It took a little while because he got off to what was for him at least a slow start to the season, but for the third straight year Angels center fielder Mike Trout leads all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement.
Trout is hitting .311 with 16 homers, 39 total extra-base hits, 9 steals (without being caught), and a career-high 1.008 OPS in 66 games, along with his usual outstanding defense. He leads the American League with a .610 slugging percentage and 1.008 OPS, and ranks second in on-base percentage (.397) behind only Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
Add it all up and here’s what the Fan Graphs leaderboard for Wins Above Replacement across both leagues looks like:
MIKE TROUT 4.7
Troy Tulowitzki 4.7
Alex Gordon 4.1
Giancarlo Stanton 3.8
Andrew McCutchen 3.4
Trout also led all of baseball in WAR last season with 10.4 and two seasons ago with 10.0. He is currently on pace for 11.0 this season. (Note: Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is also really, really good and also having a really, really awesome season over in the National League.)
Perhaps the Baseball Writers Association of America will find a way to avoid giving him the American League MVP award again, but for the third consecutive season–and third time in his three full seasons as a big leaguer–Trout is the best all-around player in baseball. And in just two more months he’ll turn 23 years old.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.