Mike Trout may not win another MVP award, because Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays had a great season and voters seem to be leaning his way, but the Angels center fielder just completed his fourth MVP-caliber campaign in four full seasons as a major leaguer.
Trout has now either won the MVP or (presumably) finished runner-up at age 20, age 21, age 22, and age 23. And there were certainly cases to be made that he was deserving of all four MVP awards. It’s been an incredible start to a career. But how incredible?
Here are the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement through age 23:
37.6 – Mike Trout
36.0 – Ty Cobb
34.2 – Ted Williams
31.4 – Mel Ott
30.1 – Ken Griffey Jr.
29.7 – Mickey Mantle
27.7 – Alex Rodriguez
27.5 – Al Kaline
26.7 – Arky Vaughan
26.5 – Rogers Hornsby
I mean, just look at the 10 names on that list. Ridiculous, and Trout sits atop all of them.
Trout has been the subject of intense MVP-related debates in three of his four seasons, but regardless of which side of that coin you favor don’t let it obscure the fact that we’re witnessing something truly special here. There’s certainly room to quibble with the exact rankings–WAR is merely one prominent and easy way to do such things–but however you slice it Trout has been one of the best handful of players in the history of baseball through age 23.
Last week impending free agent Chris Davis expressed frustration that the Orioles had not approached him about a contract extension during the season, pointing out that the team had previously locked up other players like J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones mid-season.
Now that the season is over and Davis had another monster year Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that re-signing Davis is “a top priority” and added:
He’s had a great year and he’s been a great player for us, so obviously, we’d like to have him back. Whether we can do that in the market, that remains to be seen, but we’re going to try.
Davis is 29 years old, has some defensive versatility, and has led the league in homers in two of the past three seasons while posting an .891 OPS during that time. He’s going to get plenty of huge multi-year offers and based on some of Duquette’s other quotes within Encina’s article it sure sounds like the Orioles are preparing for life without him.
Earlier this afternoon the White Sox fired bench coach Mark Parent with just three games remaining in the season, but before the speculation train could leave the station regarding Robin Ventura’s job status general manager Rick Hahn announced that Ventura will return as manager in 2016.
It will be Ventura’s fifth season on the job and he’s experienced little success through the first four years, going 295-350 (.457). That includes a 74-85 record this season following a busy, big-spending offseason in which the White Sox created quite a bit of buzz and nearly as much optimism surrounding their chances to contend.
Ventura went 85-77 as a rookie, first-time manager in 2012, but since then the White Sox have gone 69-99, 73-89, and 74-85 while failing to finish above fourth place.
Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is back in the starting lineup tonight for the first time since September 12, returning after missing the past four weeks with a crack in his left shoulder blade.
As of 24 hours ago the expectation was that Tulowitzki would take live batting practice today and rejoin the lineup Saturday, so he’s actually slightly ahead of schedule and has three full games to get ready for the playoffs.
Acquired from the Rockies in a blockbuster July 28 trade, Tulowitzki hit just .232 with five homers and a .682 OPS in 39 games for the Blue Jays before the injury. Of course, his modest production mattered little, as Toronto went 30-9 with him in the lineup.
The five-time All-Star returns now as the No. 7 hitter in an MLB-best lineup that will give opposing pitchers nightmares in October.