You can roll the highlight reel of his accomplishments, you can mock the stroking SportsCenter Jeter Harper worship that ignores him, you can buy a ticket when he comes to your town, but when you stop a moment and look at him thru the lens of baseball history, his numbers take your breath away.
Baseball statistics can be calculated to bracket any time period in a player's career. You can measure a player's accomplishments that took place during the 365 days that he was a certain age. On the occasion of Mike Trout's twenty-first birthday. Let's look back on what he has accomplished at 20
•Batting Average while Age 20 (8/7/11 thru 8/6/12): .348 ... Trout ranks third all time in baseball history. A-Rod is first, Ty Cobb is second at .350 and Al Kaline is fourth at .340 and the next few are an afternoon in Cooperstown: Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, John McGraw.
•On Base Percentage while Age 20: .411 ... sadly this only ranks seventh all time. Everyone ahead of him (McGraw, Ott, Williams, Kaline, Foxx, Rodriguez) is a Hall of Famer except still active A-Rod and Mickey Mantle is just after him at .394.
•Slugging Percentage while Age 20: .598 ... this ranks fourth all time behind Ott, Rodriguez and Williams and ahead of Frank Robinson at .558 followed by Foxx and Kaline. Remember Bob Horner? He ranks eighth and Mickey Mantle is ninth with a .530 slugging percentage in his Age 20 year.
•If you did the math, you already know Trout's Age 20 OPS is 1.009 ...This ranks fourth all time and everyone on that top ten is in Cooperstown except A-Rod, Trout and Vada Pinson.
Trout has 536 Major League Plate Appearances as of today. Consider the top to bottom stupidity of the Angels organization in handling his development, including the firing of Eddie Bane and scouts related to signing Trout, the blocking of him with not only the hubristic career suicide of Tony Reagins acquiring Vernon Wells, but of playing Ryan Langerhans in the outfield at all this season or of giving time in the field to Reggie Willits and Bobby Abreu in 2011. Trout could have accrued a few counting stats on this list with more games played. On the day he turned 21 Robin Yount had played in 415 major league games. Ken Griffey Jr. had 1,172 Plate Appearances. Trout got 536 major league PAs but for part of the time being measured he was batting over .400 for the Salt Lake Bees while Mike Scioscia coddled the clubhouse veterans for two seasons. I would suggest Arte Moreno institute IQ tests to management but you know all his Arizona henchmen and billboard buddies would be shown the door ahead of the dummies who have run this franchise into the ground.
But that hasn't stopped Trout from making the top ten in Stolen Bases. His 40 career bags before his 21st birthday. Of the top ten players in baseball history to do this, Trout ranks eighth. He is the only player to accomplish this in the 21st Century. Four of the ten players who stole the most bases before their 21st birthday in baseball history reached their mark in the 19th Century.
And speaking of SBs, Trout's successful Stolen Base percentage of 93% is number one for any major league baseball player before his 21st birthday.
Trout has a few more of these records, the bling piles up and maybe a fan does not appreciate the glimmer of a perfectly cut 18.6 AB/HR diamond in a pile of diamonds or a majestic ruby red 24.9 Power Speed Number in the jeweler's dusty drawer, but one sabermetrically approved gem stands out:
Mike Trout's adjusted OPS+ of 183 at the age of 20 was the best in baseball history. And it isn't even close. Ty Cobb is second on the list at 167.