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Trout WAR update (9/24)


Angelsjunky

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Mike Trout's fWAR at 8.1 has passed last year's total of 8.0 (his Baseball Reference WAR of 8.5 has well surpassed last year's 7.8). He's still behind Josh Donaldson (8.2) and well behind Bryce Harper (9.8), who is about to become the fourth player of the 21st century to surpass 10 fWAR in a season, along with Bonds, Rodriguez, and Trout.

 

Anyhow, here's how he ranks in a couple categories:

 

All Major Leaguers through Age 23 Season

1. Mike Trout 37.6

2. Ted Williams 36.4

3. Ty Cobb 36.2

4. Mel Ott 33.2

5. Mickey Mantle 29.5

 

Given that Ty Cobb had 47.2 fWAR through age 24, it is unlikely that Trout will lead this category again. If he ends this season around 8.5 he's need 9.3 to pass Cobb, which is possible but unlikely considering his totals the last two years.

 

All-time Angels Position Players

1. Jim Fregosi 42.6

2. Mike Trout 37.6

3. Brian Downing 36.5

4. Bobby Grich 35.6

5. Tim Salmon 35.5

 

He'll pass Fregosi sometime in mid-season next year. By the time he finishes his contract with the Angels after the 2020 season, he'll almost certainly have 70+ fWAR, maybe 80ish, far surpassing any other Angels.He could have double the fWAR of any other Angel before his 30th birthday.

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It does take defense into account and you're right, the further back you go the more sketchy the defensive component is. But it isn't meaningless - it is still based upon actual statistics. I'm thinking that the margin of error is just greater.

 

Anyhow, if you want to look at only offensive contribution, Trout still has more Offensive Runs (Fangraphs) through age 23 than any player other than Ted Williams. His wRC+ (166) is fifth highest ever through that age. Not bad, especially when you add in the fact that's an above average center fielder.

Edited by Angelsjunky
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Damn, Harper really put it all together this season. I know it was to be expected and all with his hype, but after his first few seasons..it's kind of crazy. It can't just be him being injury free, he looks like a totally different player.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if he out-WAR's Trout from this point forward in their careers.

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Let's speculate a bit about his future, taking a moderate approach. He'll finish his age 23 season with 38 fWAR. Let's say he maintains his 2014-15 average of 8ish fWAR for the remainder of his 20s, with perhaps one season at 5 fWAR due to lost time (we're being moderate here). That would be 45 more fWAR (five seasons at 8 WAR, one at 5 WAR) for a total of 83 WAR going into his age 30 season. That would put him 4th all time through age 29, behind only Hornsby (87.9), Cobb (86.4), and Mantle (85.1).

 

Mantle is the player most often used as a comp for Trout - and the similarities are striking. Mantle only produced 27.2 fWAR in his 30s, but we shouldn't forget that Mantle was an alcoholic and declined rapidly after his age 32 season. Let's say Trout's decline is more moderate.

 

Ty Cobb was another similarly explosive player, albeit in a very different time period. He had many good years in his 30s, with 62.9 fWAR. But that's probably too much to reasonably hope for.

 

So let's split the difference and average out Mantle and Cobb, which would be 45.1 fWAR. Let's be a bit moderate, assuming that Trout will be a touch closer to Mantle than Cobb due to his bulk and overall more similar game. If we shave a bit off and predict 40 fWAR for Trout in his 30s.

 

That gives us a predicted total of approximately 123 fWAR. Let's soften that bit and predict a range: 110-130, or roughly 120.

 

There are eleven position players with 120+ fWAR, only one of whom (Barry Bonds, #2 with 164.4 fWAR) has played in the last 40 years. Well technically Hank Aaron (#6, 136.3) played into 1976, but you get the idea.

 

Alex Rodriguez currently has 114.1 fWAR and is at #13, just between Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle. He has a good chance of reaching the 120 club.

 

Even if Trout "only" makes 110, he'll join just 15 other players. 100 fWAR and he'll join 20 other players. 100 fWAR is a conservative estimate at this point.

 

That said, the biggest concern for Trout is that he takes the Andruw Jones/Ken Griffey Jr career path. Both were looking like all-time greats through their 20s, Griffey ranked 12th in WAR (68.5) and Jones 20th (61.0). Griffey had one more good year and accrued only 9.2 fWAR, and Jones had one more decent year and only 6.1 for the rest of his career.

 

It seems like big, muscular and fast centerfielders have a penchant for dropping off precipitously once they pass the threshold of 30 years old. So we won't know if Trout will end up as an inner circle Hall of Famer (110+ fWAR), or merely an excellent Hall of Famer (80-90 fWAR) until he passes that 30 year mark and we see a couple years of his 30s.

