Trout or Pujols: Who would you choose in their prime?
The Los Angeles Angels have two of the very best players in baseball from over the past two decades. If Mike Trout and Albert Pujols were both in their primes, which one would you choose?
What if you could wash away all of the frustration that has built over the past several seasons of watching Albert Pujols get paid a King’s ransom to slowly wither away toward retirement? What if you could have Albert Pujols on the Angels in his prime, like you do now with Mike Trout?
The Angels have arguably the two best players over the past twenty years on their roster; it’s just they have dominated in two different decades. Pujols owned 2001-2010, while Trout has made claim of 2011-2019.
If you could start a team with one of these two players in their primes, which one would you choose?
Before we get into making the case for each player, let’s take a look at the similarities.
Using Baseball-Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Pujols and Trout’s value over their first seven seasons in the majors is separated by only one half of a win.
Pujols broke into the majors in 2001, immediately making an impact, winning the Rookie of the Year. Mike Trout had a brief stint as a 19-year-old in 2011, but also won the Rookie of the Year during his first full season in the bigs. They both won MVP awards early in their career. They both won Silver Slugger awards. They both made annual trips to the All-Star game. And they both have been considered the best player in the sport.
Choosing between Pujols and Trout might seem like an easy decision today, but considering both players in their primes makes the choice a lot more difficult.