Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout is really good at baseball. Everyone knows that. In fact, we’ve reached a point where his dominance has become commonplace. You expect him to lead the league in everything as long as he stays healthy.
That comes with a nasty side effect, though. It’s possible that Trout has been so good that some baseball fans are taking his greatness for granted. That would be a big mistake.
Trout is off to the best start of his career, which is saying quite a bit for a guy who has crossed the 10 fWAR threshold twice already. After smacking two home runs Monday against the Seattle Mariners, he’s on pace to have his best season yet.
It should come as no surprise that Trout is destroying baseballs once again in 2018. But it should come as a shock that he’s on pace to have his best season ever.
After Monday’s game, Trout is hitting .304/.435/.658, with 21 home runs, over 294 plate appearances. While he’s hit for better averages and posted slightly higher on-base percentages in his career, Trout’s slugging is way up. His 21 home runs ties him for the most in the majors with Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez.
Trout’s heightened slugging percentage has given him a 195 wRC+ — an advanced stat that measures offense. That’s a career high. His batting average and on-base percentage might be slightly low for him, but they aren’t far off his career-highs in those categories. His power has pushed him forward.
His defense looks strong
Not only that, but the defensive metrics really like what Trout has done this season. He was a negative defender last season, according to FanGraphs. In 2018, he’s been much better.
Fielding metrics aren’t the most reliable, however, especially in a tiny sample. You should take those numbers with a grain of salt. Still, it’s important to mention them because, …
Best season ever?
Trout’s two home run game is going to push him above 5.0 fWAR on the season after just 67 games. That puts him on pace to reach 10 fWAR before he plays 140 games played this season.
Those numbers are staggering. A 10 fWAR season has only been done 52 times in Major League Baseball history dating back to 1871. The list is littered with multiple seasons from Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, among others. Legends of the game, basically.
As we noted earlier, Trout has exceeded 10 fWAR twice in his career already. He topped out at 10.1 fWAR in 2013. If he continues at his current pace, he’s got a shot to post the best season of his career.
What does that mean?
Look past your impulse to simple say, “It means Mike Trout is good.” Mike Trout is better than good. He’s the best player in baseball and, somehow, he continues to get better. That’s an incredible feat. Trout’s first two seasons in the majors should have been the best years of his career. Those numbers should not have been repeatable. But here he is, threatening to top them.
All of this suggests that we still haven’t seen Mike Trout’s ceiling. After seven seasons of unreal production, it’s very possible he doesn’t have one.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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