you look for in a baseball player. Contact, power, speed, fielding, and as Billy Beane once said, “he gets on base”. Trout is a class act. He never gets in trouble, and never really seems to be doing anything else but playing baseball. And not only playing it, but playing it better than anyone.
And the saddest thing of all is that the majority of baseball fans don’t get to truly appreciate this player’s greatness. I’m sure I speak for almost everyone when I say we all want to see Mike Trout and his team go on a World Series run. He deserves a ring, and hopefully he gets it one day.
But until then, Mike Trout will remain the greatest baseball player we never see.