Mike Trout, Velociraptor: Part 2

Mike Trout: "V" is for Velociraptor

Yesterday, I wrote this piece about Mike Trout being the Alpha Velociraptor, as we knew the beast from Jurassic park, the movie. You need to have read it, especailly the comments, before spending any time on this piece, "Part 2". Go and click over to it. The rest of us will wait right here for you until you get back.

Go on. Go ahead. Hurry up.

Ok, so now we are all on the same page. Today's point has to do with the comments. Mostly the fact that I did comparisons against great players, sure, but those players were in the primes of their career, they were not rookies at those times, and they were well known by opposing pitchers. Or, they were not lead off batters. Yada yada yada.

Very well, let's look there also. Guess what? Mike Trout is still kicking everybody to the bench. Everybody. What he is doing at the moment is devastating, and unprecedented. Yes, Mike Trout, uniquely, is behaving exactly like an Alpha Velociraptor. He is a primal predator at the plate, he spends his initial plate appearances testing the boundaries. He learns. He remembers.

For starters, let's now look at how Trout compares to the best lead off hitters in MLB so far this season. And we are talking BOTH leagues. Is Trout just showing what any great lead off hitter is doing? Is comparing to non lead off batters fair? Well...

2012 BEST LEADOFF HITTERS: BA CLIMB COMPARE

MIKE TROUT WINNING!

GAMES

BA

Player

1st

3rd

+/-

37 .340 Mike Trout (LAA) .294 .438 .144
30 .291 Will Venable (SDP) .225 .364 .139
52 .288 Denard Span (MIN) .267 .378 .111
34 .286 Gregor Blanco (SFG) .233 .321 .088
57 .310 Alejandro De Aza (CHW) .298 .367 .069
55 .313 Rafael Furcal (STL) .302 .327 .025
58 .319 Michael Bourn (ATL) .385 .353 -.032
44 .287 David DeJesus (CHC) .298 .256 -.042
56 .314 Derek Jeter (NYY) .345 .283 -.062
35 .333 Austin Jackson (DET) .419 .200 -.219

No. Other lead off batters are not doing this. Trout is their kicking ass, too. The others listed are the top hitting lead off batters in 2012 with 30 games or more, as taken from MLB.COM. What Trout does from his first at-bat to his 3rd is killer, and still unique.

After the break, get a load of the other comparisons!

Stacking up against those same 2012 top lead off batters, Trout is crushing them all in his ability to improve his OPS in-game:

2012 BEST LEADOFF HITTERS: OPS CLIMB COMPARE

MIKE TROUT WINNING!

GAMES BA Player 1st 3rd +/-
37 .340 Mike Trout (LAA) .675 1.500 .825
34 .286 Gregor Blanco (SFG) .633 1.030 .397
58 .319 Michael Bourn (ATL) .596 .959 .363
30 .291 Will Venable (SDP) .662 .992 .330
52 .288 Denard Span (MIN) .731 1.004 .273
57 .310 Alejandro De Aza (CHW) .804 .925 .121
55 .313 Rafael Furcal (STL) .742 .767 .025
44 .287 David DeJesus (CHC) .844 .742 -.102
56 .314 Derek Jeter (NYY) .903 .660 -.243
35 .333 Austin Jackson (DET) 1.228 .603 -.625

So there you have it. This year, 2012, compared to all the other top lead off batters, Mike Trout is still unique. It's not some magic function of lead off batters.

So is it rookies? Nobody knows how to scout them? Nobody knows how to create a book on them? Nobody has found their weakness yet? Is that the theory? If so, Trout would be nothing special compared to great recent RoYs, right? Let's compare Trout to the RoYs of both the NL and AL over the past decade or so.

RECENT ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: BA CLIMB COMPARE

MIKE TROUT WINNING!

YEAR BA Player 1st 3rd +/-
2012 .340 Mike Trout (LAA) .294 .438 .144
2001 .329 Albert Pujols (STL) .341 .439 .098
2004 .239 Bobby Crosby (OAK) .212 .300 .088
2002 .279 Eric Hinske (TOR) .269 .350 .081
2003 .287 Angel Berroa (KCR) .270 .345 .075
2001 .350 Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) .273 .341 .068
2005 .288 Ryan Howard (PHI) .253 .308 .055
2007 .317 Dustin Pedroia (BOS) .351 .389 .038
2004 .282 Jason Bay (PIT) .305 .338 .033
2008 .285 Geovany Soto (CHC) .289 .313 .024
2006 .292 Hanley Ramirez (FLM) .296 .298 .002
2010 .305 Buster Posey (SFG) .330 .325 -.005
2008 .272 Evan Longoria (TBR) .257 .241 -.016
2009 .321 Chris Coghlan (FLM) .330 .296 -.034
2007 .324 Ryan Braun (MIL) .350 .272 -.078

Nope. Not even Albert "The Best Hitter Of Our Time" Pujols did over his rookie season what Trout has been doing so far. None of the very best rookies improved in-game over their rookie season like Trout is doing so far. Not as measured by Batting Average, and...

