|ESPN.com: Stark||[Print without images]|
We interrupt your fantasy football season for this important announcement:
The best month of the baseball season is currently in progress, and we don't want you to get so caught up in monitoring Julian Edelman's waiver-wire status that you miss it.
So today, we're kicking off our annual September History Watch with a look at a guy who is on the way to making so much history, he might need his own wing of the Smithsonian someday.
The September History Watch question of the day: How great is Mike Trout?
|Mike Trout is second in the American League with a .330 batting average.|
And the answer is: You're about to find out.
It's a good thing Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis didn't take the year off, or else this Mike Trout guy would be leading the American League in, basically, everything.
Well, not quite. But take a look at where he might be headed:
• Hits and walks: Think about how tough it is to lead any league in hits and walks in the same season. Well, our man Mike Trout just might pull that off. He's leading the league in walks. He's three back of Adrian Beltre for the league lead in hits. If he winds up No. 1 in both, he'd be just the fifth player since 1900 to do that in the same season. The four who have done it: Rogers Hornsby, Carl Yastrzemski, Richie Ashburn and Lenny Dykstra.
• Walks and triples: We've already mentioned that Trout leads the league in walks. He's not leading the league in triples at the moment, but he's one back of a guy who might be through for the season, Brett Gardner. If Trout ends up leading the league in both of those departments, he'd be only the fourth man since 1900 to do that. The list of players who have already done it consists of three really fun names: Mickey Mantle, Ron Santo and Ashburn.
• Hits walks and triples: And what happens if Trout finishes atop the AL leaderboard in all three of those categories? Then he'd be the first American Leaguer ever to do that and just the second player in modern history. The other: Ashburn, in 1958.
It's going to take 19 hits in his last 13 games for Trout to get to 200 hits. But that's far from out of the question for a guy who averages 1.25 hits per game. And if he gets there, he'd join one of baseball's coolest groups:
Players who have gotten 200 hits and 100 walks in the same season.
The four men who have done that in the last half-century: Wade Boggs (four times), Todd Helton (twice), Bernie Williams (1999) and John Olerud (1993).
And the only seven other men to do it since 1900 all have plaques hanging in the gallery in scenic Cooperstown, N.Y.: Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx, Hack Wilson, Ty Cobb and Hank Greenberg. Whoever they are.
But Trout could go 200/100 on us in a year in which he has already stolen 33 bases. Which would make him just the third member of the 200-Hit, 100-Walk, 30-SB Club, and the first to do it since the invention of the toaster. The only two men to join that club back in the pre-toaster era: Cobb (in 1915) and Sliding Billy Hamilton (in 1898).
If you've been following Trout's meteoric second-half rise on the Wins Above Replacement leaderboard, you know he's heading for another one of those seasons where he towers above an average player kind of like Mount Fuji towers above, say, Jose Altuve.
At the moment, Baseball-Reference.com computes that Trout is up to 8.7 Wins Above Replacement. And if he continues that ascent, and reaches 9.0 or higher, a year after he put up an incredible 10.9 WAR in his rookie season, he'd be just the sixth player in the expansion era (1961-present) to have back-to-back seasons of 9.0 or more Wins Above Replacement. Heard of any of these other guys?
Willie Mays 1962-63-64-65
Ken Griffey Jr. 1996-97
Carl Yastrzemski 1967-68
Barry Bonds 1992-93 and 2001-02-03-04
Albert Pujols 2008-09
In other news, Trout could do all this, too:
• His amazing Adjusted OPS of 180 would make him the first player in history with an Adjusted OPS that high in his age-21 season (or younger). Current record: 173, by Jimmie Foxx.
• He needs to score six runs in his last 13 games to become only the third player since 1900 to score 110 runs or more in both his age-20 and age-21 seasons. The other two: Ted Williams and Mel Ott.
• And if Trout reaches 200 hits, he'd be the youngest player ever with 200 hits, 100 runs, 25 homers and 30 steals in the same season. Alex Rodriguez is the current record holder, reaching those numbers in his age-22 season in 1996.
• Trout's second-half on-base percentage is an astounding .504. If he keeps that up, he'd become just the fifth player to rack up at least a .500 on-base percentage after the All-Star break since, well, the invention of All-Star breaks. The others, according to research by the Angels: Ted Williams (four times), Barry Bonds (five times), Ryan Howard (2006) and Ron Cullenbine (1946).
• With 33 steals and a .995 OPS, Trout has a very real shot to become just the sixth man in the expansion era with at least 35 steals and a 1.0000 OPS in the same season. The other five: Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Vladimir Guerrero.
• When Trout drew his 100th walk of the year on Sunday, it made him the first American Leaguer in history with 100 walks, 70 extra-base hits and 30 stolen bases in the same season. The only National Leaguers to do it since 1900: Barry Bonds (three times), Jeff Bagwell (twice) and Bobby Abreu (three times).
• And check out this stat line because this is where Mike Trout is headed at his current pace:
25 home runs
36 stolen bases
315 times on base
Want to guess how many players, at any age, have ever etched all those numbers on the same line of their Baseball Encyclopedia page?
Right you are. That would be none. Nada. Not a one.
So how great is Mike Trout? We think we just answered that question. Right?