A typical write-up for a batter will say something like this, from the Hitter-At-A-Glance for David DeJesus: "Against All Fastballs (1,194 seen), he had a league average eye (0.94 d'; 59% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 24% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a very patient approach at the plate (0.25 c) with a below average likelihood to swing and miss (10% whiff/swing)."
|Source: Japanese Wikipedia|
How surprising and counterintuitive does it sound that Mike Trout doesn't have a good eye? He had a .432 On Base Percentage last year and lead the league with 110 walks. Those are basic stats that aren't telling us the whole story. For more advanced metrics, courtesy of Fangraphs, Mike Trout has positive run values against every pitch offering, aside from exceptionally rare knuckle ball and eephus pitch outliers. Wild.
Context is critical. It helps maintain perspective. Mike Trout is incredible, awesome. The best, he can do it all. He's fast. He has power. He reaches base. Mike Trout's #1 ZiPS Comp is Mickey Mantle, and somehow that seems to elevate the Mantle brand, in my opinion. Mike Trout is the best player of at least two generations, and according to Brooks Baseball, he's doing it with a batting eye that is league average at best. Amazing.
|Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters|
Okay, earmuffs off. Keeping historical context open for Mike Trout comparisons, he's on the precipice of blowing past everyone in history, if he has another 10 Win season. That is unrealistic. Even Ted Williams, who is the most aggressive comparison was 7 rWAR behind Trout after each of their Age 21 seasons. Trout debuted at Age 19, but it was just 40 games. It'll be better to imagine those games in Triple-A and just compare Ted Williams first two seasons (Age 20-21) with Mike Trout's two first full seasons (Age 20-21)...
Ted Williams (Age 20-21)
1,336 Plate Appearances, 161 OPS+, 13.0 rWAR, 13.8 fWAR
Mike Trout (Age 20-21)
1,355 Plate Appearances, 174 OPS+, 20.1 rWAR, 20.4 rWAR
Mike Trout is entering his third full season this year. After three full seasons, Ted Williams had 24 Wins Above Replacement. If Trout stays healthy, he should pass 24 WAR by June. Is Trout going to peak for a few years with 15 WAR seasons?
The following chart is the most rWAR by batters in the first 3 seasons of their careers...
How about that Evan Longoria?
Here's a list of highest rWAR for anyone thru their Age-21 season...
Ted Williams would be 11th, with 13.0 rWAR.
|Source: Harry Warnecke/New York Daily News|