The latest “Mike Trout is amazing” update is a doozy.
Trout’s big weekend–which included starting back-to-back games with leadoff homers–has propelled the 21-year-old Angels rookie to 10.0 Wins Above Replacement for the season.
That’s remarkable for a few reasons. One is that no other player, in either league, has more than 6.3 WAR this year. Beyond that, Trout wasn’t called up until April 28 and has only played 117 of a possible 140 games. And finally, the last position player to reach double-digit WAR was Barry Bonds in 2004.
Via Baseball-Reference.com, here’s a list of all the 10+ WAR seasons by position players since Trout was born in 1991:
MIKE TROUT 2012 10.0
Barry Bonds 2004 10.3
Barry Bonds 2002 11.6
Barry Bonds 2001 11.6
Sammy Sosa 2001 10.1
Alex Rodriguez 2000 10.1
Cal Ripken Jr. 1991 11.3
And that’s it, that’s the whole list.
Assuming that he plays in each of the Angels’ remaining 22 games Trout is on pace to finish with 11.8 WAR, which would be the most by any player since Carl Yastrzemski had 12.0 WAR in 1967. And the only other players in baseball history to top 11.8 WAR in a season are Babe Ruth (three times) and Rogers Hornsby.
Mike Trout: RIDICULOUS.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.