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9 WAR Seasons: Another Angle on Trout's Greatness


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Williams is so underrated at times. He gave up three years of his youth, age 24-26 in WWII, then gave up most of his age 33&34 seasons for the Korean War. 

In his 19 seasons in baseball he had an OPS below 1.036 once. 

Let that sink in. He was not superhuman one injury plagued season at age 40 then returned at 41 and hit 316./451/.645/1.096 for 113 games. 

Before y'all start yelling about park factor, Williams hit over 200 OPS+ 9 times in his career. Trout maxed out last year at 199. 

Scrape away Trout's age 24-26 years and where is he in the record books? Add those years back in to Williams career by averaging his three seasons before and after and where would he be in career WAR? 

Love what Trout is doing, being consistently the best player year in and out. The guy you have to beat if you want the MVP award. But I still think Williams was and is better. 

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I haven't really delved into the permutations as to how WAR breaks out the various factors that make up the overall WAR score.

But I still feel that Mays was the best player in the last 60 years. He was as good a baserunner as Trout, he had a WAY better arm (some players like Mays and Clemente had such good arms that players stopped running on them, so if OF assists are a large percentage of the defensive measure of WAR, they got fewer opportunities because no one would run on them). I really dont see how players before the intensive TV era can be rated on things like UZR.

Mays also struck out more than 100 times only once in his career. It was when he was 40;  the last full season of his career. In any full season that he plays, Trout will strike out more than 125 times. Ks are the worst out you can make, beside a DP. Actually, even a DP can score a run. WAR doesnt penalize a K enough, it seems. Nothing good can come from a K. 

fWAR and bWAR are still flawed, IMO, unless they penalize the K.

Williams was amazing;  the best hitter ever in baseball.

 

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^I don't disagree with you about Mays, although I never saw him play so can't comment from the eye-ball level, but you really can't compare strikeout totals across eras like that. It is just a different game in that regard, from the 50s-60s to now.

Furthermore, strikeouts aren't seen as negatively now as they were in the past, mostly due to "Three True Outcome Theory." For one, a strikeout means you don't hit into a DP. And an out is an out - at least in a bases empty situation. I think the view is better to swing hard and/or go for the walk (take pitches, even risking strikes) than nibble at the ball and just make contact. Statistical analysis supports this. I don't love watching TTO baseball, but it is efficient.

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10 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

^I don't disagree with you about Mays, although I never saw him play so can't comment from the eye-ball level, but you really can't compare strikeout totals across eras like that. It is just a different game in that regard, from the 50s-60s to now.

Furthermore, strikeouts aren't seen as negatively now as they were in the past, mostly due to "Three True Outcome Theory." For one, a strikeout means you don't hit into a DP. And an out is an out - at least in a bases empty situation. I think the view is better to swing hard and/or go for the walk (take pitches, even risking strikes) than nibble at the ball and just make contact. Statistical analysis supports this. I don't love watching TTO baseball, but it is efficient.

It's darn near impossible to compare different players from different eras.  Even comparing Williams to Ruth, who weren't terribly far apart is next to impossible because the style of play changed, ball parks changed and the level of talent and competition changed.  Now compare Williams to Mays, and again, we see the talent level, particularly on the pitching side changed dramatically.  And then compare Mays to Bonds, and the game changes even further.  Pitchers are much better by the 90's and 2000's, and ball park are smaller.  Bats are made different and science within what to put in your body has taken full control of the game.  And finally here we have Trout.  The bat he's swinging is lighter than anything the guys in the old times used, and Trout's bat speed completely dwarfs theirs.  That and just looking at the physical specimen that Trout is, guys like Ruth, Williams and Mays couldn't stack up with him even if they wanted.  And the level of pitching has yet again taken another step forward, and players are now being held accountable for what they put in their bodies. 

I can argue all day long until I'm blue in the face that Mike Trout was better than Mays, Mantle, Williams, and Ruth and cite the level of play, body type, and abilities, and while I'd be right through a certain lens, it still wouldn't change the fact that you cannot compare players from different eras.  Because someone that argues Ruth is better would explain how much better than everyone else he was (which Trout is too, but not to that degree), and the affect on the game Babe Ruth had, as well as his ability to pitch, and the overall numbers he accumulated, as well as the weight bat he had to use and the type of ball. 

I think the only player that it would be reasonable to compare Trout with is probably Griffey.  He was clean, no juice, came up at about the same age as Trout, and while the competition wasn't as good, it was at least comparable, and Trout, by the number of 9 win seasons blows Griffey out of the water.  Another fair comp is Bryce Harper.  Same era, roughly the same age of promotion, and they aren't even close. 

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41 minutes ago, Second Base said:

It's darn near impossible to compare different players from different eras.  Even comparing Williams to Ruth, who weren't terribly far apart is next to impossible because the style of play changed, ball parks changed and the level of talent and competition changed.  Now compare Williams to Mays, and again, we see the talent level, particularly on the pitching side changed dramatically.  And then compare Mays to Bonds, and the game changes even further.  Pitchers are much better by the 90's and 2000's, and ball park are smaller.  Bats are made different and science within what to put in your body has taken full control of the game.  And finally here we have Trout.  The bat he's swinging is lighter than anything the guys in the old times used, and Trout's bat speed completely dwarfs theirs.  That and just looking at the physical specimen that Trout is, guys like Ruth, Williams and Mays couldn't stack up with him even if they wanted.  And the level of pitching has yet again taken another step forward, and players are now being held accountable for what they put in their bodies. 

