Mike Trout is widely known as the best player in baseball, as demonstrated by his two MVP awards. However, Trout has some peculiarities in why he is the best player baseball has to offer.
When looking into Mike Trout, I found some peculiarities in his fame. Ninety-nine percent of the baseball world would agree that Trout is the best player in baseball, and has potential to be one of the best of all-time. I know that is a very bold statement to make only five years into his career, but Trout possesses something special. He is already the face of MLB, and at age 25, with so many other superstars, that is a huge testament.
Mike Trout is just an all-around stud: We all know that. You can point out a deficiency in his game, and I can counter with five great things. Arguably, the only somewhat lacking facets of his game are his arm strength and strikeout percentage. Even with that, though, neither of those things are particularly bad. Instead, they aren’t on that Mike Trout caliber. His arm strength isn’t poor, it just isn’t stellar – and his 20.1 percent strikeout rate is right on par with the league average of 21.1 percent. Mike Trout has no considerable holes in his game, and that is what makes him great.
Trout puts up great power numbers, slugging 30 home runs with ease. He can match that total in stolen bases, and can easily bat over .300. We have all see him do the impossible on the field, and we have all seen how perfect of a figurehead he is. Mike Trout is the face of MLB, after all. However, his greatness is peculiar to me.
What makes his greatness peculiar to me is that he does not excel in one specific area. Yes, he is great in all, but there is not a single thing of Mike Trout’s game where he is the best. Name any facet of the game and I can name someone who is better at that one area. Jose Altuve is a better pure hitter, Giancarlo Stanton is a better power hitter, Billy Hamilton is a better stolen base artist. Mike Trout hasn’t won any Gold Gloves, and not a single playoff game (not that it matters).
Heck, I would go out on a limb and say the only thing Mike Trout is the best at is getting on base, and even Joey Votto is very close behind.
This isn’t to take away from Trout, just to analyze what makes him so great. He is the perfect definition of a five-tool player, as he performs each tool with excellence. While he may not be the best at anything in particular, he is top-five in every facet. That alone proves his excellence.
However, compared to the greats of baseball past, it is confusing. Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth were sluggers, Tony Gwynn and Joe DiMaggio were contact machines, and Nolan Ryan was the strikeout king. All of these legends of the game, the absolute cream of the crop, completely dominated in one aspect of the game. That’s not to say they weren’t great elsewhere, but they were a menace in their particular fields.
Trout isn’t like that, and that is what makes him so special. Yes, there have been players like him in the past, like Mickey Mantle, but we are all getting to witness history with our own eyes. One day historians will be looking back at Mike Trout the way we look at baseball legends, and will be in awe of his talent. Mike Trout is the most dimensional player baseball has seen since Alex Rodriguez, and he will soon leave many legends in his shadow.