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.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.