Another MLB season, another MVP-caliber year for Mike Trout. It’s as likely as the Sun rising in the morning. However, is Mike Trout still the game’s best player?
As an Angels writer/fan and someone who watches him play day in and day out every year, Mike Trout is still the best player in the MLB. This has been the case since his rookie year, when he got snubbed out of the MVP Award. No player brings the same potential impact Trout does.
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Let’s get the basics out-of-the-way. Trout hit .312 on the season with 39 home runs, 79 RBI’s, and 24 stolen bases. He led the MLB in walks (122), on-base percentage (.460), and intentional walks (25). It was arguably his best year yet in the pros.
So why is his title as the best up for debate?
By the stats, it really isn’t. Mike Trout led the league in Wins Above Replacement once again, and evolved his defensive game enough to likely win his first Gold Glove. However, there are some players who have a case against him.
Mookie Betts is the prime competition. He is the likely 2018 AL MVP, and led the Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 lead in the ALCS against the Houston Astros. He is one the best hitters the game has seen in a long time. He doesn’t quite have the natural power Mike Trout does, and playing with the Green Monster half the time does help his power numbers.
Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians is the second best MLB player, in my opinion. He is a five tool player despite not playing a premier position like Trout does. Ramirez hit 39 big flies, 34 doubles, and stole 34 bases while walking 106 times.
While pitchers don’t really get a shot considering their limited impact, guys like Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer deserve some credit for what they do.
While it is true all of these guys have more playoff experience than Mike Trout, none of them come close to the model of consistency he has been individually. While I’m sure Trout would trade in an MVP for a World Series run, that’s what the future holds.
For now, Mike Trout can sleep peacefully knowing he is the best in the game, and will be for years to come.