Baseball fans know all about Mike Trout's exploits by now. Two-time MVP. Rookie of the Year. His 40-steal season and his 40-homer season and all the home-run robberies. And he's led the league in runs, RBI, steals, walks, OBP, slugging, OPS and total bases. As he surpasses his 1,000th game, he's had an almost unprecedented start to his major-league career.
What makes Trout so special? Incredibly, he continues to get better.
He's the first player in major-league history to finish in the top two in MVP voting in each of his first five full seasons, a streak that came to an end last season when he played only 114 games and fell all the way to fourth!
His counting stats suffered last year during that shortened season but he had his best year, setting career highs in on-base percentage (.442), slugging (.629), OPS+ (187), wOBA (.437) and wRC+ (181).
It's obviously still early, but he's putting up better numbers in each of those five categories this season. And this month, he has an OPS+ of 262 OPS+ -- the best of any single month of his major-league career (min. 10 games).
And he's doing things very few players have ever done.
His OPS is 1.155 this season, a mark Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez (among many others) never reached in a full season. And his OPS+ of 218 has only been reached by six players in MLB's modern era: Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby.
Trout's wRC+ mark this season is 211. There have been 32 seasons in MLB history in which a player put up at least 200 wRC+:
- 16 of them came from Babe Ruth (10) and Ted Williams (6)
- 8 of them came from Mickey Mantle (2), Rogers Hornsby (2), Ty Cobb (2), Stan Musial and Lou Gehrig
- 7 of them came in the Steroid Era, and 4 of those were from Barry Bonds (2001-04)
- The last one came in 1884, by Fred Dunlap of the St. Louis Maroons
And when you look at WAR, Trout has almost no equal.
He has already been worth 60.8 Wins Above Replacement in his career, the fourth-most ever in a player's first eight seasons, which includes his 40-game cup of coffee as a rookie and this season, which isn't even halfway over.
And using a "per-season" basis, he's even more impressive. Trout has amassed 9.8 Wins Above Replacement per 162 games in his career, a rate that trails only Babe Ruth in major-league history.
With 6.7 Wins Above Replacement already this season, he has passed 14 Hall of Famers on the all-time list, including Harmon Killebrew, Yogi Berra and Hank Greenberg. He has also passed a few notable players not in the Hall, like David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa and Ichiro Suzuki.
And it puts him on pace for at 14.2 WAR this season, which would be the all-time single-season record for a position player, passing the 14.1 that Babe Ruth put up in 1923. That year, Ruth had 41 home runs, 45 doubles, 13 triples and 17 steals, and he walked 170 times, a record that stood for 78 years.
Trout is one of 12 position players all time to put up multiple 10-win seasons, and he's on pace to be the eighth player ever to do it three times.
If Trout were to get there, he would pass Jackie Robinson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Willie McCovey and Roberto Alomar (among many others), and move into the top 80 on the all-time list for position players.
Any player who keeps this kind of company after just eight seasons is truly special, and the best might still be yet to come.
Special thanks to Baseball-Reference for the WAR numbers.