Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim manager Joe Maddon has given his stamp of approval to the team’s star player, Mike Trout.
When the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim brought Joe Maddon back to become the team’s 22nd manager, they did so because he has an ability to not only build positive relationships with his players but to also get the best out of the talent on the field. There is no better way to build positivity than to single out the star player on the team, Mike Trout, and label him the greatest of all-time.
That’s precisely what Maddon did on Tuesday when on his YouTube show Uncorked, the manager said the best current player in baseball has a chance to make history. While talking to Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, the two discussed managing the game’s brightest stars. While Arians now has Tom Brady under center, Maddon has Trout.
“Michael Trout, when this is all said and done, has a chance to be the best player in the history of baseball,” said Maddon.
That’s high praise coming from a man who has managed some exceptional talent throughout the years. However, Maddon was quick to note what separates him from other players in the league as well.
“When I first saw him, I hadn’t even managed him yet, but from a distance when you get on the field with him, physical talent, strength, speed, and just his intensity is different.”
It’s not hard to see that through the results he’s posted in his first nine seasons. Since debuting in 2011, Trout has hit .305/.419/.581 with 285 home runs, 752 RBI, and stolen 200 bases. In that span, he leads the league in Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) with 73.4 (next closest has 48.9), is 1st in wRC+ (172), 1st in wOBA (.419), 1st in runs scored (903), fourth in home runs, and 9th in RBI.
As for comparisons to all-time greats, Trout already ranks 5th in JAWS among center fielders, an aggregate that measures a player’s hall of fame chances by averaging their career WAR with their best 7-year WAR. With a score of 69.2, Trout trails only Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Mickey Mantle. He also sits comfortably above the average score for those inducted into Cooperstown, which sits at 58.0.
The scary thought is that at just 29-years-old, Trout has a chance to get even better. That’s not a fact that gets lost on Maddon either, and perhaps is why he speaks to Trout’s potential to become the greatest of all-time.
“He’s a question asker. And it’s not like he knows everything. He’s looking for answers, and he’s looking for answers and he listens well.”
With 11 seasons (including 2020) left on his contract, Trout will certainly have the opportunity to ascend to the upper echelon of the game’s elite. If he can maintain health and productivity and continues to show the ability to learn and adapt, the sky is the limit.
Cooperstown is definitely in sight for Mike Trout, but we are all witnessing something special, Joe Maddon included.