Yesterday, Mike Trout collected three hits against the Mariners, including a homer, a stolen base, and three RBI. That’s his *third* three-hit game in a row, as he continues working on a five-game hitting streak and arguably the best start to the season anyone could’ve imagined.
In fact, after watching him continue his path towards greatness yesterday, something became shockingly apparent:
Mike Trout is on pace for a 14.3 WAR season..The highest WAR by a position player in a single season is 14.1 by Babe Ruth in 1923. pic.twitter.com/AIb5eLq6T8
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) April 29, 2018
Right now, a 26-year-old Mike Trout is slashing .336/.458/.720 with an 18.1% walk rate, an 18.7% strikeout rate, 12 homers, and a 213 wRC+. OH, and 3.1 bWAR!
Yup, Mike Trout has already earned himself 3.1 bWAR this season (according to Baseball Reference), which is basically the baseline WAR total for a borderline All-Star by the END OF THE SEASON. And, as the tweet above points out, that puts him on pace to record the single greatest season by a position player EVER – beating out a 28-year-old Babe Ruth in 1923 (14.1 bWAR) – depending on how you want to stretch that out over a full season.
At FanGraphs, where they measure WAR a little differently than Baseball Reference, Trout is on pace for roughly the same amount of WAR (14.29), but Ruth’s 1923 season earned 15.0 fWAR. So he’d actually have to play even better if he wanted to be the best, but still … second only to *one* Babe Ruth season is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the only player to ever come close to a Ruth season was Barry Bonds … at the height of the steroid era.
Here’s a look at the single-season WAR leaderboards at FanGraphs:
- Babe Ruth (1923): 15.0 fWAR
- Babe Ruth (1921): 13.9 fWAR
- Babe Ruth (1920): 13.3 fWAR
- Babe Ruth (1927): 13.0 fWAR
- Barry Bonds (2002): 12.7 fWAR
As you can see, Trout actually has a bit of wiggle room if his goal is to simply crack the top-5, though he’ll likely need it as the various projection systems aren’t forecasting a top-five finish by the end of the year:
ZiPS: 9.7 fWAR
Steamer: 9.8 fWAR
Depth Charts: 9.9 fWAR
That would obviously still be one of the most impressive seasons ever – it would rank out somewhere around the top 50, give or take a few spots – but it wouldn’t even be Trout’s best season, as he’s twice cracked the 10-WAR mark – in 2012 (10.0 WAR) and 2013 (10.1 WAR).
Needless to say, Trout has put himself in a position to make history in 2018, and we’re all getting a front row seat. He’s still got a long way to go, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of watching him try.