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Update on fWAR leaders through age X.

Through Age 28

1. Ty Cobb 78.6

2. Rogers Hornsby 77.0

3. Mike Trout 76.0

4. Mickey Mantle 74.8

5. Jimmie Foxx 71.3

 

Through Age 29 (2021 for Trout), with Trout's WAR behind

1. Rogers Hornsby 87.9 (-11.9)

2. Ty Cobb 86.4 (-10.4)

3. Mickey Mantle 85.1 (-9.1)

4. Babe Ruth 79.4 (-3.4)

5. Alex Rodriguez 77.7 (-1.7)

6. Mel Ott 76.9 (-0.9)

7. Mike Trout 76.0

So clearly Trout has no chance of re-taking the lead, and unlikely to surpass Cobb for second.  He probably won't surpass Mantle for third unless he improves his defense, but should pass the other three easily.

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Trout and his two sons.....  

Before last night’s game, some of Mikey’s teammates were wearing his face!  

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50 minutes ago, Blarg said:

WAR is cumulative (like RBI or home runs) so a 60 game season really screwed Trout's stats.

Yes. But what set him apart from others is 1) His consistency with the bat, generally at a 170+ wRC+ level, and 2) his strong secondary skills, namely baserunning and usually pretty good defense.

There are other hitters in the big leagues that are close, equal, or even slightly better than Trout in a given year. But year in and year out he's one of the very best. But it is those other factors added on top that usually give him the WAR crown.

Defensive Runs tend to fluctuate year to year, but obviously Trout's defense was down this year - and this seems to pass the eyeball test. I don't know what it is, but it is almost like he has a default mode that he falls back to, and that he has to constantly put attention to adjusting himself and staying alert, like he did in 2018 after he vowed to improve his defense.

As for his baserunning, it remains very good but he just hasn't been stealing many bases for the last couple years. But I don't think he needs to steal a ton of bases to get a WAR bump - last year he only stole 11, but still produced 7.0 Baserunning Runs, higher than 2018 when he had 5.0 with 24 SB. Baserunning Runs factors in other things besides just SB, and Trout excels on the paths.

All that said, I think the dip in wRC+ is largely a product of the shortened season, and he should be back closer to 180 next year. If he improves his defense, he can produce 9+ WAR seasons again. If not, he might be more of a 7-8 WAR player going forward.

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A more modest WAR projection for Trout, taking into account what we saw this year. I'm going to assume that he's going to bounce back with the bat for a few years, but maybe not as much defensively.

Still peakish Trout, 2021-23 (age 29-31): 8, 9, 7 

Very good Trout, 2024-27 (age 32-35): 6, 7, 5, 6, 4

Old but decent Trout, 2028-30 (age 36-38): 3, 4, 2

That gets him to 100 at the end of his age 31 season, which would be 3rd behind Cobb and Hornsby. Through age 35, he'd be at 128 (or so), 3rd behind Ruth and Hornsby, and then he'd finish his career around 140--or at least his contract--which would be good for 5th all-time behind Ruth, Bonds, Mays, and Cobb.

Now that is a modest projection. He could also bounce back and have a string of 9-10 WAR seasons and then decline slower, finishing with 150 or so WAR, behind only Ruth and Bonds. 

 

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