The Los Angeles Angels are fortunate to have one of the greatest players ever in Mike Trout on their team. What's been great about Trout is even with the injuries he's dealt with in recent years, he hasn't shown a single sign of slowing down.
Steamer, one of the most accurate predictors in the industry according to MLB.com, seems to think he's going to regress in 2023.
Steamer is disrespecting Mike Trout with their 2023 predictions.
I know this isn't a person picking and choosing stats, but I have to question why Steamer believes Trout will have the worst full season of his career by far.;
Let's start with the one positive from their projections. They have Mike Trout playing in 150 games. If Mike Trout only misses 12 games in 2023, the Angels will be in really good shape. He has not played in 150 games since 2016, this would be a massive development.
That's just about the only good thing Steamer expects from Trout. Of course, he's projected to have a ridiculously good year offensively, but for Trout's standards, it's a step-down.
They have Trout slashing .256/.360/.521 with 40 home runs and 105 RBI. This is obviously an outstanding season, but it'd be the worst of his career since his first MLB action in 2011.
They have his average dipping to .256, a mark he's never come close to having in a full season. The lowest average he's had while having enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title came back in 2014 when he hit .287 (and won the MVP). They have his BAbip dipping from .323 to .299 which is part of what'd explain the lower batting average but I wouldn't expect that to happen. Trout always has a high BAbip because he hits the ball so hard! He ranked in the 90th percentile in average exit velocity and the 98th percentile in barrel rate. They must expect him to all of a sudden not hit the ball hard?
They have Trout hitting 40 home runs in 150 games and 677 plate appearances. He hit 40 in 119 games and 499 plate appearances this past season. I think it's fair to expect a dropoff in the power department from where Trout was in 2022, but to have him hit the same amount of home runs in almost 200 more plate appearances feels unlikely.
They have Trout posting a 145 WRC+ which for an all-star is awesome, but for Mike Trout is uncharted territory. The lowest WRC+ figures he's had in a full season came in 2012 and 2014 when he had 167 WRC+. They really expect that big of a drop?
Trout's fWAR is in a similar boat as well. They expect him to have a 5.6 fWAR in 2023, even less than the 6.0 fWAR he had in just 119 games this past season! That'd be his lowest mark in a full season. The worst before came in 2017 when he had just five more plate appearances than the minimum amount to qualify and played in just 114 games. He still had 6.4 fWAR despite playing in 36 fewer games than Steamer projects from him in 2023.
I love that they're predicting Mike Trout to stay healthy in 2023, but other than that, where're these predictions coming from? He's hit the ball as hard as ever, isn't chasing at a super high rate, remains an elite defender, and is still one of the faster players in the game. He literally had 6.0 fWAR when not having enough plate appearances to qualify this past season. At age 31 he's going to have his worst season by far? With Shohei Ohtani protecting him? I don't buy it.
I don't expect him to be quite as lethal offensively as he was this past season. He was on a 54-home-run pace for a full 162-game season, which would've been a career-best by a wide margin. I do not expect this kind of a drop-off, especially if he plays in 150 games.