Perspective: Mike Trout at 10 WAR

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Center fielder Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fields a pop fly by Austin Jackson (not pictured) of the Detroit Tigers in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 9, 2012 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Tigers 3-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Angels oufielder Mike Trout has 22 regular season games left in what has been an all-time historic season. The best measure of Trout's greatness are the Wins Above Replacement that he has accrued. The WAR stat is a comprehensive gage of a player's complete accomplishments. It is the rare counting stat that follows the mathematical rhythm of rate stats.

There are many headlines today touting that Mike Trout is enjoying a 10 WAR season and that he is the first player since Barry Bonds to do so and one of a handful of players - the list is small and it is exclusively Hall of Fame caliber players. You get used to tossing the word Cooperstown around when you discuss Michael Nelson Trout.

But this is an Angels blog and Mike Trout is an Angel. Less than a year ago Jered Weaver dressed him up like Lady Gaga in a rookie hazing exercise so we got a franchise with which to measure The Mighty Fish with. Looking up on the old Baseball Reference we get an idea of how exclusive Mike Trout's 2012 campaign has been...

Offensive WAR

Rank Player Offensive WAR Year
1. Mike Trout 7.4 2012
2. Tim Salmon 6.9 1995
3. Brian Downing 6.2 1979
4. Doug DeCinces 6.1 1982
Jim Fregosi 6.1 1964
Jim Fregosi 6.1 1970
Vladimir Guerrero 6.1 2004
8. Troy Glaus 6.0 2000
9. Bobby Grich 5.7 1979
10. Darin Erstad 5.5 2000

ummm... wow... okay. So now lets look at Trout's value in the field, homerun-robber and all that he is...

Defensive WAR

Rank Player Defensive WAR Year
1. Darin Erstad 4.2 2002
2. Bobby Knoop 3.3 1964
3. Chone Figgins 3.2 2009
4. Bob Boone 3.0 1982
5. Sandy Alomar 2.9 1971
6. Bob Boone 2.7 1986
Mike Trout 2.7 2012
Devon White 2.7 1989
9. Jim Fregosi 2.5 1964
10. Bob Boone 2.4 1985
Jim Fregosi 2.4 1970
Gary Pettis 2.4 1986

Let's add them together...

Total WAR

Rank Player WAR Position Players Year
1. Mike Trout 10.0 2012
2. Darin Erstad 8.2 2000
3. Jim Fregosi 7.7 1964
4. Chone Figgins 7.5 2009
Jim Fregosi 7.5 1970
Troy Glaus 7.5 2000
7. Doug DeCinces 7.3 1982
8. Tim Salmon 6.3 1995
9. Darin Erstad 6.1 2002
10. Bobby Grich 5.7 1979

The only negative in all this is how it mutes discussion of all the others Mike Trout's 2012 is so heads and tails ahead of everyone else, but a few things pop up...

  • The 2000 Angels had 15.7 WAR from two players (Darin Erstad and Troy Glaus) and were toast by this time that September. I am afraid to look up a pitching staff that terrible.
  • Vladimir Guerrero won an MVP with 60% of Trout's 2012 and did it all at the plate.
  • Our other MVP, Don Baylor, is nowhere to be found on these lists. Talk about riding the RBI for all its glory in the same year Bill James was adding up the truth about the stat's irrelevancy.
  • Meanwhile it turns out Brian Downing and Bobby Grich were what delivered the West in 1979 (suddenly there seems a purpose of revenge in facing the Orioles this October).
  • Ersty made the 2002 pitching staff tenable with his glove.
  • All the Jim Edmonds fans can point to zero top ten franchise finishes in WAR - not even in his vaunted showboating fielding in Center. Not selfish enough of a stat.
  • Trout is ensconced with Pettis, Erstad and Devo as one of the great gloves. With playing time, don't count out Peter Bourjos yet.
  • The Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi trade seems less lopsided with Fregosi's 1970 campaign front and center.
  • Did Figgy pull a Melky in 2009? Just askin'...
  • Are visions of Bob Boone calling to Mike Scioscia's mind?

As far as the postseason is concerned, the fair share of postseason-qualifying Angels teams listed here is heartening indeed!

(if I did not say it enough, thanks to BBREF for the charts)

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