Exactly one week from today – January 18, 2017 – the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame.
Among the 34 eligible players – including Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, and many others – you will not find, any active Major Leaguers.
… but that’s not exactly what I meant.
And with all of the attention surrounding the draft, I’ve noticed an unusual question posed more than one time: Is Mike Trout already worthy?
Now, of course, Mike Trout isn’t anywhere close to being Hall of Fame eligible (among many requirements, a player needs to have been an active MLBer for ten years and a non-active one for another five), but that’s not really the question, is it? What we want to find out is something closer to “If he met all of the requirements, but stopped playing right now, would Mike Trout get elected into the Hall of Fame?”
Well, at Angels.com, Richard Justice (who’s apparently not a judge), suggests that Trout already has the clout (because he’s apparently a poet) to be in the Hall of Fame. Let’s take a look at the root of his argument.
“Trout’s 48.5 career Wins Above Replacement is already higher than a handful of Hall of Famers … and with anything resembling his performance thus far in the 2017 season” Trout will launch make it into the top 100 of all time. Okay, that’s a pretty convincing start. With 48.5 WAR, Trout has already passed two prominent Hall of Famers (well, more than just these two, but we’ll start here):
- Jim Rice (47.4 WAR)
- Lou Brock (45.2 WAR), and
In addition, Trout’s slash line, which adds up to a career .409 wOBA, completely obliterates each of Rice (.375 wOBA) and Brock (.336 wOBA). Of course, WAR isn’t everything and Trout has only played five full seasons, but if his next five seasons are like his last five, Trout will find himself with the 22nd most WAR of all-time … at just 30 years old.
Plus, Trout already has more MVP wins (3) and Silver Slugger awards (5) than Brock and Rice combined (1 MVP, 2 Silver Sluggers) – and that’s not counting the three second-place finishes for Trout in the MVP race. But that’s not all.
In Craig Edwards’ search for active Hall of Famers (FanGraphs), he found that Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, and Ichiro Suzuki all figure to be something just short of “mortal locks” for enshrinement at Cooperstown. From there, another 10 or so active players stand a chance. And then, there’s Mike Trout, as usual, in a category all on his own.
According to Edwards, Trout “doesn’t need his 30s” to prove that he’s a deserving Hall of Famer. In fact, with just one more good (not even “great,” by Trout’s standards) season, Trout should be a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame.
After all, as Nicholas Stellini points out, Trout has already left his stamp in the history books:
If Mike Trout adds just 1 WAR this year, he'll already be among the 30 most-productive center fielders of all time. https://t.co/kvQM2QTKRP
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 10, 2017
Think about that, seriously. Mike Trout has essentially already become one of the best center fielders in the history of the game, and he hasn’t even played his age 25 season yet. That’s not a guy on pace for a trip to Cooperstown; that’s a guy who’s already booked a ticket.
Eventually, Mike Trout will become an official Hall-of-Famer, but by most standards, he already is.