Los Angeles Angels: Why Mike Trout is still better than Mookie Betts
By Luke Graham
With Mookie winning his second title, the conversation of, Mookie Betts vs Mike Trout is starting to become more and more talked about.
An ongoing debate that has seemed to pick up more and more steam since 2018 is the argument between Mike Trout and Mookie Betts being the best player in baseball. Mookie’s MVP raised questions, his first World Series gave Mookie homers the argument and now his second World Series has people saying that he is the best. Here’s why I just cannot and will not agree with them.
First off, to compare players by championships in baseball is ludicrous. By that definition, here are the overrated players in baseball to the people who think that titles carry weight in greatness: Ken Griffey Jr., Ernie Banks, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Trevor Hoffman, Mike Piazza, Tony Gwynn, Ty Cobb, and the list keeps going.
Another Mike Trout flaw was in his third full season and his only playoff appearance he went 1-15 at age 22. What doesn’t get brought up is in Mookie Betts second full season and his first playoff appearance he went 1-12 at age 23. Both players did this over a three-game sweep in their first visit to the playoffs. They both lost to the ALCS winner is the first round. So, if that is the argument you are running with, find a new one.
Since 2015 when they both were in the league for full seasons here is the breakdown of league leaders:
Trout: Runs(2016), walks(2016,2018), OBP(2016-2019), SLG(2015,2017,2019), OPS(2015, 2017-2019), OPS+(2015-2019) MVP(2016,2019) All-Star(2015-2019), Silver Slugger(2015-2016,2018-2019).
Betts: Runs (2018-2019), BA (2018), SLG (2018), TB (2016), MVP (2018), All-Star (2016-2019), Gold Glove (2016-2019), Silver Slugger (2016, 2018-2019).
Mookie, in my opinion, is without a doubt the second-best player in baseball. He plays hard, with passion, he’s aggressive and gifted. He also has had the luxury of playing for two of the three most historic franchises in baseball and has been on playoff teams since 2016. Trout, however, has been on one team good enough to make the playoffs in his career.
This argument gets overlooked and it shouldn’t. Mike Trout can’t take over the game in the 3rd and go pitch and bat 1-9. He is a lifetime .304 hitter and has a fielding percentage of .993. Mookie is a lifetime .301 hitter with a .990 fielding percentage. Trout keeps edging Mookie in almost every relevant category and yet the argument keeps getting brought up in favor of Mookie because of Trout’s lack of postseason success.
Here’s an exercise. We’ve seen the numbers, go find more if you want. Switch these players around. Mike Trout plays for the Red Sox and Dodgers and Mookie plays for the Angels. They would have already renamed Cooperstown after Trout.
Both of these players are great and as baseball fans, we should be excited that there is this level of talent playing in The Show. I just will not get behind Mookie being the greatest in the game because of his titles. A player in baseball cannot take all the shots, cannot throw it to the same receiver or audible based on the defense. In baseball players get 3 to 5 chances a game at the plate and an unknown amount of balls hit their way. Trout has proven he takes advantage of his opportunities and it’s time he quits getting beat up on for organizational depth the Los Angeles Angels have failed to put around him.