RECENT ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: OPS CLIMB COMPARE

MIKE TROUT WINNING!

YEAR BA Player 1st 3rd +/-
2012 .340 Mike Trout (LAA) .675 1.500 .825
2004 .239 Bobby Crosby (OAK) .647 .991 .344
2001 .329 Albert Pujols (STL) 1.079 1.377 .298
2003 .287 Angel Berroa (KCR) .727 .930 .203
2001 .350 Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) .623 .811 .188
2004 .282 Jason Bay (PIT) .964 1.116 .152
2002 .279 Eric Hinske (TOR) .914 .993 .079
2010 .305 Buster Posey (SFG) .860 .896 .036
2008 .285 Geovany Soto (CHC) .876 .871 -.005
2005 .288 Ryan Howard (PHI) .927 .920 -.007
2006 .292 Hanley Ramirez (FLM) .914 .878 -.036
2008 .272 Evan Longoria (TBR) .813 .776 -.037
2007 .317 Dustin Pedroia (BOS) .926 .865 -.061
2009 .321 Chris Coghlan (FLM) .921 .757 -.164
2007 .324 Ryan Braun (MIL) 1.140 .933 -.207

...not as measured in terms of in-game improvement OPS!

Well, maybe it's something that all the best players do when they are 20. Maybe it's a natural learning process impressed upon them due to the pressures of being new tot he game at such a young age? How does Trout compare?

RECENT 20 YEAR OLDS: BA CLIMB COMPARE

MIKE TROUT WINNING!

YEAR BA Player 1st 3rd +/-
2012 .340 Mike Trout (LAA) .294 .438 .144
2009 .267 Elvis Andrus (TEX) .261 .390 .129
2008 .301 Travis Snider (TOR) @ 24 games .250 .375 .125
2008 .250 Justin Upton (ARZ) .207 .304 .097
2010 .300 Starlin Castro (CHC) .255 .326 .071
1976 .252 Robin Yount (MIL) .238 .286 .048
1999 .275 Adrian Beltre (LAD) .276 .253 -.023
2010 .277 Jason Heyward (CLE) .277 .247 -.030
2007 .143 Cameron Maybin (DET) @ 24 games .364 .000 -.364

Yeah, again. Trout is killing them all. Only Andrus and Snider were within sniffing range.

RECENT 20 YEAR OLDS: OPS CLIMB COMPARE

MIKE TROUT WINNING!

YEAR BA Player 1st 3rd +/-
2012 .340 Mike Trout (LAA) .675 1.500 .825
2008 .301 Travis Snider (TOR) @ 24 games .502 1.122 .620
2008 .250 Justin Upton (ARZ) .650 1.086 .436
2009 .267 Elvis Andrus (TEX) .702 .971 .269
2010 .300 Starlin Castro (CHC) .688 .766 .078
1976 .252 Robin Yount (MIL) .570 .626 .056
2010 .277 Jason Heyward (CLE) .826 .744 -.082
1999 .275 Adrian Beltre (LAD) .848 .678 -.170
2007 .143 Cameron Maybin (DET) @ 24 games .871 .143 -.728

Killing them I say. None of them demonstrated Trout's in-game learning and execution capacity.

TOO SOON FOR CONCLUSIONS: We do have a unique patter over 100 PA's but we still have 100 games left to wherein anything can, and will, happen to mess up my good times here. At a minimum, more games will result in enough Plate Appearances for Trout to make that 4th At Bat meaningful and that alone could mess up the trending and comparisons. Understand that nearly all these comps DO have a 4th AB to study and compare with Trout, and their 4th data points are all out there, waiting.

Bit if the pattern Mike Trout is executing keeps up at its current rate for the balance of this season he will have made history. If fantasies really do come true then, best of all, he will have set himself on a trajectory that will have him well armed to compete with familiar pitchers and umpires later on during his career that could be breathtaking.

Dare I say it? Yes! Mike Trout could be training himself to be the game's best chance at the next .400 hitter.

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