Angels outfielder Mike Trout

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Bernstein: Happy Birthday To An All-Time Great

Mike Trout is a baseball god at the peak of his powers.

Dan Bernstein
August 07, 2019 - 1:13 pm
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(670 The Score) Mike Trout is 28 today, and the Angels' center fielder can be described completely rationally as the best baseball player who has ever lived. Already.

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If one understands that the average MLB player has evolved into a species of athlete so far superior to those from previous eras, it is easy to recognize Trout as the finest embodiment of his kind, if not yet the most statistically accomplished relative to his peers.

To that end, he's only the most productive player ever through his age-27 campaign, which is 2019 for him since age on June 30 is the criterion. No player has matched his bWAR of 71.7 to this point in a career, and he's on pace to crack the all-time top 50 by the end of the season. What Trout does is just accrue value every moment he's on the field, being significantly better than a replacement level player at absolutely everything he's asked to do while manning a critical defensive position.

He has already shot past guys like Carlton Fisk, Eddie Murray, Tony Gwynn, Gary Carter and Ron Santo to name a few at a glance -- and by season's end will likely have outstripped Reggie Jackson, Frank Thomas and Jim Thome. Again, he's 28.

Trout has averaged 9.1 wins per year, so let's tack on three representative full seasons after that, just for argument's sake. Average performance through his age-30 season would have him at 102.2, by then 20th all time and beyond Carl Yastrzemski, Cal Ripken and Jimmie Foxx. We'll project the next three years after that conservatively, at a significantly diminished pace of 6.0 WAR per year. Adding those 18 gets Trout to 120.2, 11th on the list at only age 33 and past Alex Rodriguez, Lou Gehrig, Rickey Henderson and Mickey Mantle and just behind Ted Williams, with plenty of career still to go to reach even more rarefied air.

Trout is a Hall of Famer if he walked away today and has a seat waiting for him at the big-boy table in Cooperstown. This is a baseball god at the peak of his powers.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has thrown shade at Trout for not being the most motivated self-promoter, tacitly criticizing his choice to not counterbalance his lower national visibility on the West Coast with a slew of endorsements and appearances. So I'll do it for him if need be.

Happy birthday to Mike Trout, for whom a very difficult game has been a piece of cake.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.