By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Columnist
#26: WAR per 162 games
I’m saving my favorite one for the penultimate entry: WAR per 162 games played. This stat, which for some reason isn’t used by any of the statistical sites, measures quality: that is, how good a player is per 162 games played, measured by WAR. The formula is simple: Career WAR divided by 162 games. With the MLB and MLBPA officially put in place a 60-game regular season with the standard 10-team playoff, the Yankees (+450) and Dodgers (+375) both saw their odds drop in the latest World Series odds on SBD. A shorter season means increased volatility.
Meaning, according to this metric, only Ruth has been a better per-game player. Considering the evolution of the game--especially the fact that Ruth only played seven other teams--this is as good as any evidence that Trout has been, pound-for-pound—and thus far—arguably the greatest player in baseball history. Now of course he will go down as he declines, but he almost certainly will remain in the top 10.
Among active players, he blows the competition away (although the above chart helps us re-appreciate just how good some of his contemporaries have been).
This last entry is a summation of all that came for – meaning, the total picture that all of these stats paint:
- 5th all-time in CF JAWS with 69.2 (Willies Mays is 1st with 114.9).
- 31st all-time in all position players JAWS with 69.2 (Babe Ruth is 1st with 123.5).
- 3rd all-time in WAR7 (best seven years by WAR) for CFs with 65.6 (Mays is 1st with 73.5).
- 1st all-time in WAR through age 27 with 73.4.
- 3rd all-time in WAR through age 28 with 73.4, without playing any games in his age 2 season yet (Cobb is 1st with 78.6).
- 47th all-time WAR for position players with 73.4; all players ahead of him have played at least 474 more games.
- Has 2 of 54 (3.7%) 10+ WAR seasons since 1901.
- Has 2 of 13 (15.4%) 10 WAR seasons since 1970.
- One of only nine players with seven or more 8 WAR seasons (along with Ruth, Mays, Bonds, Wagner, Hornsby, Gehrig, Williams, and Collins).
- One of only ten players with five or more 9 WAR seasons (along with Ruth, Hornsby, Bonds, Mays, Wagner, Williams, Rodriguez, Collins, and Cobb).
- One of only ten players with two or more 10 WAR seasons (along with Ruth, Hornsby, Bonds, Mays, Williams, Cobb, Mantle, Wagner, and Gehrig).
- One of only seven players to reach all three benchmarks above (along with Wagner, Ruth, Hornsby, Williams, Mays, and Bonds).
- Of the above listed retired players (all but Trout), Mantle has the lowest career WAR with 112.3, #14 all-time.
- 1st in WAR from 2012-19 with 72.7 (Posey is second with 47.1, or 25.6 lower)
- 8th best career high eight-year span with 72.7 WAR (2012-19); Babe Ruth’s 1920-27 is highest, with 89.7.
- 4th best among active players with a .305 career Batting Average, behind Miguel Cabrera (.315), Jose Altuve (.315), and Joey Votto (.307).
- 5th most HR through age 27 with 285 (Alex Rodriguez is 1st with 345).
- One of seven players to hit 30+ HR six or more times through age 27.
- 23rd all-time with 752 RBI through age 27.
- 10th all-time with 903 Runs Scored through age 27.
- 10th all-time with an 84.713 SB%.
- 4th all-time with 803 walks through age 27 (Mantle is 1st with 892).
- One of only eleven players with 4 or more 100-walk seasons through age 27.
- 21st all-time with a career .419 OBP.
- 9th all-time with a career .581 SLG, 6th from 1970-present.
- One of only seven players with a career OPS (OBP + SLG) of 1.000 or higher, with exactly 1.000.
- 5th all-time with a career OPS+ (Adjusted OPS) with 176.
- 1st in WPA (Win Probability Added) through age 27 with 44.17, from 1974 to the present.
- He holds the top five Angels position player seasons by WAR, seven of the top eight, and all eight of his seasons are within the top 13.
- Very similar, or slightly better, career statistics to Mickey Mantle.
- 2nd highest WAR per 162 games with 9.92 (Ruth is 1st with 10.90).
What you’re seeing above is the statistical evidence that Mike Trout, thus far, has been one of the very best players in baseball history. Assuming a typical decline pattern, he’s going to finish in the top 10 in WAR; he’s already halfway to benig in the top 5.
Among his historical comps--that is, players who have performed at a similarly high level as consistently as Trout has--we mostly have players who played before World War 2. We have several players from a century ago: Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. We have mid-century greats like Ted Williams, Willie Mays, and Mickey Matle. And we have only two recent players in Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. No other players are in the same league as Trout's performance thus far, and he will likely end up with better careers than some of them.
We all know he’s great, but it is easy to forget just how great. Chances are we’ll never see another Angels player this good in our lifetimes, so let’s appreciate every moment of Mike Trout baseball while we can.
The Complete Mike Trout 27-for-27 Series: