We all have seen first-hand how amazing Mike Trout has been this season, but up until last night, his awesomeness wasn’t “official.” Thanks to the short-sighted measure of having Trout start the season in the minors, he only just accumulated enough plate appearances to qualify for all the leaderboards. To no one’s surprise, now that Trout is qualified, his name is all over the top of the statistical leaders in the American League.
- His .337 batting average trails only Paul Konerko
- He is third in the AL with a .397 OBP
- His .532 SLG is “only” good for 13th in the league
- He places fifth in the Junior Circuit in both OPS (.929) and wOBA (.412)
- With 19 steals, he is already the AL leaders in stolen bases and second in the Majors
- Despite missing that first month, he is already third amongst position players in the AL in fWAR (3.4), which is a cumulative metric, mind you
Basically, he’s fantastically fantastic with fantastic sauce on top, but you knew this already. However, this officialization ultimately leads us to ask whether or not he can keep it up. So, can he?
If we just do a basic straight line projection and assume he plays everyday, he’ll finish the season with 18 HR, 39 2B, 9 3B, 80 RBI, 57 SB and 119 R. With the exception of homers and RBIs, that would put him in position to finish in the top 10 in all of those categories despite giving the rest of the league a 20-game head start. That seems awfully ambitious for a 20-year old, but given everything we’ve seen from him so far, I wouldn’t put it past him. Heck, if he told me he was going to successfully develop cold fusion over the All-Star break, I wouldn’t put that past him either.
But let’s take off our fanboy goggles and put on some reality-adjusted lenses for a second. Straight line projection is simple and stupid for a reason and thus not likely to occur, especially when Trout is existing on a .395 BABIP, which is about 100 points high for most mortals and probably at least 30 points high for the fleet-footed Trout. He is going to come back to earth eventually, even if he only comes down to a slightly lower level of the stratosphere. The best model we have available for projecting his end of season numbers is the ZiPS projections.
As of today, ZiPS, which is typically conservative by the way, anticipates Trout finishing with a slash line of .301/.367/.471, 14 homers, 29 doubles, 8 triples, 42 steals, 101 runs, 61 RBI and a 6.2 fWAR. Those aren’t quite the MVP-level numbers Trout is putting up right now, but they are still absolutely preposterous for someone who isn’t even of legal drinking age yet. I think we can all live with that, right?