Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is getting all sorts of attention for doing things rarely done by 19-year-old hitters, and rightfully so, but Angels outfielder Mike Trout probably deserves a little more attention for doing things rarely done by 20-year-old hitters.
Trout doubled and drove in two runs against the Yankees last night and is now hitting .303 with a .366 on-base percentage and .521 slugging percentage in 30 games. That includes five homers, seven doubles, and two triples in 119 at-bats, plus eight steals in 10 attempts and some spectacular outfield defense.
Sure, he’s a year older and that’s a big part of the attention gap, but Trout tops Harper in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage while running more and being more valuable with his glove.
Trout’s current .887 OPS would be the highest by any 20-year-old since Alex Rodriguez in 1996 and in the entire history of baseball only Rodriguez, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Al Kaline, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson, and Mickey Mantle have posted a higher OPS at age 20 while qualifying for the batting title.
Trout has a long way to go to maintain that production for an entire season, but all seven of those guys are either in the Hall of Fame or will be some day. He might not get as much attention as Harper right now, but Trout has played even better and what he’s doing at age 20 is pretty incredible.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.