I can argue all day long until I'm blue in the face that Mike Trout was better than Mays, Mantle, Williams, and Ruth and cite the level of play, body type, and abilities, and while I'd be right through a certain lens, it still wouldn't change the fact that you cannot compare players from different eras.  Because someone that argues Ruth is better would explain how much better than everyone else he was (which Trout is too, but not to that degree), and the affect on the game Babe Ruth had, as well as his ability to pitch, and the overall numbers he accumulated, as well as the weight bat he had to use and the type of ball. 

I think the only player that it would be reasonable to compare Trout with is probably Griffey.  He was clean, no juice, came up at about the same age as Trout, and while the competition wasn't as good, it was at least comparable, and Trout, by the number of 9 win seasons blows Griffey out of the water.  Another fair comp is Bryce Harper.  Same era, roughly the same age of promotion, and they aren't even close. 

This is nothing more than a guess.  We have no idea.

Did anyone suspect Steven Wright of being on the juice?

He was just suspended 80 games.

This is a guy with an 85mph fastball.

There is no way on earth to know who was clean (or who is now clean).

Edited by Dtwncbad
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Alex Sanchez played 5 years in the majors crushing a total of 6 homers in his career.

He was 5'10 180lbs.

Busted and suspended for steroids when he was playing.

It is almost crazy to think there is any specific player that you can confidently say was definitely "clean."

It's impossible.

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57 minutes ago, Dtwncbad said:

This is nothing more than a guess.  We have no idea.

Did anyone suspect Steven Wright of being on the juice?

He was just suspended 80 games.

This is a guy with an 85mph fastball.

There is no way on earth to know who was clean (or who is now clean).

Would you prefer: No evidence or allegations of steroid use? Generally we assume people are clean until they are proven not to be. 

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3 hours ago, Second Base said:

It's darn near impossible to compare different players from different eras.  Even comparing Williams to Ruth, who weren't terribly far apart is next to impossible because the style of play changed, ball parks changed and the level of talent and competition changed.  Now compare Williams to Mays, and again, we see the talent level, particularly on the pitching side changed dramatically.  And then compare Mays to Bonds, and the game changes even further.  Pitchers are much better by the 90's and 2000's, and ball park are smaller.  Bats are made different and science within what to put in your body has taken full control of the game.  And finally here we have Trout.  The bat he's swinging is lighter than anything the guys in the old times used, and Trout's bat speed completely dwarfs theirs.  That and just looking at the physical specimen that Trout is, guys like Ruth, Williams and Mays couldn't stack up with him even if they wanted.  And the level of pitching has yet again taken another step forward, and players are now being held accountable for what they put in their bodies. 

I can argue all day long until I'm blue in the face that Mike Trout was better than Mays, Mantle, Williams, and Ruth and cite the level of play, body type, and abilities, and while I'd be right through a certain lens, it still wouldn't change the fact that you cannot compare players from different eras.  Because someone that argues Ruth is better would explain how much better than everyone else he was (which Trout is too, but not to that degree), and the affect on the game Babe Ruth had, as well as his ability to pitch, and the overall numbers he accumulated, as well as the weight bat he had to use and the type of ball. 

I think the only player that it would be reasonable to compare Trout with is probably Griffey.  He was clean, no juice, came up at about the same age as Trout, and while the competition wasn't as good, it was at least comparable, and Trout, by the number of 9 win seasons blows Griffey out of the water.  Another fair comp is Bryce Harper.  Same era, roughly the same age of promotion, and they aren't even close. 

A point of clarification: Williams and Mays played many years along-side each other. Williams' last season was 1960 when he was 41 years old (and hit .316/.451/.645 with a 184 wRC+), when Mays was 29 years old and in his 10th season, very much in his prime.

I hear you and agree with the basic logic that talent doesn't just change but evolves, it is also gradual and always relative to the context. Furthermore, we can play "six degrees of separation" and link Trout to Ty Cobb rather quickly: Trout faced Bartolo Colon who faced Paul Molitor who faced Steve Carlton who faced Hank Aaron, etc. We can see how players themselves evolve over time, and great players adapt. We don't know what sort of player Babe Ruth would be if he had been born in 1991, and I don't think it matters because we can only ever look at how great he was in the context he played in, but I also tend to take the view that talent finds a way. 

That said, even WAR numbers--which are contextual--are problematic, because they equalize more over time. Ruth had a 15 WAR season in 1923. Not only did he not have to face fresh relievers, but the pool of talent was different: no black dudes or Latin American players, and a much small number of pitchers overall. He also didn't have the benefit of modern training and nutritional understanding. But my point is, a 15 WAR in 2019 would be absolutely insane...and would never happen. Bonds has a 12.7 one year, but that was altered. His highest WAR before steroids was 10.5 in 1993, which is still amazing but more within the realm of possibility. I think the highest possible level now--say, Trout playing his very best and having a good defensive year--would be 11-12 WAR. 

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2 hours ago, Sean-Regan said:

Would you prefer: No evidence or allegations of steroid use? Generally we assume people are clean until they are proven not to be. 

For me, yes, "No evidence or allegations of steroid use" is 100 times better than stating he was clean.

I don't personally assume players are clean from that era.

I get your point though.  Just seems like if you assumed he was clean then mo need to say anything about it.

That is (to me anyway) very different from stating he was clean.

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If Trout wants to avoid any unnecessary injury he should scrap his head first sliding.

Ankles are stronger than wrists.  Feet are protected by shoes while hands are wearing batting gloves.  A missed throw hitting your calf instead of your face.  A fielder's knee colliding with you thigh instead of your neck.  A bruised leg instead of a concussion. . .

Head first slides are higher risk.  There is no reason for it.

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