Yes, Mike Trout Is Probably Underrated

Los+Angeles+Angels+center-fielder+Mike+Trout+during+Angels+training+camp+on+Thursday%2C+March+8.+Photo+Credit%3A+Jessica+Kleinschmidt%2FMajor+League+Baseball

Los Angeles Angels center-fielder Mike Trout during Angels training camp on Thursday, March 8. Photo Credit: Jessica Kleinschmidt/Major League Baseball

Mike Trout is widely acknowledged as the best player in baseball since his first full season in the bigs in 2012 when he won Rookie of the Year.  

He has gone to the All Star Game six times and won MVP of the game twice. He is a five-time Silver Slugger. He has finished second in MVP voting three times and has won it twice in 2014 and 2016.  He missed a quarter of the season in 2017 and still finished in fourth.

He is the true definition of a five tool player. He has had the speed since he got into the league, stealing 49 bases to lead the American League.  He developed power in 2014 when he led the AL with 41 home runs. He has had over a .300 batting average in four seasons. He has improved his arm over the last couple seasons. His defense has improved greatly this year.

With all that said, 2018 is the best start he has had in his career so far and it has basically gone unnoticed.  

He is hitting .303 with 18 home runs, 35 RBI, 48 walks, 12 steals, a .448 OBP a .676 slugging percentage and a 4.9 WAR. His home runs, walks, OBP, and WAR lead the entire MLB. Let’s explain that last stat a little bit more.

WAR takes into account everything a player does to help a team win. A 5.0 WAR is what an average All-Star finishes with at the end of the season.  He is nearly at that before the end of May. He walks at an enormous rate, hits with the best power in the game, gives it his all every game, and is extremely humble off the field.

So why aren’t enough people paying attention to him? For one, he is getting overshadowed on his own team by Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese star who both hits and pitches at a great level. Nobody has seen anyone do this since Babe Ruth nearly a century ago and everyone has seen what Trout can do.  Another reason is that the Angels are the second team in the market behind the Dodgers.

The first-half struggles of the Dodgers can get talked about more than Trout and the Angels. There are also other teams better this year in the AL. The Yankees and Red Sox have been elite, the Astros are the defending champs, and the Mariners are trying to end the longest playoff drought of the four major US sports.

The Angels have only made the playoffs once in the last nine years. The Angels had a great offseason to try and give Trout a stronger supporting cast.  

They will need to do more at the trade deadline to get better arms in the bullpen and get another good bat in the lineup. If not, we will once again fail to see the best player in the game in the postseason. That is just a shame.