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Angels notes: Mike Trout still ranked best in MLB

Trout and Rendon both ranked in top 15 MLB players by ESPN

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Angels Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The folks at ESPN decided to rank the top players in MLB for 2021, and the No. 1 choice shouldn’t be a surprise. Mike Trout was given the honor as the top player in the sport, a perch the Angels outfielder has sat atop for nearly a decade.

What’s funny is that 2020 could legitimately be considered a “down” year for Trout, who hit .281/.390/.603 with 17 home runs. He finished fifth in American League MVP voting, Trout’s lowest in his nine full seasons.

“If you can judge a player’s greatness by his worst seasons, with Trout,” wrote Bradford Doolittle, “you can see at a glance why he’s as much in a race with the likes of Babe Ruth and Willie Mays for historical supremacy as he is with Mookie Betts, Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. for the best-right-now throne that remains his, and his alone.”

Third baseman Anthony Rendon was the other Angels player listed in the top 25, checking in at No. 15. Only three other teams — the Dodgers (Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger), Braves (Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman), and Mets (Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor) — have two players ranked in the top 15.