Last night, Mike Trout and the Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 4-1. In that game, Trout went 1-3 with a walk and his MLB-leading (well, tied with Aaron Judge) 15th home run of the season.
Check it out:
2016’s AL MVP is already making a BIG case for a repeat. pic.twitter.com/ONXF4CzLas
— MLB (@MLB) May 23, 2017
That’s an awful lot of home runs for a player that does literally everything else so well, so I decided to take a look into his projections for the rest of the season and sure enough, 15 dingers is really good, even by Trout standards:
According to his ZiPS Projections, Mike Trout is on pace to hit more home runs in 2017 (42) than he ever has before. pic.twitter.com/RnaZM8pCxc
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) May 24, 2017
According to ZiPS, Trout should hit 27 more home runs before the season is over, leaving him with a grand total of 42 long balls (one more than his career best in 2015). But I didn’t want to stop there.
While homers are obviously exciting, I wanted to dig deeper into his overall offensive production. After all, if he was slugging more at the expense of, say, his batting average that’s something we’d want to know. Of course, that’s not the case. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Somehow, someway, Mike Trout has managed to get off to a better start here in 2017 than he has in any other season of his career. And it’s both terrifying and awesome:
As you can see, Trout isn’t just hitting more home runs through the first 42 games of 2017, he’s a better overall hitter. Here is the actually data from that chart:
If you’re having trouble putting these numbers into a familiar reference frame, remember that wOBA is scaled to OBP (so if you know a good OBP, you know a good wOBA), while wRC+ is set so that a 100 wRC+ is a league-average hitter (every point above or below his how much percent better or worse a player is than average).
So then, in 2017, Trout’s .484 wOBA (2nd only to an injured Freddie Freeman) loosely means that his overall production is as impressive as a guy who’s getting on base nearly every other plate appearance. Where as his 220 wRC+ (best in baseball) means he’s been 120% better than the average Major League hitter. Add all of this up and it’s not hard to see why Trout’s 3.3 fWAR leads the league by over half a win.
He is already (and truly) a generation talent who is very likely to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But now, it’s hard to deny that Trout may be working his name into the conversation as one of the best players of all time.
And we get to watch.