 

So yeah...

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Damn, Harper really put it all together this season. I know it was to be expected and all with his hype, but after his first few seasons..it's kind of crazy. It can't just be him being injury free, he looks like a totally different player.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if he out-WAR's Trout from this point forward in their careers.

 

He'll probably come back down to earth a bit. Fangraphs' Dave Cameron, who is his biggest fan, said that the chances Harper has a second 10 fWAR season are about 10%. That might be a bit modest, but I don't think he's going to hit .340+ every year. That said, I could see his power numbers go up a bit - I think he can hit 50+ at some point.

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Does fWAR take defense into account? Assuming it does, I don't understand how they can perform defensive evaluations on guys who played 80 years ago. Makes me question the validity of the stat.

The fact that Trout was considered the worst defensive player in baseball as late as September of 2013, yet was simultaneously considered average by baseball reference, makes me question the validity of defensive stats entirely.

While he did get a bit fat in 2013, calling him the worst (batting title qualified) defensive player grossly contradicts the common sense eyeball test.

I say stick with offensive stats that are based on quantifiable basic stats (like runs, hits, HR's etc. with) weighted by park factors, such as wRC+.

Edited by ScottLux
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Let's speculate a bit about his future, taking a moderate approach. He'll finish his age 23 season with 38 fWAR. Let's say he maintains his 2014-15 average of 8ish fWAR for the remainder of his 20s, with perhaps one season at 5 fWAR due to lost time (we're being moderate here). That would be 45 more fWAR (five seasons at 8 WAR, one at 5 WAR) for a total of 83 WAR going into his age 30 season. That would put him 4th all time through age 29, behind only Hornsby (87.9), Cobb (86.4), and Mantle (85.1).

 

Mantle is the player most often used as a comp for Trout - and the similarities are striking. Mantle only produced 27.2 fWAR in his 30s, but we shouldn't forget that Mantle was an alcoholic and declined rapidly after his age 32 season. Let's say Trout's decline is more moderate.

 

Ty Cobb was another similarly explosive player, albeit in a very different time period. He had many good years in his 30s, with 62.9 fWAR. But that's probably too much to reasonably hope for.

 

So let's split the difference and average out Mantle and Cobb, which would be 45.1 fWAR. Let's be a bit moderate, assuming that Trout will be a touch closer to Mantle than Cobb due to his bulk and overall more similar game. If we shave a bit off and predict 40 fWAR for Trout in his 30s.

 

That gives us a predicted total of approximately 123 fWAR. Let's soften that bit and predict a range: 110-130, or roughly 120.

 

There are eleven position players with 120+ fWAR, only one of whom (Barry Bonds, #2 with 164.4 fWAR) has played in the last 40 years. Well technically Hank Aaron (#6, 136.3) played into 1976, but you get the idea.

 

Alex Rodriguez currently has 114.1 fWAR and is at #13, just between Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle. He has a good chance of reaching the 120 club.

 

Even if Trout "only" makes 110, he'll join just 15 other players. 100 fWAR and he'll join 20 other players. 100 fWAR is a conservative estimate at this point.

 

That said, the biggest concern for Trout is that he takes the Andruw Jones/Ken Griffey Jr career path. Both were looking like all-time greats through their 20s, Griffey ranked 12th in WAR (68.5) and Jones 20th (61.0). Griffey had one more good year and accrued only 9.2 fWAR, and Jones had one more decent year and only 6.1 for the rest of his career.

 

It seems like big, muscular and fast centerfielders have a penchant for dropping off precipitously once they pass the threshold of 30 years old. So we won't know if Trout will end up as an inner circle Hall of Famer (110+ fWAR), or merely an excellent Hall of Famer (80-90 fWAR) until he passes that 30 year mark and we see a couple years of his 30s.

 

So yeah...

I think what Trout has going for him is his far superior walk rate compared to Griffey and Jones. Jones had a horrific OBP. When he slowed down his lack of plate awareness really got to him. He was healthy so that was not a problem. Griffey was just injured all the time.

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ESPN has trout at 8.5 WAR. Do they use a different formula. He is leading Donaldson according to ESPN.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/league/al/sort/WARBR/order/true

They use baseball reference WAR, which is intended to serve a similar purpose (determine who is the best overall player including defense) but that uses a completely different formula. Problem is the two are so different than one another, mostly due to defensive weighting, that the entire concept just seems unreliable.

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