Mike Trout’s numbers through his first few seasons speak volumes on their own. If you want to just look at his triple slash line or his counting totals devoid of context, they still present a special talent.
When you add his age into the mix, however, he stands alone.
Since 1901, just eight players between the ages of 18-23 have posted a 150 OPS+ or greater in their first three seasons of big-league ball (min. 1000 PAs). Ted Williams leads the pack with at 188, but Trout is right behind him with an 166 OPS+ — tied with Stan “the Man” Musial.
Behind them are three current Hall of Famers, one who will be and another who should: Reggie Jackson, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Mathews, Albert Pujols and Dick Allen. Pretty damn good company.
Limiting the data set to “first three years” perhaps unfairly eliminates guys like Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott from the discussion, so let’s just zero in on age and see what happens.
If we remove the “first three years” designation and limit the data set to output at the ages of 19-21, a few of the above-mentioned inner-circle guys get added into the mix. And yet, somehow, Trout ends up looking even better than before:
How anyone can argue in favor of Miguel Cabrera when Trout sits atop a list of names like that is beyond me. Put him on a video game cover already. #FISHTALES